Peace Education and Psychosocial Support for Social Cohesion

Ruth Simpson

Forced Migration Review 57, February 2018, pp. 38-39


Conflict has extensive psychological impacts on refugees, particularly youth and children, which are exacerbated by the “daily stressors of displacement, poverty, lack of resources and services to meet basic needs, risks of violence and exploitation, discrimination and social isolation”. However, humanitarian programs do not consistently address the psychological needs that have an impact on social cohesion. Evidence from peace education work with young displaced Syrians shows that addressing trauma is critical in overcoming psychological barriers to social cohesion, e.g. by creating safe spaces to allow children to develop a sense of physical and psychological safety and supporting young people to deal with traumatic memories in non-aggressive ways. Rather than being seen as a separate programming focus, addressing the impact of trauma should be a building block for all social cohesion efforts when working with communities affected by conflict and displacement.


Health | Mental Health