What We Do for Children

War Child works exclusively to improve the resilience and psychosocial wellbeing of children living with the effects of violence and armed conflict. Our integrated programmes combine psychosocial support, education and child protection for maximum impact. This approach ensures our efforts are both relevant and effective.  

Child protection 

160 million children worldwide currently live in high-intensity conflict zones. These children have the fundamental right to grow up free from fear and trauma - but in times of humanitarian crisis the structures that serve to protect them often weaken or break down. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this trend.  

Children as a result are exposed to significant risks that threaten their safety and wellbeing - including family separation, sexual abuse and recruitment into armed forces and groups.  

© Alex McBride

War Child works to counter these threats through our child protection activities - which are central to all our work with children and communities. These efforts see us partner with communities and civil organisations to safeguard fundamental child rights and strengthen child protection systems.  

Our child protection strategy is shaped by best practice from the global Child Protection Minimum Standards (CPMS) framework. Our programming focuses primarily on child protection prevention and response strategies for children at risk of all types of abuse - and prioritises community-driven action wherever possible.  

This work encompasses community awareness-raising on child protection risks; referral mechanisms to provide vulnerable children with appropriate services; and ongoing 'Case Management' of individual children and their families.  


© War Child

Every child has the fundamental right to learn. Yet some 75 million children currently experience disruption to their education as a result of humanitarian crisis. These children predominantly live in environments where resources are scarce and classrooms are inaccessible - or even dangerous.

War Child works to bridge this learning gap through its ‘Education in Emergencies’ programming - and support children to enjoy improved academic and social emotional learning outcomes.   

We work in situations of humanitarian crisis - both emergency and protracted - to provide catch-up education and basic numeracy and literacy courses for children otherwise denied their right to learn. These programmes are increasingly being adapted for remote delivery through mobile phones and tablet devices - efforts increasing as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

We support caregivers, teachers and other education professionals to contribute towards creating safe and enabling learning environments. We also work with local ministries of education to align all learning content with national curricula.  

Can’t Wait to Learn is our flagship education programme. This global initiative provides conflict-affected children with quality education - no matter where they live. The programme offers children the opportunity to (continue to) learn to read, write and count through playing educational games played on tablet devices. 

Psychosocial support  

Millions of adolescents living with violence and armed conflict face significant threats to their safety and wellbeing. These threats include feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression, as well as exposure to physical and sexual exploitation. Many of these vulnerable children have acute psychological needs - yet they are denied access to potentially life-saving mental healthcare resources.  

© Marcel van der Steen

War Child works to address this ‘treatment gap’ through our psychosocial support programming. Our activities are designed to enable children and young people to develop their resilience and innate strengths. Participants in our life-skills programmes and structured recreational activities develop increased self-confidence and trust in others.  

We work with parents and other key adults in children’s lives to enhance their own wellbeing and their capacity to provide care and psychosocial support to children. We also work to establish referral mechanisms for children in need of specialist mental health support - drawing on community support to bridge resource gaps.  

Equitable access  

In all of our programming lines we work to put in place equitable access as far as possible - incorporating principles of racial and gender equality and inclusion for children with disabilities. We are also developing strategies to engage with common drivers of stigmatization - to ensure all children can take part in our programmes.