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#PeerLearning for education, social work, and health professionals

Psychological first aid in support of children

Share experience with fellow professionals to better support children affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Applications are now open for the Autumn 2024 cohort

If you are trying to better support children affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, register now to receive your personalized link to apply and receive updates.

We first request your permission to send you email. Please look for this e-mail in your inbox and click on the secure link it contains.

3 top reasons to join

1. Learn by sharing experience.

2. Get fresh ideas to help you better support children.

3. Earn certification to validate your experience.

Who is this for?

Anyone involved in supporting children affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, including:

  • National Red Cross staff and volunteers
  • Teachers, teachers’ assistants, and other education professionals
  • Social work professionals
  • Health professionals

You do not need to be affiliated with your country’s Red Cross to join.


“It was an opportunity like I have never had before… I have studied with peers from my country. Having a lot of people from other countries sharing their experience was something else.”

– A participant in a peer learning exercise with The Geneva Learning Foundation

What is this about?

Funded by the EU’s EU4Health programme, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is collaborating with The Geneva Learning Foundation (TGLF) to provide online peer learning opportunities.

The aim is, alongside national Red Cross staff and volunteers, to involve health professionals, teachers, teachers’ assistants and social workers in contact with affected children.


Key dates

  • The first peer learning cohort in English will start on 1 July and finish on 20 July The call for application is now closed.
  • The next cohort will take place in autumn 2024, over several weeks. Application deadlines and exact dates will be communicated on this page in early September 2024.

What is the workload?

This programme is designed for busy professionals.
We know that you are short on time.
In this programme, there are no superfluous or time-consuming tasks.
Everything we do is focused on helping you share experience and learn from colleagues, in ways that will help you better support children.

The time required for the inaugural cohort (July 2024) is 16 hours over two weeks.

Most tasks can be done at any time that works for you, before the formal deadline.

If you are unable to attend a live session, you can catch up by viewing the recording or just focus on your own project and peer review.

  • Meet and share experience with fellow participants in live peer learning sessions (2-4 hours).
  • Write a short case study about a time you helped a child/children in distress (1-4 hours).
  • Help three colleagues improve their own case studies (2-4 hours).
  • Revise your own case study, using the feedback from your colleagues (1-2 hours).

Who should apply?

  1. Are you directly involved in supporting the mental health needs of children affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine?
  2. Are you interested in learning by sharing experience how to better support children affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine?

If you answered “Yes” to both of these questions, we encourage you to apply.

We especially encourage education professionals (such as teachers and teachers’
assistants), social work professionals, and health professionals, as well as Red Cross staff and volunteers to apply.

What is Psychological First Aid (PFA)?

Psychological First Aid (PFA) provides emotional and practical support to individuals, families, or communities who are having difficulty coping.

It is about establishing a connection with people in a compassionate non-judgmental manner to bring calm and comfort.

It also helps to reduce stigma associated with mental health crises and can reduce negative health outcomes through general public and community building strategies on self-care and promoting conversations about wellness. 

How does PFA support children?

PFA for children may entail:

  • comforting children and caregivers in distress and helping them feel safe and calm;
  • assessing needs and concerns;
  • protecting children from harm;
  • providing emotional support;
  • helping to address immediate basic needs (e.g. food, water, a blanket or shelter);
  • listening to children and caregivers without pressuring them to talk; and
  • helping children and caregivers access information, services and social support.

Source: IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support

Are you new to Psychological First Aid (PFA) for children?

  • You will be encouraged to complete a 20-minute rapid learning module before you start sharing your experience with supporting children – and to explore how PFA resources can help.
  • You will quickly gain the foundational skills to start incorporating PFA into your work with children.
  • Connecting with experienced practitioners will provide ongoing guidance as you apply and adapt PFA to your context.

Have you already practiced PFA for children?

  • By reflecting on your experiences and engaging with others, you will gain fresh perspectives to enhance your practice.
  • Your insights will be invaluable in supporting less experienced peers and strengthening the overall crisis response for children.

Are you a mental health professional?

