(FIERCE) Syrian Refugee Fathers Study
Zaid Alkayed, Majd Al-Soleiti, Catherine Panter-Brick, Isabelle Mareschal, Kristin Hadfield, Amal El-Kharouf, and Sophie von Stumm
As a part of the FIERCE study, this survey focuses on fathers to complement the cluster randomized controlled trial evaluation of the impacts of We Love Reading, which is implemented with mothers to boost child literacy and attitudes towards reading. The trial (FIERCE: Family Intervention for Empowerment through Reading and Education) follows a cohort of more than 300 mothers and their 4-8 year-old children, collecting data at their homes in Amman and Zaatari camp, at two time points before/after the intervention.
(FIERCE): Family Intervention for Empowerment through Reading and Education.
Kristin Hadfield : Trinity Research – Trinity College Dublin
Community-led, shared book-reading interventions can improve early childhood development and reduce inequity. One such program, We Love Reading (WLR), was implemented in Jordan in response to the Syrian refugee crisis and involves mothers reading stories to children. We will examine the potentially transformative nature of WLR, by (a) evaluating WLR qualitatively and quantitatively and (b) interviewing the people who developed and implemented WLR (WLR Ambassadors, women trained in WLR, children who took part) to create a toolkit for effectively developing and implementing non-formal education resources elsewhere. To address the first aim, we will conduct a grounded theory analysis of interviews with stakeholders (i.e. parents, children) and will conduct a quantitative randomized controlled trial with Syrian refugee women and children. This will allow us to understand how an education intervention may impact children’s educational trajectories during war and displacement, and how we can effectively intervene in other humanitarian crisis contexts. For more information on the project, see: https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/projects/education-learning-in-crises-developing-implementing-transformational-intervention/
Improving emotional recognition and decision-making among refugee children
in Jordan: Evaluation of a low-cost, reading-based intervention
Isabelle Mareschal Queen Mary University of London
This study seeks to answer the question: What are the impacts of forced displacement, trauma exposure, and
insecure environments on refugee children’s decision-making and emotion recognition skills, and can a
reading-based intervention (We Love Reading model) improve these outcomes? Given that trauma can lead to
maladapted emotion recognition and inappropriate behaviors to emotional stimuli, it is critical to examine these
links in children who have experienced war and displacement.
How parent and child come to coordinate attention: Exploring real-time
mechanisms of joint attention during parent-child book-reading
Antje von Suchodoletz, New York University Abu Dhabi
Rana Dajani, Hashemite University
Joint attention is the ability to coordinate and achieve a common focus of attention with a partner during a social
interaction. Learning to respond to and initiate joint attention episodes is a significant predictor for language
development, social communication, and learning. This study explores whether joint attention processes during
parent-child book-reading change in response to the child participating in the We Love Reading program. Data
will be collected from children aged 6-4 and their mothers using a mobile eye-tracking system to record their eye
How We Love Reading volunteers go on to become social entrepreneurs:
Empowering people to create positive change in their communities
Farah Al Taji, Polytechnic University of Milan
Rama Kummitha, Polytechnic University of Milan
We Love Reading’s social entrepreneurship program follows the philosophy: “If I can open a library, what else can
I do?” This research analyses to what extent the We Love Reading voluntary experience fosters intentions to start
their own social entrepreneurship project afterwards. This will be investigated through a mixed-method approach
of quantitative and qualitative methods to track a sample of 200 We Love Reading volunteers for 6 months
Efficacy of Low-cost Interventions as an Alternative for Mental
Illnesses, Specifically PTSD, High -cost Therapies
Chevening Scholar 2018
King’s College London
Our question is :
Does reading stories aloud, for Syrian refugees’ children living outside the camps, who have been exposed to
war in Syria, decrease their psychological distress and PTSD symptoms?
We expect that Syrian refugee’ children in Jordan who have been exposed to war aged between 8 and 10 years
who participate in the “We Love Reading” program, will show decreases in psychological distress and PTSD
symptoms, compared to children who do not take part in the program.
Published Research & Conference Proceeding
Paul D. Hastings | Lindsey C. Partington | Rana Dajani | Antjevon Suchodoletz (2021)
This study of 52 predominantly lower income Jordanian and Syrian families with young children (31 girls; Mage = 53.37 months, SD = 3.53) in Jordan began in 2019, before the pandemic. Families were followed to explore stress physiology, family functioning, and mental health over the first 9 months of the pandemic. Mothers reported less adaptive coping and more negative changes to family life in June 2020 when their children had poorer behavioral self-regulation and more behavior problems, and when families had lower income, in 2019. More negative changes to family life predicted greater hair cortisol concentrations in children in June 2020, and more negative changes and less adaptive coping predicted worse child and mother psychosocial adjustment in December 2020.
