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          Training in Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Interventions                 for Emergency Affected Populations Living IN THE URBAN CONTEXT 

URBAN LIFE in affiliation with the Psycho-Social Services and Training Institute in Cairo (PSTIC) (A program of Terre des hommes - Tdh) facilitates this training.


This is the only international training specifically for mental health and psychosocial intervention in the urban context. Participants will learn knowledge and practical skills to enhance their competence to provide community based MHPSS interventions for emergency affected populations in the urban context.

More than 89.3 million people are displaced around the world with 27.1 million of these refugees. Throughout generations of humanitarian aid, concentration has always been on the establishment of helping programs to assist displaced people in camps most often in rural locations with health care, shelter, water and sanitation. In the past 30 years, this aid has included an expansion of activities to promote mental health and psychosocial support. At this time, UNHCR reports that 60% of refugees and 80% of people displaced internally in their own countries are living in urban contexts. Camps offer a range of life styles and helping resources for their inhabitants; however, the urban centers are rife with different needs, problems and resources. To best assist those in the urban context, we cannot just clone programs designed for camps into this context. Rather, the humanitarian field needs to realign its programming for the urban context. To do this, requires training and capacity building for humanitarian workers to prepare them to effectively and efficiently assess urban areas and design, implement, and monitor interventions specific to the urban context.


The Interagency Standing Committee Reference Group for MHPSS welcomed this specialized training. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF, Terre des hommes, Save the Children, International Medical Corps, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Organizations agreed that this training can equip participants with knowledge and skills useful for MHPSS support in the urban context.

There are 3 residential training courses:

  • Mental Health and Psychosocial Intervention for Emergency Affected Populations in the Urban Context - English

  • Mental Health and Psychosocial Intervention for Emergency Affected Populations in the Urban Context - Arabic

  • Training of Psychosocial Trainers (TOT) (Relevant to any context) - English

Since 2018, participants have come to Urban Life training from IOM, UNHCR, Tdh, GTZ and national NGO from the countries of Algeria, Bangladesh, Cote d'Ivoire, Greece, Iraq, Jordan, Nigeria, South Africa and South Sudan. 


Each training includes 5-10 working professionals from across the world.


Dr. Nancy Baron, Director of Urban Life and Founder of the Psychosocial Services and Training Institute in Cairo (PSTIC) coordinates the training. Dr. Baron is a noted international expert in MHPSS. She has 30 years of experience implementing MHPSS interventions with emergency affected populations in countries globally; with 10 years specifically in the urban context. Experienced Egyptian psychiatrists, psychologists and refugee and migrant community psychosocial workers affiliated to the Psycho-Social Services and Training Institute in Cairo (PSTIC) are part of the training team. 


The field experience is organized by PSTIC. Egypt has 289,000 people of concern to UNHCR from 60 countries mostly from Eritrea, Ethiopian, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen and an estimated 5-6 million migrants living in Greater Cairo and other smaller urban centers. Their ability to live safely with an adequate standard of living is a constant challenge. Since 2009, PSTIC, as a program of Terre des hommes (Tdh), and as an implementing partner of UNHCR and with support by IOM and other donors has provided support to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Egypt.


The PSTIC community-based team includes 200+ trained refugees and migrants who assist their communities 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Interventions are multidisciplinary and facilitate the protection of the most vulnerable people through home and community-based interventions that promote mental health and psychosocial well-being; emergency response; information sharing; community awareness raising, support and integration; case management; counseling-problem solving; mental health care; facilitation of access to emergency health care; youth activities; and support for safe housing. Additionally, PSTIC has a Peace of Mind

Center with refugee trained Counselors offering PM+, child-adolescent-family clinic, mental health clinics and a income generation and life skills center for people with disabilities.

   MHPSS Interventions for Emergency Affected Populations in the Urban Context Training Curriculum  


  Classroom training 

  Classes include presentations /discussion /case studies /participation in MHPSS team meetings. 

  Topics are specific to the urban context and include:

  • Best practice guidance based on the Interagency MHPSS Guidelines and global research and experience on MHPSS for emergency affected

      populations with modifications for the urban context.

  • Protocol for design and implementation of a community based MHPSS program in the urban context.

  • Process for selection, training, supervision and care of community-based teams whose workers are from the affected communities.

  • Review of specialized skills for community-based assessment of needs, problems and resources and 24-7 availability for urban crises. 

  • Practical planning for how to use the experience in Cairo in home country.


  Field experience 

  This field training experience is unique. Participants join experienced refugee community workers in the field.          They hear first hand about their experiences as well as talk with beneficiaries about the impact of community          based  24-7 MHPSS intervention in the urban context.   

  Training of Psychosocial Trainers Curriculum   


 This training will prepare participants to effectively train teams to do MHPSS interventions. Participants will   enhance their training skills in participatory training including making presentations and effectively using

 discussions and role play to enable them to teach MHPSS workers the skills necessary to provide effective

 MHPSS interventions.

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