Oxford Ukrainian community works with academics to create advice for families affected by war

14 March 2022

Members of Oxford University’s Ukrainian community have worked with the institution’s parenting experts to create a package of free, easy-to-use advice for families affected by the war.

The university’s social policy team, whose COVID-19 pandemic advice for families was downloaded more than 200 million times, swung into action when the conflict began. With the assistance of the university’s Ukrainian community, it has created information in three languages – English, Ukrainian and Russian.
These resources are available online and endorsed by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation and multiple charities.
So far, the parenting tips have been shared directly with 43 organisations, including 11 academic institutions, four UN Agencies, 25 non-governmental organisations, two funding agencies, and one governmental body.

Dr Isang Awah, from Oxford’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention, emphasises, ‘The war in Ukraine is devastating for families. Parents and caregivers are having to look after children under intense stress and danger: sheltering from bombs, fleeing from conflict, and travelling across borders. They deserve the best evidence-based support possible. ‘
She adds, ‘We were able bring together UN agencies and rapidly develop simple social media tips, based on 12 randomised controlled trials and our work in the COVID-19 emergency parenting response. These will help families to cope with stress, make safety plans for their children, support children through fear and danger, and build children’s resilience to crisis.’

Meanwhile, Oxford researcher Kathleen Murphy, says, ‘Within a few days, these resources are being shared by the World Health Organisation on their Viber bot, by the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children on their website, by UNODC in leaflets given with humanitarian aid, and on QR codes to upload as refugees cross borders.
‘We helped church networks to develop faith-based versions which are being disseminated through communities, and they are being used by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF’s humanitarian response. People from Ukraine and the region have been sharing the resources on WhatsApp with their own networks - just wanting to get support to everyone who needs it. It has been incredible to see the uptake.’

Professor Lucie Cluver, paid tribute to those who gave their time and skills to make this possible. She says, ‘We could only do this because of an amazing set of volunteers from the University and beyond. Our colleague, Dr Yulia Shenderovich posted on University Ukrainian and Russian Society Facebook sites, and people rushed forward to help with translation and dissemination.’

She adds, ‘Two doctors fleeing Ukraine edited languages whilst they were unpacking their bags in London. Students and staff in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention - and from Oxford Brookes, and alumni - came forward and worked over weekends and evenings to set up websites and make versions in all languages in the region. This has been a true example of what Oxford’s community can do, and how much the Eastern European diaspora want to help.’

The team send their most heartfelt condolences to all affected by this horrendous situation, and as a team, is committed to supporting families in this crisis in whatever way they can.

Notes for Editors

Any enquiries or request for interviews, please contact Georgia.broome@socsci.ox.ac.uk or news.office@admin.ox.ac.uk

Accessing the Resources:
All of the tips are open source, and can be downloaded in PNG and PDF format, to allow sharing. The team have also created printable leaflets and QR codes, and in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, are creating 1-minute videos for each parenting tip. Additionally, quick parenting quizzes created in English, Ukrainian and Russian languages by the Early Childhood Development Action Networks (ECDAN), the WHO and PLH teams will be shared on Viber.

The parenting tips can be found:
• on the Ukraine Parenting website: https://ukraineparenting.web.ox.ac.uk/home
• in the Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1359CLfscEyy-H50mSUmnQb3ETm4f8HhF

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