Catherine Panter-Brick, Rana Dajani, Dima Hamadmad & Kristin
Humanitarian research with Syrian refugees can be difficult to conduct inperson,
due to COVID-19 containment, security, and logistics issues. We assessed whether the online implementation of a brief, culturally grounded resilience measure would yield reliable responses for use with children and adolescents in the Middle East region. We implemented an online survey screening for socio-economic status, insecurity, prosocial behaviour, and resilience (using the Child Youth Resilience Measure, CYRM) with 119 Syrian refugees (14–18 years old; 74 male, 45 female)
living in Jordan. Responses were compared with in-person data, available for a separate cohort of 324 Syrian refugees, previously sampled in Jordan with the same survey instruments. The online CYRM produced reliable and valid responses, as shown by analyses of internal reliability, convergent and divergent validity, and 7-day test-retest consistency. We reflect on logistic, ethical, and methodological challenges of online surveys, and suggest ways to plan and execute online research with hard-to-reach, crisis-affected communities.
(Julia Michalek1*, Matteo Lisi2, Deema Awad1, Kristin Hadfield3, Isabelle Mareschal1 and Rana Dajani4, 5)
1Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom 2University of Essex, United Kingdom 3Trinity College Dublin, Ireland 4Hashemite University, Jordan 5University of Richmond, United States
Suffering any type of trauma can cause serious issues to children’s mental health, therefore, interventions of any kind are necessary to help with socioemotional and psychological development. According to that, a research has been made to examine the advantages of reading-based intervention in helping children who have suffered early adversity and war-related trauma. The scientists who were responsible for the research used the We Love Reading program as an example to examine the study on the children. Participants were Syrian refugees (n=49) and Jordanian non-refugee children (n=45) aged 7-12 years old (M=8.9, 57% girls) living in Jordan. To measure emotion recognition, children classified the expression in faces morphed between two emotions (happy-sad and fear-anger), while mental health was assessed using survey measures of more complicated expressions. Before the intervention, both groups of children interpreted ambiguous expressions as sad, while there was no clear bias on the fear-anger spectrum. After the intervention, the scientists found changes in Syrian refugee children’s bias in emotion recognition away from sad facial expressions. This shift in the bias was not associated with changes in self-reported mental health symptoms. The results suggest a potential positive role of the reading intervention on affective development, but further research is required to determine the longer-term impacts of the program.
Randa Mahasneh, Antje von Suchodoletz, Ross A.A. Larsen, Rana Dajani
We Love Reading (WLR) is a community-based reading intervention aimed at cultivating an interest in reading for pleasure among children through mobilizing local community members to establish informal libraries and organize read-aloud sessions in public spaces. The program targets primarily children between the ages 4–10 but is also open to older children. The present study investigated the effect of the WLR program on children’s practices and attitudes related to reading for pleasure.
a thesis based on qualitative research of what specific factors has led to the successful development of WLR. In my thesis, I take into consideration the pragmatic leader of WLR, Rana Dajani, and how her leadership and management style has contributed to WLR achieving their organizational objectives. I discovered that Rana Dajani has been very successful at inspiring employees and stakeholders to pursue a shared mission of making children love reading.
The research employs Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory of development to understand We Love Reading (WLR) father ambassadors’ perceptions of and their involvement in reading with their young children in Jordan, and how this has affected other aspects within their homes, extended families, neighborhoods, and communities. Findings show that a majority of participants felt reading was the responsibility of the mother and were not involved before attending a WLR training. After the training, all participants continue to read with their children. Many read to children other than their own and encourage others in their communities and families to read with children, creating a ripple effect starting within homes and extending to other aspects of participants’ surroundings.
Using a combination of qualitative approaches, this research looks at the impact of the We Love Reading model and whether it can be replicated, and identifies viable paths to increase the reach of the program. The final recommendation is to execute two different strategies that complement each other. The first focuses on taking advantage of existing efforts to include more ICT in training and follow-up to create more targeted strategies of engagement for international actors interested in the program to lower financial barriers. The second emphasizes the importance of focusing on a particular region and identifying international actors with existing infrastructure and partners locally and collaborate to create a shared value.
