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Children on the Move

Sport and play-based psychosocial support for refugee and returnee children

Children aged 5 to 12 improve their psychosocial wellbeing to recover from war-related trauma and rebuild their lives in camps or back home. Through the Swiss Academy for Development's sport and play-based approach, children acquire skills to deal with daily challenges, actively shape their lives, restore confidence, self-esteem and social cohesion to successfully participate in their communities.

HundrED 2023


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2023

Web presence






Target group
Students basic
May 2024
When I am confused with a problem I share it with a friend who then helps me. I did not do this before. It brings people together. Through sport and play people open up, discuss and make friends.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Many children have witnessed or endured horrendous acts of violence during the war in South Sudan or during their flight to Uganda. These traumatic events have serious consequences on their mental health and socioemotional balance. The sport and play activities, counselling and awareness-raising are effective in reducing the effects of trauma and stress and recreate healthy social interactions.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

A curriculum is developed addressing topics of concern for the target group and fostering relevant life skills and values through sport and play. Coaches are trained to conduct the regular sport and play activities fostering social cohesion, restoring confidence and self-esteem among children and allowing them to better cope with daily challenges and emotions. Counselors conduct awareness raising sessions on trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and coping strategies. Individual, group or family therapy sessions are offered. Mobile clinics are set up to treat serious mental disorders.
SA4D has implemented its sport and play approach for over 15 years in various contexts. For this project, data showed that the activities have successfully reduced negative psychosocial effects of trauma on displaced children and improved their overall life satisfaction and health. A safe environment is created where children can openly express their feelings, rebuild trust, friendships and social ties.

How has it been spreading?

From 2017 to 2021, the project was implemented in refugee camps in Uganda. 22 coaches and counsellors were trained to use the "Children on the Move" curriculum. Over 2,800 children benefited from trauma-informed sport and play-based activities, psychosocial awareness raising, counselling and clinic visits. The project evaluation shows children strengthened their self-efficacy and coping skills and rebuilt social support networks. They were also better able to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
From 2021 until 2024, the project was scaled-up to include 3'400 children who returned to South Sudan or stayed there during the war. The curriculum was adapted, and teachers trained to lead the sport and play activities, psychosocial awareness and counselling in primary school contexts.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

SA4D makes project results publicly available and promotes the exchange of knowledge and mutual learning. Specific resources can be requested by contacting SA4D. They can be consulted by everyone and can be adapted to a variety of contexts. SA4D is always open to sharing experiences and creating new partnerships. Our team remains available to anyone who reaches out to us.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

This is not only creating impact on current human beings but their future generations as they are learning to up-skill, unite, stay happy, get stimulated & motivated to lead a decent lifestyle. An innovation which gives a child a 2nd chance.

The organisation has reached out to many children across refugee camps in Uganda and also have plans to reach children in Sudan. Also, their model and learnings are readily available for others to learn from. They have well documented their work!

- Academy member
Academy review results
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