Our goal, in collaboration with our local partner organization, “Psychologues sans Frontières Burundi”, is to establish a center of Psychotraumatology in the East African city of Bujumbura, Burundi. The poverty-stricken people of this region have endured many years of civil war, and continue to experience political violence. We aim to provide these people with psychotherapeutic support. Additionally, we aim to establish and disseminate evidence-based psychotherapeutic interventions in Burundi. The immediate and pressing goal of this crowdfunding proposal is to provide our local skilled counselors the necessary facilities to develop the center over the course of the coming year. In other words, this means raising funds to cover the cost of renting facilities, ongoing operational costs, and public outreach and awareness.
Burundi is a war-torn land. An ethnic civil war ended only in 2005. The consequences of this war profoundly affected the psychological well-being of the population. Many former combatants and civilians alike suffer the long-term burden of psychological trauma. Their ability to work productively, and look after their families is severely compromised. Over the last year, political violence has increased due to conflicts regarding the presidential elections and may get worse. As a result, many Burundians have fled the country. The political unrest and general insecurity has a direct impact on the mental health of Burundi’s citizens, with many who were traumatized by the war experiencing intensified symptoms. Our ambition in establishing this center is to provide severely affected and underprivileged individuals, e.g., street children or survivors of the violent conflicts, with access to psychological treatment.
We have been continually active in Burundi since 2010. We have assisted former street children in the reintegration process (http://www.vivo.org/street-children-burundi/#more-390) and provided survivors of a flood disaster with psychological support (http://www.vivo.org/flood-burundi/). Furthermore, we carried out projects with survivors of political violence, ex-combatants, and soldiers. Currently we are preparing a new project with street children.
All of our projects focus upon treatment of psychological trauma and prevention of violence. Our most important intervention is the Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET). NET is an empirically verified psychological intervention, and has been validated in many different cultural contexts including Burundi. Patients demonstrate a meaningful reduction of trauma symptoms. This has been shown to bring about an improvement in quality of life, with a greater ability to work and maintain relationships.Our local counselors are well-trained in this method and have accumulated extensive experience in its application. All of our projects are scientifically evaluated. Aiming to continue in providing the highest quality of care further scientific evaluation is intended.