Exploring a newly developed measure to assess children’s interest in school in Jordan. Presented at the 63rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society in San Francisco (2019) Antje von Suchodoletz, New York University Abu Dhabi Randa Mahasneh, Hashemite University Rana Dajani, Hashemite University
The research is presented at the CIES conference in San Francisco. To date, a majority of research has focused on the cognitive domain of learning whereas the affective domain, such as values and attitudes toward learning, has largely been neglected. However, students’ values and attitudes influence how they approach and organize learning on a day-to-day basis. This study developed and tested a short self-report measure of school interest in Jordan. A regression analysis, controlling for family background variables, showed a significant association with age, confirming the hypothesis that older children report lower levels of school interest. In addition, gender was significantly associated with school interest, indicating that boys had lower levels of school interest.
UNICEF Jordan conducted an evaluation of the We Love Reading program and the findings showed that the intervention significantly increased the reading practices of children aged 4-12 years old. All children who participated in the WLR program increased their reading practices, by an average of 34%. This increase in reading practices was evident across the board, regardless of gender or geographical location. Furthermore, there was a significant increase in children who reported that they liked to read after participating in the reading sessions.
This research is presented at the MIT Linc 2019 Conference. The We Love Reading model was implemented in a school in Salt, Jordan, to children aged 6 to 8 years old. The teachers read aloud to the children for fun once a week for a period of three months. The children and parents were assessed at two-time points, before and after the program. The parents also kept a log of activities and the results showed that children who were symptomatic for anxiety and depression showed improvements in executive functions, emotional regulation, and preliteracy function. Improvement in executive function in this age range is a predictor of lifelong educational and socioeconomic achievement.
Reading social stories in the community: A promising intervention for promoting children’s environmental knowledge and behavior in Jordan. Published in The Journal of Environmental Education 48, no. 5 (June 1, 2017), p. 334–46 Randa Ali Mahasneh, Qatar University Michael H. Romanowski, Qatar University Rana Dajani, Hashemite University
The results of this research, conducted in collaboration with the University of Qatar, indicated that through reading aloud, children’s knowledge about environmental issues increased significantly. Children who attended reading sessions became more aware of issues and a positive behavior change was noted in relation to electricity and water consumption and littering, as reported by parents. The We Love Reading model was more effective and sustainable than traditional methods such as television and billboards, and it works to improve environmental problems at the grassroots level.
Around the world, women have been marginalized. Advances in their lives and status have been slow and difficult. Poverty, politics, culture, and conflict have stood in the way of empowerment and opportunities for women. While many programs in today’s world address women’s issues in an effort to empower women and improve their livelihoods, an area that has not been fully explored, and that will have a tremendous impact on the lives and well-being of women, is the importance of reading among women. This article highlights the role that the We Love Reading program can play in empowering women as leaders and change-makers in their communities.
The impact of the We Love Reading pilot program on the psychosocial health of participating children in Zaatari refugee camp (2014) Sarah Yazji, Yale University Catherine Panter-Brick, Yale University
We Love Reading was introduced in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan through a pilot project in the summer of 2014. A psycho-social study designed by Yale University (USA) was conducted to assess the social and mental state of both the reading ambassadors and the children. The results in the test of resilience showed that the children who were read to had a greater ability to recover and return to a normal state after undergoing difficulties. There are a large number of children in Zaatari camp who are not enrolled in school for various reasons and reading aloud to these children encouraged them to go back to school. In addition, the children learned to love reading and to think and make decisions for themselves.
Reading about people’s feelings increases empathic concern and generosity in children (2014) Jean Decety, University of Chicago Jason M. Cowell, University of Chicago Rana Dajani, Hashemite University
In 2014, We Love Reading, in collaboration with the University of Chicago (USA), conducted a study measuring the impact of the We Love Reading model on increasing children’s ability to empathize with others. It showed that integrating the values of empathy into children’s stories increased children’s generosity by 100%. In addition, it increased children’s interest in and concern for others. Importantly, the intervention did not affect what is called “affective empathy” or pain sensitivity. These changes were not observed in children who were not read to and who did not participate in the reading sessions.
Our RCT Guide
Taghyeer Organization’s Executive Workshop EVALUTING SOCIAL PROGRAMS Using Randomized Controlled Trials
November 24, 2015
Eman Tarawneh & Suhayb Al-Absi
- Social Program Evaluation
- What is Randomized Controlled Trails (RCT)?
- Who could beneﬁt from such evaluations?
- Programs and their Evaluations: Where do we start?
- Program Evaluation Components?
- Theory of Change
- Impact Evaluation
- When to collect data?
- Sources of Data
- What to measure
- The Main Challenge in Measurement
- Unit of Randomization
- Relative Solutions
- Randomization Designs
- Common Threats
- Threat to External Validity