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QUDRA is a regional action plan funded by the European Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the Madad’ Fund and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in order to promote the resilience of Syrian refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities in response to the Syrian crisis. The program was launched in June 2016 and was implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Expertise France (EF) and the Spanish Agency for International Development (AECID) in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Northern Iraq, where most Syrian refugees sought protection. The main purpose of Qudra is promoting the resilience of communities, refugees and IDPs in five key areas:

  • Improving school infrastructures and access to extracurricular activities;

  • Strengthening basic professional skills;

  • Strengthening social cohesion through community-based services;

  • Strengthening capacities of local administrations;

  • Promoting discussion on policies that enhance the resilience of refugees, IDPs and host communities.

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RiRes, on behalf of Expertise France and the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA), launched a psychosocial program based on the “Tutors of Resilience” (ToR) model, aimed at educators, social workers and NGO staff in charge of taking care of Syrian and Lebanese minors in vulnerable conditions in eight Social development centers (SDCs) all over Lebanon.

The ToR capacity building program was designed in five parts: needs analysis, training, implementation, follow-up and closure.

Needs analysis, conducted to identify the psychosocial challenges encountered by SDC operators in their relationship with target communities. From this preliminary analysis, two core issues emerged: the lack of shared practices on building a helping relationship with vulnerable beneficiaries and the need for tailor-made tools and interventions for Syrian and Lebanese children exposed to traumatic experiences.


Training: RiRes focused on five areas:

  • Providing psychosocial support in the process of strengthening resilience resources;

  • Deepening the theme of psychological trauma in children and the interaction with development processes;

  • Identifying, preventing and responding appropriately to the adversities experienced by beneficiaries;

  • Building a space for critical reflection on relationships that support resilience;

  • Providing assessment tools based on the Tutors of Resilience model

Implementation: creation of an Action Plan to be implemented with the beneficiaries (41 Syrian and Lebanese children aged between 7 and 17), based on the following resilience principles discussed during the training:

  • Broadening operators' point of view in order to consider the strengths of the beneficiaries;

  • Helping beneficiaries to discover their internal resources and talents, with particular attention to self-efficacy, self-awareness, positive reframing, coping strategies and social skills.

  • Improving the beneficiaries' emotional regulation competence to mitigate the negative consequences of stress and to decrease emotional reactivity.

  • Strengthening the relationships of beneficiaries with peers and operators of the SDCs.

  • Strengthening family systems by improving cohesion and communication, creating stronger family support networks

Follow-up: at the beginning of 2019, five months after the end of the capacity building, a two-day follow-up meeting was held with the participants in the training program to reflect on their strengths and weakness, using the ToR model as a frame of reference, and to design new action plans for the second phase of implementation.


Closure: at the end of the project a two-day meeting was conducted with the staff to identify lessons learned and to review the principles and the approach in order to refine its use in other contexts, where mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) might require a different planning.

The goals were:

  • Detecting mental health and resilience indicators in child victims of war and forced migration who sought refuge in Lebanon, as well as in vulnerable Lebanese children.

  • Launching a ToR program aimed directly at social workers and indirectly at vulnerable figures to improve their psychophysical well-being and to strengthen their resources.

  • Detecting key variables that predict resilience outcomes in children victims of war and forced migration who sought refuge in Lebanon.

  • Monitoring the impact of the ToR capacity building module on the mental health and well-being of child victims of war and forced migration who sought refuge in Lebanon, as well as in vulnerable Lebanese children.



Refugee and displaced populations often tend to be conceived in purely passive terms, emphasizing aspects of vulnerability and the need of alleviating the suffering. Without denying the “victimhood” dimension, these women and men are in any case active subjects, main characters of their own stories. The passivation of these people and any intervention conceived in remedial terms tends, on the contrary, to cloud their agency. Introducing the concept of resilience means assisting the beneficiaries of the project in rediscovering their functional resources to face the traumas linked to war and migration and to build a better future. In this regard, Freud in Introduction to Psychoanalysis already recognized how a traumatic event could shake the foundations of existence to such an extent that an individual would lose all interest in the present and the future and remain psychically absorbed by the past in a lasting way. Working on resilience also means trying to rebuild the bonds that found the community as a whole and promoting a sense of self-efficacy and empowerment in each individual actor, helping him to rediscover the personal, contextual and potential resources he bears.

Adopting the point of view of resilience thus allows us to build a model based on the following assumptions:

  • Strengthen resources: the focus is on resources and strengths rather than weaknesses, deficits and problems. The idea is to explore individual and community resources in order to improve empowerment.

  • Participatory training: the ToR model adapts to the needs and is based on the perceptions of the participants according to the context in which they find themselves.

  • Principle-based program design: the purpose of the ToR model is to improve participants' skills in order to respond to the challenges they face every day. This is why it is not a pre-packaged and uncritically applicable model starting from a manual. On the contrary, the model adapts to the peculiarities of the participants and the context and must be reconstructed as the circumstances of application change.

  • Socio-ecological approach: each context is unique, which is why it is important to consider culture when planning an intervention. In this sense, culture becomes the basis for understanding social interactions, behaviors and the meaning of action.

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