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The Wellbeing of Armed Conflict-Affected Children in School: A Qualitative Study

Abstract

School has been demonstrated to be important for children’s wellbeing and useful for the reintegration of armed conflict-affected children. However, little is known about the factors that can help stimulate the wellbeing of conflict-affected children in school. This study qualitatively explores the factors that contribute to the school-related subjective wellbeing of armed conflict-affected and displaced children in Nigeria. In this qualitative study, participants (adults and children) were randomly selected from six rural armed conflict-affected communities of northeast Nigeria. Group discussions were undertaken with seventy-armed conflict-affected children (38 girls and 32 boys), using the H-diagram tool to describe factors that contribute positively and negatively to their wellbeing in school. Eleven key informants (five females and six males), including school administrators, teachers, and parents, were also interviewed. Thematic analysis of the children group discussions and interviews with adult informants within the community revealed the importance of (1) warm teacher-student relationships, (2) supportive home environments, (3) adequate school facilities, (4) good teacher welfare packages and (5) a sense of safety for school related subjective wellbeing of children living in conflict-affected locations. Humanitarian assistance in the form of food and education support were appreciated by the children as it catalyzed the home and school factors that impacts on the school wellbeing of children.

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Availability of Data and Materials:

The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the assistance and contributions of TEARFUND Nigeria and CRUDAN Adamawa state Staff for the data collection of this study. We also thank the survey participants who shared their experiences as well as the field teams who conducted the interviews for their enthusiasm and dedication.

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This research did not receive any funding.

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Correspondence to Esther Ariyo.

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Ariyo, E., Mortelmans, D., Campbell, L. et al. The Wellbeing of Armed Conflict-Affected Children in School: A Qualitative Study. Child Ind Res 15, 1673–1691 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-022-09917-5

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Keywords

  • Armed conflict
  • Displaced
  • Subjective wellbeing
  • Children
  • Nigeria
  • School
  • Qualitative