PEACE Centre

PEACE Centre

Namibia
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

 

The PEACE Centre developed and implements integrated, community-based, empowerment driven psychosocial interventions in the most marginal communities in Namibia. These interventions address violence as major cause of psychological trauma and engage communities in active violence prevention in the forestallment of trauma and group and individual support to trauma victims.

 

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Namibia’s liberation struggle, and the systemic structural violence inherent to South Africa’s occupation left Namibians in states of shock, anger, guilt and with a host of other unresolved psychological issues. Political independence did not automatically result in social harmony as it is based on the assumption that “freedom comes through the barrel of the gun”, underscoring societal norms that tolerate, even necessitate violence for the attainment of “social good”. Many psycho-social issues (psychological transformation, working through past traumatic experiences and enabling closure) remain unresolved and increasing poverty and issues associated with HIV and AIDS compound communities' inability to cope psychologically. Children especially bear the brunt of these problems.
About You
Organization:
PEACE Centre
Section 1: About You
First Name

Laura

Last Name

Sasman

Country
Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

PEACE Centre

Organization Phone

00264-61-371550

Organization Address

26 Rhino Street, Windhoek North, P.O.Box 50617, Bachbrech, Windhoek, Namibia

Organization Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Innovation
What makes your idea unique?

Instead of focussing on a "classical" clinical approach to mental health,PEACE Centre has developed a range of interventions that provides access to psycho-social service for the most marginalised and isolated groups in Namibia. PEACE Centre has been successful in creating synargies between community-based programmes aimed at capacity building of lay councellors and training programmes geared to professionals.
Community wellbeing is achieved by focussing on resources and strengthening resilience (as opposed to pathologising)in the process creating broad-based acceptance for psychological interventions and reduction of stigma attached to mental-health and psychological problems.
Much of PEACE's work in and with communities entails the forestallment of violence and its potential for trauma by engaging communty-members themselves in violence-free communication.The Centre's interventions aim to be holistic based on the recognition that there is a mutual interaction between enhancing psychological wellbeing and social and material development. By addressing mental wellbeing, beneficiaries are able to make effective use of opportunities to improve material wellbeing; Beneficiaries are integrated into networks with potential to affect social and economic wellbeing.By engaging private psychologists who provide pro bono services to PEACE clients, the Centre ensures high quality professional psychological services are available to financially poor communities and households, where the trauma-causing potential is high. This means that the impact of psychological interventions is enhanced.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
What impact have you had?

Participation in PEACE's programmes, allow beneficiaries to; articulate their past traumatic experiences, render them meaningful in new ways, and to envision a future for themselves and take steps towards that future.
Clients show improved interpersonal relationships,have a subjective sense of wellbeing, engage in self healing processes. They gain awareness of violence and non-violent alternatives. Impact is further demonstrated in positive changes in attitudes and behaviour concerning respect for self and caring for others.
Service providers have; greater awareness of the psychological and cultural dimension to conflict and peacemaking and deeper appreciation for how in different cultural contexts conflict is addressed and how to impart skills to beneficiaries that will ensure transforming paradigms. Also their skills are enhanced in using techniques to work with trauma victims and other persons needing psychosocial assistance.

Actions

For the past ten years, PEACE Centre offered free individual psychological counselling and psychotherapy to persons from marginalised communities. The Centre ran a children's trauma therapy centre (the latter closed in 2008 because of lack of funding) OVC care-giver support groups, Community-survivors supporters' training and supervision (as described in your idea. Since January 2009 we run the "We Are Together" project for ex-combatants, ex-detainees (who were tortured), and other traumatised individuals, which includes healing of memories work and alternatives to violence training. The Centre runs Alternative to violence training for interested community members.
In remote urban and rural areas PEACE conducts training of service providers in areas relating to trauma awareness and intervention strategies.

Results

During June 2008 - July 2009; 166 clients benefitted from services in over 500 individual counselling or psychotherapeutic sessions.
OVC care-giver support groups: 46 women participated as direct beneficiaries,168 Children - dependents of group members - benefited indirectly.
In the CSS project, Basic Alternatives to Violence Training held in Lüderitz, Keetmanshoop, Kamajab, Korixas, Rundu, Nkurenkuru and Divundu with 130 persons participating. Basic Counselling, legal knowledge and assertiveness training in the same localities for 73 participants. Of these 39 were working actively as volunteer community supports in their communities at the time of reporting. Community supporters reported 439 supported cases to PEACE Centre, of these 233 were referred to other service providers (including Women and Child Protection Units, the police and social workers, magistates, traditional leaders, as well as other NGOs) within their communities.
Twelve children benefitted from participating in activities of this centre.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

The project has been running since 1996. We are anticipating of becoming substantially involved in a national child-protection programme with other stake holders (Life line/Child Line and AIDS-Law Unit of the Legal Assistance Centre - both also non-profit organisations). This project as well as the Community-survivor supporters' training will run over the next years. The latter is funded by UNICEF.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

The biggest persistant problem in PEACE Centre is identifying and ensuring continued funding for our projects. Mainly since our client communities cannot pay for the services that the Centre offers. Funders generally provide money for projects, but not for salaries, and although staff-turnover is low, insecurity in this regard is high.

How many people will your project serve annually?

101‐1000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

In what country?
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

If yes, provide organization name.

Centre for the Victims of Torture (CVT) USA, Centre for the Study of Violence & Reconciliation

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

No

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Relationships with CVT, CSVR and Finnish Psychologists for ocial responsibility are critical in regard capacity building capacity of PEACE staff and in partner organisations in requisite skills as capacity in Namibia in these areas is limited and PEACE Centre, over the years has become the expert organisation in regard community interventions.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

1.) Secure long-term funding for projects and operations
2.) International (also intra-African) exchanges of experience and skills and networking in respect trauma and reconciliation work.
3.) Long-term personnel retention

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

In spite of enduring retoric about reconciliation here, unlike South Africa with its Truth and Reconciliation process, Namibia fails to engage in processes that would effect psychological healing and facilitate reconciliation. As a result, the country evidences unacceptably high levels of violence that, in the wake of HIV and AIDS seem to contribute to trauma-causing potential, particularly in poor communities, where typically there is high stigma attached to psychological and mental problems and where people cannot access services privately. It is in recognition of these phenomena that PEACE Centre continues to initiate and engage in activities in said communities.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

There was no one innovator behind the idea. The PEACE initiative was started by a group of peope who were ex-detainees • Ex-detainees (i.e. persons who were members of the Namibian liberation movement and were imprisoned, without trial, on suspicion of having been spies for the South African government; the majority of these people were tortured during their incarceration) and othe concerned members in the community. The intervention and ideas were subsequently refined by PEACE staff members who come from different areas of expertise, namely psychological, medical and social and political science professionals.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company