Psychosocial approaches into the language policies

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psychosocial approaches into the language, policies, and approach of the organisation need not supplant current policy frameworks. Instead, they can could be introduced and defined alongside current policy frameworks. In using specific and separate language and framing of activities with similar objectives, UNHCR is isolating itself from the broader field and community of humanitarian actors involved with MHPSS activities, and limiting its capacity to support and enhance MHPSS activities in various contexts. If UNHCR wants to provide improved support to implementing partners working in the MHPSS field, and play a coordinating if not leadership role in the MHPSS field, it needs to develop and improve its use of key MHPSS concepts and incorporate the MHPSS framework within existing policy frameworks. UNHCR’s limited and lacking engagement with the IASC Guidelines entails that it has not benefitted from principles developed in the Guidelines. The Intervention Pyramid contained in the IASC Guidelines is increasingly well-understood across the field of MHPSS actors, forms the basis of mapping of MHPSS activities (4Ws), and, furthermore, is a way for UNHCR to think about and maximise linkages between MHPSS activities across sectors. The pyramid offers an opportunity for UNHCR to identify parts of MHPSS response that it prioritises, or has the most capacity to deliver, and to communicate that to other actors in the field of MHPSS activities in humanitarian response where UNHCR’s activities lie, and how these activities can be linked to other components of response. As stated in Recommendation 2, UNHCR should adopt and incorporate these principles into its MHPSS activities. UNHCR currently lacks enough internal capacity to support MHPSS activities and increase UNHCR’s engagement with the field. As one UNHCR staff member stated, “[t]here is also a lack of knowledge and understanding and capacity in the staff to really monitor on this issue….People know them [the IASC Guidelines] but I don’t think they know that much the content and what it means concretely and how concretely we can do psychosocial support to our people of concern.” 130 Building internal capacity to oversee MHPSS activities is a key component of incorporating MHPSS throughout UNHCR. Building internal capacity and understanding of MHPSS can lead to further support for MHPSS, as one UNHCR staff member reported, “[t]here's no understanding and there's no availability of resources. I think once people have the understanding, the resources come. Like now, resources for SGBV are always found in a refugee situation. You will not find a donor who refuses or gives totally zero resources for SGBV. But the same has not happened for MHPSS.” 131 This leads to Recommendation 3. There are various models for building this internal capacity and drawing on external capacity, including, for example, modelling an expert recruitment scheme on the current International Catholic Migration Commission-UNHCR Resettlement Deployment Scheme.
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  • Fall '19
  • Humanitarian aid, psychosocial support

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