Trauma Healing Specialist visits CEDAC´s Peer to Peer Support project in Muramvya

Survivors of the armed violence in the communes of Bukeye and Mbuye have been benefiting from psychosocial support since August 2012. The two communes are located in the northern province of Muramvya and were highly affected by the war due to their proximity to the Kibira National Reserve which was used as a base by rebel groups.  CEDAC seeks to heal the scars in this region through its peer support work scheme, generously supported by Action On Armed Violence (AOAV) and the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR).

A 2 days-visit was held from the 2 to 4 October 2012. The purpose of the excursion was to assess the competence of peer support workers and guide them where they were facing difficulties. The team was made up of Mr. Macauley CISR trauma recovery expert along with the operations coordinator, supervisor and the communal administrator.  During the field work, 12 peer support workers (6 in each commune) were visited and evaluated at survivor’s homes.

It was evident that survivors are comfortable with the peer support workers (PSWs) and have established a good relationship. From their observations, the team continues to believe that PSWs can really be a source of trauma recovery. PSW stimulates conversation in order to help survivors make informed life decisions or provide them with logistical guidance to access services. Being a PSW is challenging because some survivors needs are very specific or they face difficulty in accessing the necessary technical assistance. PSWs reported the following problematic situations: severe trauma and mental health issues, in one particular health care case a woman’s genital parts were destroyed by a group of soldiers who raped her at aged nine; physical disabilities including single or double leg amputations; social cases; and land related conflicts.

Given CEDAC’s resources and specific mandate of providing psychosocial support, some of these cases need to be referred to other institutions or non-governmental organisations better equipped to provide the necessary services.  Bearing this in mind, CEDAC will establish strategic partnership with other entities to ensure that the needs of survivors who lay outside the project focus are been addressed.

The survivors have also demonstrated an interest to the PSW that CEDAC establish a project for income generating activities to form collectives and offer a more exhaustive reintegration programme. 


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