TeamUp: movement-based activities for conflict-affected children

TeamUp is a psychosocial support intervention of structured movement-based activities for children (affected by conflict), developed by a coalition of War Child Holland, Save the Children, and UNICEF Netherlands.

TeamUp at school (Netherlands)

TeamUp was developed in 2015 to respond to the social-emotional needs of refugee children in the Netherlands. A proven positive track record in 5 countries, the interest of external partners, and millions of children exposed to traumatic events due to conflict allow the TeamUp intervention to be of added value for programming by others.

Offering stability through sports sessions

TeamUp offers activities based on play, movement, and body awareness for conflict-affected children aged 6 to 18. Each activity has a specific goal, related to a social-emotional or psychosocial theme. The non-verbal movement-based facilitation by trained facilitators allows all children regardless of their language to participate. The structured sessions following the principles of ‘same place, same face, same time’ create a much-needed sense of stability and normalcy for the children. TeamUp aims to improve the psychosocial well-being of children to strengthen their resilience. This is realised through four main outcomes:

  • Children have an increased feeling of safety and protection
  • Children experience an increased sense of social connectedness
  • Children have a positive outlook
  • Children are better able to self-regulate their emotions and behaviour.


In 2019, 4,358 refugee children participated in TeamUp in the Netherlands of which the majority lived in reception centres. In 2018, an evaluation carried out at Dutch reception centres concluded that TeamUp is seen as an outlet of high energy and strong emotions, as a time to experience normalcy, and a way to strengthen relationships with other children. In 2019, an evaluation at Dutch schools concluded that TeamUp supports children to practise regulating their emotions, to make new friends, and to enjoy movement activities that they can look forward to.

Expanding internationally

TeamUp in ColombiaSince 2017, TeamUp was gradually implemented in Uganda, Sri Lanka, the occupied Palestinian Territories and Colombia. The methodology was contextualized and translated. In-country staff were trained and they cascaded the training to facilitators of TeamUp sessions. A mentoring system was set up to support facilitators. The sessions are provided in safe spaces, schools, and youth community groups. Specific TeamUp resources were developed for a Covid-19 context. In 2020, preparations were made to roll out TeamUp to Sweden and with SOS Children’s Villages to Italy, Greece, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia, Somaliland, Rwanda, and Nigeria. The ambition is to further scale the intervention for other partners to implement the intervention as well.


War Child, Save the Children, UNICEF Netherlands
Phone: +31 (0)20 422 77 77