A psychosocial approach manual by AVSI and Resilience onlus

Date 21.06.2017

From the introduction of the manual:

Humanitarian aid for populations affected by difficult events, such as natural disasters or wars, cannot focus its interventions only on material needs, believing that answering these needs may be sufficient to address and overcome these events, since the person's wellbeing also depends on psychosocial factors.

It must be considered that such events leave marks on a psychological and social level that persist over time, affecting the wellbeing of the individuals and the entire population. The wounds on a psychological level are less visible but just as essential for the wellbeing of the person as physical health. Providing for psychosocial needs can prevent the onset of psychological disorders. Humanitarian interventions for psychosocial protection, both in emergencies and in subsequent phases, should proceed in parallel with the interventions for the physical survival of the person (health, nutrition, etc.), since promoting culturally appropriate projects within the population, in the field of education, equality, social and family relations, and the development of personal resources, allow facing and overcoming life difficulties.

The non-profit organisation, Resilience Onlus together with AVSI Foundation, during their ten years of experience in humanitarian crises in different contexts, have developed psychosocial interventions, in which the starting point is the person (holistic approach).

A holistic approach means a specific way of viewing the human being as a whole, paying attention to his physical, mental, relational, cultural, moral dimension, and spiritual values. Holistic interventions in psychosocial projects are the ones that include all of these dimensions. In this manual, this concept will become clearer thanks to the covered topics.

If the holistic approach is the glance used to look and help the person, the resilience is the goal that drives all psychosocial projects.

The methodology applied to humanitarian interventions and proposed in the manual is participatory, which means that starting from the need of both the individual and the community, a culturally appropriate track is built with the beneficiaries through the use of psychosocial tools.

This approach stems from the understanding that every human being has the resources that play a fundamental role in the way he will deal with difficult situations, and in his recovery.