Psychosocial Support Intervention for Conflict-Affected Populations

Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Uganda and Washington University in St. Louis investigated the effectiveness and implementation of the Journey of Life (JoL) program in Kiryandongo, Uganda. Findings support an emerging evidence base of programs that improve psychosocial programming for refugees in humanitarian settings. Further work is needed to engage male caregivers and to explore the long-term effects of the program on caregivers and children.  

Success Story: Defying Suicide 

“I have noticed a lot of change in my life due to the group sessions by TPO Uganda. I wouldn’t have managed by myself without a partner like TPO Uganda. They helped to find me a home and peace of mind so I owe my life to the TPO Uganda interventions.” 


–Kenny Achol, Journey of Life Participant  


Click here to read her full story.

Journey of Life (JoL) addresses the ecologies of children and adolescents by working with caregivers, educators and community members to understand the importance of their support in the protection of children. JoL focuses on addressing key preventive and curative measures for mental health and psychosocial outcomes, including improving coping skills, meaning-making, social functioning, and social capital. Previous findings have shown that JoL led to improvements in children’s access to community-based childcare centers, reduction in violence against children, reduction in child labor, and adoption of child protective practices. JoL has been implemented in various African settings; however, it had never been formally assessed in a humanitarian context. The aim of this work was to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the JoL intervention with a conflict-affected population living in Kiryandongo, Uganda. 

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  • The Journey of Life intervention was successful in supporting caregiver wellbeing and encouraging positive parenting behavior.  
  • Barriers to participation included individuals meeting basic needs, a lack of transportation, and language barriers. Men were less likely to participate in the Journey of Life program than women. 
  • Findings support an emerging evidence base of programs that improve psychosocial programming for refugees in humanitarian settings. Further work is needed to engage male caregivers and to explore the long-term effects of the program on caregivers and children

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  • The Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development attended dissemination events and expressed interest in integrating study findings into expanding social protection programs, particularly for elderly caregivers of young children.  
  • Within TPO, research findings have been presented at monthly management meetings. Key implementation findings and lessons learned have supported scale up interventions using JoL to support caregiver wellbeing and parenting practices.  
  • Research findings were also presented to REPSSI and are currently in use for future program proposals. 

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Resources

Study protocol-TPO: Journey of Life Psychosocial Support Intervention for Conflict-Affected Populations in Uganda – BMC Public Health (2021)