Eat Breathe Move
A mobile application to support Ukrainian refugee children in Switzerland
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, approximately 6 million refugees from Ukraine fled the country, including more than 2 million children , with deterioration of health, stress, trauma, sleep disorders. In Switzerland, about 50 000 Ukrainian refugees were registered mostly in Zurich (17,3%) and Bern (12%). Children aged 5-14 years old represent the biggest group of refugees with 23% (7221 persons). Research has previously shown that after reaching the country of destination, asylum seekers have a prolonged period of uncertainty while their application for asylum is being processed. The living conditions of children and families during this period is often stressful. Compared with their Swiss peers, migrant children had more dental cavities, twice the odds of having obesity and migrant adolescents seemed more frequently affected by psychological problems. The first years in the new country of destination may put children at risk for the development of obesity; this is linked to issues such as stress and the potential for replacement of traditional dietary habits in their own country to more unhealthy choices in the new country.
Project Description: This project aims to develop an application for Ukrainian refugee children focussing on stress management, physical activity, and nutrition. The app will support them during the acculturation in their new, but likely temporary, country. The project will use available components of the existing ‘Healthy Nutrition for Kids’ project that was developed by the Ukrainian NGO ‘BeHealthy’ . Olha Faryma, initiator and driving force behind this program was relocated to Switzerland and together with the Bern University of Applied Sciences’ department of health professions, she wishes to adapt this program to the new challenging situation of refugee children from the Ukraine. In collaboration with other Ukrainian refugees, this program will be extended to include mental health / stress management and physical activity to give children a better start in Switzerland. Project Aim: The first phase of the project will focus on Switzerland. The aim is to support Ukrainian children and teenagers aged 7-15, who moved to Switzerland to adapt to new conditions, learn and understand specifics of the country. The application aims to support them in managing their health, both physical & mental health, using evidence-based instruments. A specific focus will be on nutrition, physical activity, stress and building social connections.
Based on first focus group interviews with mothers and children in Switzerland, a digital instrument (mobile app and tablet) was chosen as the best vehicle for the program. It will allow to reach the audience in the most efficient way. In the construction of the program, we will take a pragmatic and agile approach. First existing content of the Ukrainian program will be used to create content. A cooking workshop and interviews will be held to first create nutrition content addressing cultural aspects of the Swiss diet. Then, a first version of this application will be built, and content will be created for physical activity and mental aspects/stress.
Our aim is to scale up to other countries if the Swiss version is successful. Funds will be collected in the specific countries to enable this extension. Through the collaboration with the Ukrainian NGO, maintenance and sustainability of the program can be guaranteed as it can be implemented in Ukraine as well. Please contact us if you wish to support this project financially