Children in humanitarian settings face many different threats to their safety and wellbeing with potentially devastating impacts to their development. In emergencies such as conflicts and natural disaster, children may experience destruction of their communities; forced displacement from their homes, schools and communities; separation from or loss of loved ones; deprivation and injury. Many children today are on the move due to long-lasting crisis situations, with and without their caregivers. Many are at risk of recruitment into armed groups, exposure to traumatic events, physical and sexual and gender-based violence, and psychological abuse. Keeping children safe and supporting and preserving their psychosocial well-being are extremely important in emergencies.
Child friendly spaces (CFS) are interventions used by humanitarian agencies to increase children’s access to safe environments and promote their psychosocial well-being. Some CFS programmes may focus on informal education or other needs related to children. However, all CFS try to provide a safe place where children can come together to play, relax, express themselves, feel supported and learn skills to deal with the challenges they face.