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How we work

Find out about the work Act Church of Sweden is doing related to CBPS, as well as the role of ACT Alliance related to CBPS.

Act Church of Sweden is the international department of the Church of Sweden, working with humanitarian and development action and advocacy. The Community-Based Psychosocial Support (CBPS) approach has traditionally been located within the humanitarian unit, but is evolving to capture all work of the international department. There is also a need to mainstream CBPS into more developmental-oriented projects, as participation, inclusion, accountability etc. are key aspects of all Act Church of Sweden projects.

Act Alliance 

Act Church of Sweden is a member organization of the ACT Alliance, a network of 145 churches and related organizations around the globe. Act Church of Sweden works closely with the ACT Alliance in humanitarian and development related matters.

The ACT Alliance has adopted the CBPS guiding principles, with the aim to have these serving as a reference for psychosocial support initiatives conducted by members of ACT Alliance.  

Act Church of Sweden, is the lead organization of the CBPS approach within the ACT Alliance, and has for several years chaired the ACT Alliance Psychosocial Community of Practice, connecting local and international actors with the global network of MHPSS.  


CBPS within Act Church of Sweden

Community-Based Psychosocial Support (CBPS) is one of Act CoS thematic main areas. 

The main responsibility of the CBPS approach lies within the Unit for Humanitarian Response, which is one of many units and sections of Act Church of Sweden. However, it should be noted that while the CBPS approach is mainly developed in the Unit for Humanitarian Response, it is mainstreamed throughout other units and sections and these also work closely together on various projects where CBPS is integrated.Commitments and geographical overview

The leaflet ”The Church of Sweden's International Work: Saving lives and defending human dignity” (2017) provides an overview of Act Church of Sweden's overall goals, commitments and geographical areas of operations. 

In the following movie, Esther shares her story of fleeing from Congo and living in the Kakuma refugee camp. This is an example of CBPS support which was provided by Act Church of Sweden.  

CBPS Roster

Act Church of Sweden (Act CoS) maintains surge capacity through a CBPS (Community-Based Psychosocial Support) Roster with the goal to enable partners to quickly integrate CBPS in sudden onset emergencies. The CBPS Roster consists of around 20 consultants with rich experience of working with CBPS and the IASC MHPSS Guidelines. The main objective of providing this surge, is to support partners to strengthen the local capacity to mainstream CBPS into their response. The surge support often consists of technical support in assessments, capacity strengthening, and mentoring, and builds on already existing local resources of partners and local communities. 

Act CoS has two-pronged approach when it deploys CBPS consultants: As a fast deployment to do rapid assessments and a prolonged deployment, carried out in a staggered manner. A fast deployment takes place after a sudden emergency, to support partners in the assessment of psychosocial needs and capacity of the affected population(s), in parallel with mapping out the existing capacity of the implementing partner(s). This information is the foundation for further planning and coordination with implementing partners, and with other operating MHPSS networks on the ground.    

The other type of deployment combines support on the ground with remote technical support between the field missions. This staggering of support is meant to continually build on what is in place and reinforce the capacity of partners to adopt a CBPS approach and have the capacity to mainstream CBPS and other cross-cutting approaches already at the onset of an emergency.

A staggered deployment was implemented in Bangladesh between 2018 and 2019 as part of Act CoS’ support to an ACT Appeal (name of the response by ACT Alliance) responding to the needs of the Rohingya refugee population in Bangladesh. Two CBPS consultants from the CBPS roster were deployed for two four-week periods with additional technical remote support in between and after. The aim of the deployment was to integrate a CBPS approach into ACT Alliance programme for the Rohingya and local Bangladeshi community members, organisational staff and volunteers.

Refugee Camp in Bangladesh
Refugee Camp in Bangladesh

A fast deployment was implemented in Zimbabwe and Mozambique from April to May 2019 in relation to an ACT Appeal which was a response to Cyclone Idai, which struck Zimbabwe and Mozambique approximately a month earlier. Two CBPS consultants from the roster were deployed for one week to conduct an assessment regarding psychosocial needs and CBPS capacity of implementing partner organisations, in order to inform a follow-up staggered deployment. The fast deployment was soon after followed by staggered deployment.

Advanced CBPS Training Programme

The Advanced Community-Based Psychosocial Support (CBPS) Training builds on experience and learnings from the CBPS 5-Module Training. 

The Advance CBPS training programme is a response to the need of a CBPS capacity-strengthening programme for those with prior skills and experience of CBPS and ability to engage with the issues at a higher academic level. The programme targets persons working with CBPS in humanitarian and /or development work and intends to contribute towards building a core of people within the ACT Alliance with capacity to support the integration of CBPS approaches into organisations programmes, systems and policies.

