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Women on the Move: Trauma-informed interventions based on Sport and Play


Women on the Move: Trauma-informed interventions based on Sport and Play

Publication type

Manuals and Tools


Swiss Academy for Development




PDF icon Women on the Move Part I7.69 MB
PDF icon Women on the Move Part II18.51 MB

Swiss Academy for Development

Women on the Move is a two part toolkit for practitioners working on trauma-informed interventions based on sport and play. Part I consists of principles and a practical guide while Part II presents the toolbox.

Purpose of the toolkit

Different approaches have been identified in order to address the treatment and support the needs of trauma survivors. Trauma-specific practices take a direct approach, specifically addressing trauma and its effects and the need to find means for recovery, for example through counselling and clinical interventions.

However, this toolkit focuses on the trauma-informed approach. This is an approach which does not intend to deal with trauma directly, but creates an awareness of the issues related to trauma and the vulnerabilities of trauma survivors. Emphasis is placed on raising trauma awareness, creating a safe, non-violent environment in which the survivor can be empowered to make choices, collaborate and learn.

The toolkit is grounded in the belief that trauma-informed sport and play based programmes have the potential to reinforce social bonds, improving the wellbeing of both individuals and society. Such programmes work on the principle that individuals who are empowered to care for themselves and each other will gain in self confidence, as will the community as a whole. Renewed confidence can in turn aid recovery and strengthen a community’s ability to cope with future traumatic experiences.

Toolkit audience

The toolkit does not aim to advise the reader on how to lead individuals towards full recovery, either through counselling or clinical intervention. Rather, it stands as a guide for coaches and professionals looking at how they might carry out psychosocial sport programmes specifically designed for victims of trauma.

Originally designed for the coaches working on the “Women on the Move Programme” - Sport and play based psychosocial Interventions in South Sudan ( - the toolkit was primarily aimed at reaching women affected by trauma in this region. However, most of the suggestions and recommendations are valuable and relevant to all practitioners working with people affected by trauma who are looking to incorporate sport and play based activities into their programmes.

Part I

The first part of the toolkit, “Principles and Practical Guide”, illustrates how sport and play based psychosocial programmes can aid recovery for individuals. This begins with looking at the importance of peer support, followed by the relationship between sport and trauma, and then what is meant by a ‘trauma-informed approach.’ The remaining chapters speak about the necessary steps to be taken in establishing and carrying out a trauma-informed sport and play programme with practical advice as to how professionals might deal with different situations.

Part II

The second part of the toolkit, the “Toolbox”, is presented as a separate pocket guide to use in the field. The toolbox provides specific ideas for icebreakers, warm-up and cool-down exercises, basic rules, skills and techniques of selected activities, and specific games designed to build life skills that are important for overcoming trauma and coping with stress.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]



Pia Ammann and Nicole Matuska


Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 23:00

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