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ActionAid to Support Youth Leadership Roles in Responding to Psychological Needs of Children in Gaza

Photo of psychosocial support activities targeting children in shelters in Gaza Strip during war against Gaza 2023/2024


Gaza – ActionAid continues supporting the leadership roles of Palestinian youth during crisis and emergencies by supporting their initiatives and work of local organizations and individuals who promote the role of young people in responding to humanitarian crisis. ActionAid supported the youth group “change makers” of its partner “Palestinian Development Women Studies Association (PDWSA) in organizing different protection and psychosocial support interventions for Children in camps of internally displaced (IDPs) in the middle areas in Gaza Strip.

Members of “change makers” are organizing recreational activities, psychological support interventions to children affected by displacement and war to create safe spaces for social interaction, creative expression, and life skill development. Those activities include psychosocial support, art therapy sessions, counseling sessions designed to meet each child's unique needs, to help them cope with trauma and build their resilience. Interactive activities are alleviating the psychological pressures that children are exposed to as a result of hearing bombings, killing of parents, siblings, friends and destruction of houses and neighborhoods.  Enjoying those activities could give children some of hope and inspiration despite their feelings of sadness and they are essentially needed to improve their well-being and mood. 

Since 7 October 2023, Israeli forces have been conducting a large-scale and unprecedented military offensive from the air, land, and sea, targeting civilians in Gaza, more than 38,000 Palestinians including more than 15,000 children were killed and nearly 85 percent of Gaza's 2.3 million people have been displaced. Save the Children has estimated that up to 21,000 children are missing.

For nine months, thousands of children in Gaza have been exposed to continuous bombing, displacement from one place to another seeking safe place. Children of Gaza spend their nights with feelings of fear of being bombed, hunger, thirst and hotness. Children can not only enjoy their childhood after loss of parents, families, friends, relatives, houses, schools, streets and neighborhoods, their dreams were also shattered with indiscriminate bombing. Some of those children have taken responsibilities far beyond their years. Many children in Gaza are assigned to provide for their families and fulfilling basic needs of their families as bringing water which require walking long distances and waiting in long queues for bringing water, flour, food.

During wars and crisis, Palestinian young people as other youth in world affected by wars especially young women and marginalized groups – must be recognized as leaders and have access and influence in decision-making processes, especially those that affect them directly. ActionAid’s humanitarian Signature is paramount. It sets out the pillars of ActionAid’s way of working in humanitarian response - focuses on shifting power, accountability to affected populations, and women’s and young people’s leadership. 

Youth are first responders who can rapidly mobilize themselves and engage in humanitarian response to strengthen resilience of the most affected groups in their community. Youth are engaged in designing and implementing humanitarian activities as they are familiar with the needs of their community.

Background Information

ActionAid in Palestine (AAP) is a part of global federation working for social justice and gender equality and eradicate poverty in more than 45 countries around the world. AAP started its work in Palestine in 2007 to strengthen the resilience of Palestinian People as ActionAid believes that they should enjoy their rights to freedom, justice and self-determination. AAP implements a number of programs through its engagement with communities and women and youth groups seeking to empower them and enhance their influential civil and political participation to understand their rights and undertake collective activism to address the protracted rights violations resulting from the prolonged occupation of Palestine. AAP works simultaneously to enhance their leadership capacity and knowledge to practice their citizenship in holding authorities and other duty bearers to account.

For more information, please contact

Riham Jafari

Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication in Palestine


+972 (0) 595242890