New Project: SOSAME: Improving mental health and psychosocial support services of medical staff in South Kivu working with women, girls, boys and men affected by SGBV


Maastricht School of Management (MSM) in consortium with Living Peace Institute (LPI) will start a new Nuffic Tailor-Made-Training Plus project with Centre Psychiatrique SOSAME in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

SOSAME (Soins de Santé Mentale) is one of the psychiatric facilities in South Kivu province, a region marked by many violent conflicts over the last 2 decades. There is high prevalence of mental health problems among the population because of extreme poverty and other hardship.

In this project, SOSAME and 21 affiliated health centres will be supported to improve their sexual and reproductive health and mental health services. The training takes a gender transformative approach to train medical and paramedical staff on issues related to sexuality and to sexual abuse of women and men with a focus on mental health and psychosocial support. The TMT+ will contribute to more sexual and reproductive rights and better sexual and mental health services to communities in South-Kivu who are currently denied from that.

Training for staff in health centres on MHPSS and SRHR to really serve the community
Many people living in communities in the province of South-Kivu develop severe trauma related symptoms that are not well addressed due to lack of knowledge and skills at community health centre level. Since sexuality is often a taboo even for health care providers, the provision of mental health care and psychosocial support for problems related to sexuality, and abuse of women and men, is limited. Patients receive medication, get gender unfriendly advices, and causes of the symptoms are neglected. Severe cases arrive too late and are only treated with medication to reduce symptoms. Moreover, many people never come to hospitals. They seek care of traditional healers and many patients with severe symptoms (including survivors of sexual and gender based violence) are hidden by the family out of shame and due to social taboos.

Through this TMT+ problems related to mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are addressed in training sessions provided to doctors, nurses and community workers working at SOSAME and at 21 affiliated health centres. Subjects that are part of the training are:

  • SRHR with a focus on sexuality and sexual abuse, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) related trauma including MHPSS solutions.
  • Psycho-development / sexual development
  • Symptoms of abuse (including domestic violence and conflict related rape).

MSM will collaborate with LPI in one consortium where MSM will provide project & training management, and formative research input, and LPI will focus on coordinating and providing the training. In order to serve the needs of Centre Psychiatrique SOSAME a curriculum will be designed and developed to first train trainers that will subsequently train doctors, nurses and community workers in the health centres. Earlier curricula developed by LPI and MSM will serve as the basis of the new curriculum, offering several modules that can be reused.

Further, alongside the development and implementation of the training described above, the consortium partners will make a first step towards a more sustainable MHPSS infrastructure in South-Kivu. By doing formative research, not only the training gaps of staff and their organisations will become clear, but this will also shed more light on the challenges that the organisations are facing in their context. Lastly, a Technical Advisory Group on MHPSS will be installed and a strategic plan will be drafted to embed the trainings for sustainability purposes.

MSM and LPI look forward to working with SOSAME to, through this project, make another contribution to better MHPSS services for those affected by SGBV in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This project will be managed by Astrid ter Wiel, Associate Consultant at MSM’s Expert Centre on Emerging Economies. The project will run from July 2023 until August 2024.

Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies

This institutional collaboration project is part of MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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