Social-Ecological Perspective

Born Equal views children as part of their context and nests children within a field of concentric circles of families and living communities.

It is informed by the social ecological approach, first described by Urie Bronfenbrenner [1], which highlights the plurality of socializing forces and offers a dynamic picture of how children develop in the midst of changing social, political, economic, and cultural worlds.  It shifts the paradigm away from psychopathology and emphasizes the wisdom and strengths of stakeholders.  

From this perspective, the dangers of political violence are assessed by how they ripple across the fields of family and community life.  People living under siege are understood based on their strengths and the challenges facing their communities, with an eye towards understanding how indigenous modes of coping and cultural routines might be threatened. 

From this perspective, psychosocial well-being for the individual, the family, and the community is assessed by taking into account human capacity, which refers to people’s physical and emotional well-being and their skills, talents, and knowledge; social ecology, which refers to how the many spheres of communal life interpenetrate (for example, how the family interfaces with religious, cultural, civic, educational, and political domains); and culture and values, which are often disrupted during war, threatening the traditions that unite people and give them a sense of identity. 

 Projects that grow from a psychosocial ethic place the wisdom of stakeholders at the center, and partner closely with those caught in the trenches.



[1] Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ Press.

See also:  Boothby, N, Strang, A, Wessells, M, (2006)  A world turned upside down: Social ecological approaches to children in war zones. CT: Kumarian Press, inc.