  • Your expertise can enrich our peer learning community.
  • While this program is not a substitute for professional training, it offers a space to gain insight into diverse perspectives, share knowledge to empower others, and collaborate on bridging PFA with specialized care.

“This experience changed my life. It changed my practice and made me think differently about the way I work, considering things I did not think about before.”

– A participant in a peer learning exercise with The Geneva Learning Foundation

How will you learn?

  • Facilitation by learning specialists, with feedback from both peers and experts.
  • Most learning activities can be completed offline.
  • Participation will require use of digital platforms, including email, Telegram, Zoom, and web.
  • Participants need to have access to a reliable Internet connection for live sessions, to connect with other learners, to submit assignments, and for peer review.

What you need to know

  • Languages: English and Ukrainian as main languages, with option for groups in other languages.
  • Certification: Participants can earn certification from TGLF and IFRC.
  • Cost and travel for participants: no cost, no travel.
  • Learning resources: IFRC Psychosocial Centre and Red Cross reference material will be used and complemented by other validated resources, as well as participant experiences.
  • Relevance for diverse practitioners: All practitioners in contact with affected children may need to respond to psychological support needs. Peer learning is also relevant if you are very experienced.

Our commitments

In order to participate, we will ask you to honor the following commitments.

1. Child safeguarding

You will be asked to confirm your agreement to child safeguarding principles in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), the principles and values of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the European Union (EU).

2. Confidentiality and safety

We trust each other in order to share and learn together.

Some participants may have legitimate concerns for their confidentiality or safety.

We will ask you to commit to respecting confidentiality. This means that you will not name individuals, organizations, or countries when sharing information.

3. Professional duties and obligations

You will also be required to fully respect and abide by any regulations, restrictions, and other requirements of your employer or government.

Code of Conduct

Participants in the Foundation’s programmes are required to adhere to a strict Code of Conduct.

Violation of the Code of Conduct may result in removal from the programme, loss of certification (including previous certifications), and notification of your employer.

We consider integrity to be the foundation of successful collaboration. We therefore consider honesty - in the representation of our work and in our interactions - to be the foundation of our community.

Members of our community of Scholars are required to commit to producing work that meets the highest ethical, scientific, and intellectual standards, including accurate attribution of sources, appropriate collection and use of data, and transparent acknowledgement of the contributions of others to their ideas, discoveries, interpretations, and conclusions.

Cheating on work or projects, plagiarizing or presenting someone else’s ideas or language as one’s own, falsifying data, or any other instances of dishonesty violate the norms of our community.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is different about the Geneva Learning Foundation’s peer learning-to-action approach?

Learning is about problem-solving and critical thinking – not just knowledge.

  1. Discover how much you can learn from your peers by giving and receiving feedback in many different ways.
  2. Learn to trust and support colleagues – and discover that this can greatly strengthen your own learning.
  3. Challenge your assumptions about how you learn in order to succeed.

You may be skeptical about how much you can learn from other participants – given that you do not know their expertise or experience.

We ask that you trust the process – and expect to initially find yourself outside your comfort zone until you have experienced a moment of significant learning.

About this project

In May 2022, with the support of the European Commission’s Directorate General For Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), with the Ukrainian Red Cross and 24 National Red Cross Societies in European Union (EU) / European Economic Area (EAA), launched the project “Provision of quality and timely psychological first aid to people affected by Ukraine crisis in impacted countries” supported by the EU4Health programme.

Funded by the EU’s EU4Health programme, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is collaborating with The Geneva Learning Foundation (TGLF) to provide online peer learning opportunities.

The Geneva Learning Foundation

About The Geneva Learning Foundation

The Geneva Learning Foundation is a Swiss non-profit with the mission to research and develop new ways to learn and lead in the face of critical threats to our societies.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

About the IFRC

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network. Our secretariat supports local Red Cross and Red Crescent action in more than 191 countries, bringing together more than 16 million volunteers for the good of humanity.

Funded by the European Union

Funded by the European Union

This project is supported by the EU4Health programme.

This project is funded by the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of TGLF and IFRC, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.