UCD spearheads global project to help children adjust to COVID pandemic

Posted 23 April, 2021

A new global project to help children and communities adjust to the challenges of COVID-19 will be spearheaded by University College Dublin.

The COVISION research project, funded by the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, will examine how children aged between 10 and 17 have responded to the pandemic, and how these responses can help other children overcome the difficulties the virus has created.

The global project is the first of its kind to investigate children and young people’s perspectives on well-being in a COVID-19 world.

“The COVISION project seeks to enhance the well-being of children during and after the pandemic and promote a range of positive community responses,” said Lead Researcher Dr Suja SomanadhanUCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems.

“By recognising children as a group with rights of equal value to those of adults and agents for promoting change, the COVISION project will harness their creative and innovative expertise to co-design and co-produce practical interventions.”

The UCD lead study includes researchers from Monash University, Australia, Ming Chuan University, Taiwan, Fluminense Federal University, Brazil, and the Universities of Alberta (Canada), Aukland (New Zealand), Edinburgh (Scotland), Maryland (US) and Melbourne (Australia), as well as national partners Children’s Health Ireland and the office of the Ombudsman for Children.

Along with examining strategies in the home and community where children’s creative and innovative responses have helped them and their friends and families adjust to the pandemic, the project will also look at how children’s actions can contribute to building community resilience.

The COVISION project will be co-designed with the children and young people through participatory workshops so that it reflects their needs and priorities.

Its findings will be made available online, and will also be disseminated through coordinated national and international research networks so that children and communities around the world can benefit, particularly in economically disadvantaged regions.

Launching the project, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, TD, said it was important to recognise the contributions that children and young people had made in their communities when faced by the COVID pandemic.

“This project will benefit children and their communities all over the world and it is heartening to see children and young people considered partners in the research, using the benefit of their creativity to co-design the research outputs, just as their creativity impacts and benefits society,” he added.

Ombudsman for Children Dr Niall Muldoon said: “We want to hear from children and we want their views to be considered by decision makers. The COVISION research project is an embodiment of this approach, exploring how children have coped, or in many cases not coped, with the COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of their words and their input to this project will be wide-reaching and is something every adult in power should pay heed to.”

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Caroline Byrne, UCD Research and Innovation)