Helping war-ravaged Agago, Uganda rebuild itself
Trained community members provide support for vulnerable survivors of the 22-year war in northern Uganda, through counselling/medicine for mental illness, HIV counselling and agricultural training. Building the community’s ability to cope leads to economic productivity and sustainable development.
Network for Africa
The war that ravaged northern Uganda left Agago’s community traumatised. Thousands were killed, children were forced to become soldiers and alcoholism and rape were widespread. Northern Uganda now has one of the highest rates of mental illness globally, including depression, PTSD, anxiety, schizophrenia and epilepsy. Many people don't understand the causes of mental illness and so don't seek medical help. Even when they do, health workers rarely have the specialist skills or resources to help.
We’ve trained community members to counsel people with mental illness/epilepsy, as well as people with HIV, and offer practical support. They work with the psychiatric nurse at the local health centre and raise awareness so people understand the causes of mental illness and how to seek help. They follow up with clients and their families, which is crucial to sustained, good mental health. When people are ready, we provide agricultural inputs and training to help them become productive again.
Increase the number of people receiving treatment and support for mental illness or epilepsy.
Activities» Counsel and support people with mental illness or epilepsy (including referral to psychiatric nurse as appropriate).
» Counsel families/caregivers of people with mental illness or epilepsy to support their relative’s mental health.
» Facilitate regular mobile mental health clinics in remote areas with the only psychiatric nurse in Agago District.
Success will be 350 people over one year seeking treatment for mental illness or epilepsy at the health centre and from counsellors and receiving follow-up support.
Reduce stigma of mental illness and epilepsy by educating the community about mental health.
Activities» Host community awareness-raising sessions in villages in Agago about mental illness and epilepsy.
» Broadcast radio programmes about mental illness and epilepsy across Agago District to reach people in remote areas.
Success will be 900 people over 1 year attending community education sessions about mental illness and epilepsy and 100 family members/caregivers supporting mentally ill relatives.
Support people who are living with HIV to live healthy, productive lives.
Activities» Offer HIV counselling at the local health centre for people before and after they are tested and provide follow-up care for people with HIV.
» Provide health talks at the local health centre about living with HIV, caring for people who are HIV+ and how to prevent the spread of HIV.
Success will be 400 people choosing to be tested for HIV and 250 HIV positive people supported with counselling over 1 year
Reduce poverty in Patongo through support of small-scale agricultural activities.
Activities» Provide training for community members to set up and run small-scale agricultural cooperatives.
Success will be community members earning an income from their agricultural activities.
Mental illness, and stigma surrounding it, can affect a person's ability to work and take part in the community. Through counselling and support for small-scale agriculture, we will help people become and stay healthy and earn sustainable incomes. Helping people with HIV will ensure they live healthier, longer lives. We will show success with surveys monitoring beneficiaries' income, health and wellbeing, as well as monitoring how many people get help from our counsellors and the health centre.
High demand for our counsellors’ skills risks burnout; we will mitigate this by ensuring they have adequate time off, support and supervision. There is a risk that people who receive medication for their mental illness will not take their medication; we will mitigate this by working with the patient’s family and doing intensive follow-up. There is a risk the health centres will run out of medicine; we will mitigate this by working with the Ministry of Health to ensure supply meets the demand.
We will provide regular narrative reports to our donors through our website, email newsletters and social media. Updates will include information about on-going and upcoming activities.
Budget - Project Cost: £36,259Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £15,154 counsellors' salaries salaries for local counsellors who provide counselling and do community education £5,034 staff salaries salaries for local partners in Uganda who deliver the project £5,128 training training for counsellors and local health workers in mental health protocols £2,938 advocacy community outreach and education materials and travel costs £4,000 monitoring and evaluation cost of monitoring the project's activities and achievements £4,005 running costs office and communication costs for our partner in Uganda
Agago District is in rural northern Uganda, which was an area of brutal conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan Army that lasted 22 years. Everyone was forced to move into internal displacement camps during the war. No longer able to farm (the primary economic activity) because it was too dangerous to leave the camp, Agago suffered chronic economic and social problems that it struggles to overcome. We have been working there for 8 years.
All project beneficiaries have been affected by the war in northern Uganda. In 2010 we conducted a survey of our beneficiaries' experiences since 2004: of men, 97% had been forced to hide from rebels; 85% witnessed killing; 78% were tortured; 35% aged 45 or younger had been forced to kill. Of women, 94% have been forced to hide; 65% witnessed killing; 65% were tortured. War destroyed the area’s infrastructure & traditional farming practices, leaving little with which to rebuild the community.
We have been supporting survivors of conflict since 2007, when we started working with survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Demand for our services in Agago is increasing, and we are virtually the only NGO placed to offer psychosocial support and income generation in the area. We have been working with our partner, PCCO, for 8 years, strengthening the capacity of community members to rebuild their lives using a range of post-conflict interventions, to bring about long-term sustainability.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Florence Adong, PCCO Director
Florence is in charge of managing the entire project in Agago.
William Ojok, Head Of PCCO Counselling
William manages the counselling department, supervises the counsellors, oversees health centre partnerships, and coordinates M&E.
Sophie McCann, Executive Director At Network For Africa
Sophie oversees Network for Africa's international projects and provides support to our overseas partners.
I felt hopeless. The counsellors taught me to go to a safe place in my mind when I have flashbacks. I can sleep now & am able to go to school.