The programme is directed to partners within the ACT Psychosocial Communities of Practice (PS CoP), with representatives from regional and global PS CoPs, to contribute to common understanding of CBPS, and sharing of good practices. You can read more about the PS CoPs by following the link below. The programme has been accredited by Queen Margaret University, at a postgraduate (Master) degree level. The programme runs over two years and is held through a combination of online training and face-to-face meetings. The face- to-face meetings takes place in close collaboration with the Sida Partnership Forum in Härnösand.  

The training includes the following topics: Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Learning (PMER-L) of CBPS projects; Staff care and stress management; Psychological First Aid (PFA).

The Community-Based Psychosocial Support (CBPS) 5-Module Training is part of Act Church of Sweden’s (Act CoS) capacity strengthening strategy of ACT Alliance partner organisations. The training is designed to strengthen the capacity of organisations working in both humanitarian and development settings with a community-based approach. The CBPS 5-Module training has been held in Eastern Africa. Experiences and evaluations show that the training has increased the technical capacity on organisational level, leading to further training and coaching of other staff and community members, ultimately having a positive impacting on the well-being of right holders.

The training aims to enable participants to: 1) understand the CBPS concept; 2) plan and implement interventions with a CBPS component or projects in which CBPS is mainstreamed; 3) establish good systems for assessing, monitoring, evaluating and reporting on CBPS results; and 4) master participatory techniques to build CBPS capacity within their organisation.

The programme takes place over a three-year period. The training methodology involves participation in a series of five one-week training modules held approximately six months apart. In between each module, participants conduct an individualised assignment in which they apply the knowledge and skills developed during the module to an aspect of their current work. In this way, learnings are immediately integrated into participants’ workplace. This strong linkage between theory and practice helps creating a sustainable learning outcome.

It further follows a localised approach where it intends to strengthen the capacity of strategic partners at multiple levels, including the field, operational management, and senior management, with the aim of institutionalising the CBPS approach, or with other words, to expand the learning beyond the knowledge of the single participant to their whole organisation.  

Act Church of Sweden CBPS staff

At Act Church of Sweden (Act CoS), there is staff specifically working with Community-Based Psychosocial Support (CBPS) which is the CBPS Team. Besides developing the CBPS approach, creating and facilitating trainings, and being involved in many national and global thematically related networks, the Act CoS CBPS staff contributes to humanitarian interventions by providing technical inputs to applications and ongoing projects in the form of desk support or monitoring visits. Such support is mostly provided to Act CoS supported interventions which in turn often are projects by ACT Alliance member organisations. Interventions are supported from the initial stage by CBPS staff either being part of designing an appeal or through reviews and feedback of applications regarding CBPS principles and the MHPSS Guidelines. Such thematic review and feedback are also further provided during a project phase as well as at the follow up and reporting phase.

Input to ACT Alliance Global Covid-19 Appeal

Thematic CBPS input at the initial design phase was for instance an integral part of the ACT Alliance Global Covid-19 Appeal. The Appeal was put together by the ACT Alliance together with experts of member organisations writing several parts relating to their thematic areas. Being the lead on CBPS in the ACT Alliance, Act Church of Sweden CBPS staff designed the section on CBPS and ensured that CBPS as a crosscutting issue was adequately mainstreamed across all the sectors included in the Appeal.

Joint Monitoring Visits

Act CoS CBPS staff has in several instances been part of ACT Alliance Joint Monitoring Visits in order to provide support in the CBPS/MHPSS sector. Especially in larger ACT Alliance Appeals, where several implementing organisations and donor organisations are involved, ACT Alliance organises Joint Monitoring Visits for representants of these organisations. Accordingly, Act CoS CBPS staff for instance participated in the Joint Monitoring Visit in Bangladesh in response to the Rohingya refugee situation, and in a Joint Monitoring Visit in Indonesia in response to the Central Sulawesi Earthquake.



In the following video, Act Church of Sweden CBPS Roster member Rebecca Horn, cites and discusses several questions and answers which were posed to staff of ACT Alliance member organizations. The video was created for an exchange which was organized by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.

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Who we are

We defend people’s dignity and rights. The Christian message of faith, hope and charity forms the basis of our work.

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Quality and accountability

Act Church of Sweden strives for high quality in both the daily work and in our results. People’s ability to demand accountability is a necessary part of human rights-based work and a democratic society.