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Psychosocial action in crisis situations
October 2010 - October 2011

There has been an increasing number of Psychosocial humanitarian programmes in the last two decades following crises such as those in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the tsunami in Asia and the earthquake in Haiti. Psychosocial action covers a wide range of activities carried out with affected people to allow them to regain psychological balance and social wellbeing. Groupe URD launched a research programme in order to improve understanding of the importance of psychosocial action in crisis situations, to learn more about them and to increase communication between psychosocial actors.

Groupe URD has been interested in this sector of humanitarian aid in crisis situations for some years. Lack of personnel and time meant that there had not as yet been any concrete research carried out, but we have kept up to date with new literature and developments in the sector. In 2009, we carried out a study with specialized professionals in the sector (within international NGOs and donors). The results show a real lack of exchange between actors involved in psychosocial action, very limited recognition of psychosocial action within the humanitarian sector in crisis situations and the need for better evaluation.

Groupe URD launched a research programme in 2010 with the overall objective of improving psychosocial aid brought to those affected by crises. The programme aimed to develop the knowledge and skills of actors in the area of psychosocial action in humanitarian and crisis situations.

The programme included university research, meetings between actors and field studies.

Studies aimed to:

  • Improve understanding of the psychosocial activities conducted by NGOs and international bodies;
  • Evaluate psychosocial activities in order to establish their true value and integrate them more effectively into the response to emergency situations;
  • Determine the characteristics of affected people and what their needs are;
  • Improve the way cultural contexts and the specific characteristics of each situation are taken into account so that more appropriate aid is provided.

The programme has being run by a PhD student in Cross-cultural Psychology, in connection with Lyon 2 University.

For more information, contact Véronique de Geoffroy