Policy Brief

‘Bereavement Awareness’ is crucial to achieving the 2030 Agenda: Evidence from Senegal

We are pleased to publish our new Policy Brief which outlines the implications and recommendations of our research in Senegal.

Bereavement Awareness Policy Brief

‘Bereavement awareness’ is crucial to achieving the 2030 Agenda: evidence from Senegal

English version

Note de synthèse

Il est primordial de ‘prendre conscience de la dimension du deuil’ pour atteindre les objectifs fixés par le programme d’action 2030 : voici des éléments de preuves provenant du Sénégal

Version française

The death of a family member is not just an economic shock, as it is often referred to in the context of the global South. Evidence from Senegal suggests that economic impacts of bereavement are interwoven with emotional and social impacts, resulting in a range of disruptions and pressures on children and families. Recognising these impacts and developing ‘bereavement aware’ policy and programming is crucial to achieving the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals.

How can a ‘bereavement aware’ approach be integrated into development policy and programming?

A ‘bereavement aware’ approach should be underpinned by a recognition that bereavement does not just affect individuals or households, but rather can have major repercussions for children and adults who are reliant on complex and extensive family and community support networks.  When assessing and providing support to children and families, the involvement of a wider range of family members, neighbours, local and religious leaders and informal associations may help to link up and enhance both the formal and informal support systems in order to ensure that the most marginalised children and families affected by bereavement do not fall through the gaps.

A ‘bereavement aware’ approach does not need to be costly, but could have multiple benefits for children and families in diverse circumstances and help to meet a range of development goals.  Suggestions include:

  • Adjusting the criteria of existing cash transfer and other social protection programmes to recognise the potential economic, emotional and social vulnerability of children and families following a relative’s death.
  • Raising awareness among school staff, social workers, NGO practitioners, local and religious leaders about the mixture of feelings that children and adults may experience and that painful feelings may persist in the long term, beyond the immediate aftermath of a relative’s death.
  • Providing access to school staff for students to talk to and ask for advice or developing peer mentoring schemes for young people who have experienced a death. This would help to provide a more supportive school environment that builds young people’s resilience.
  • Increasing the availability of school and university bursaries for students whose relative has died would also help to improve bereaved young people’s educational attendance and attainment.

For further information on developing a ‘bereavement aware’ approach, please contact Ruth Evans, Email: r.evans@reading.ac.uk; Twitter: @DrRuth_Evans or @YWellbeingNet