LIRA - NORTHERN UGANDA

Since January 2011, Centre for Children in Vulnerable Situations (CCVS)-Uganda has been promoting the psychological well-being of children, youth, their families and communities living in vulnerable situations in post-war Northern Uganda and, more specifically, in Lira district.
The effects of the +20 years civil war in Northern Uganda on individuals, families and communities are still continuing. These effects become evident in the number of physically and mentally wounded people in Northern Uganda, who were victims of indiscriminate attacks against civilians. These serious facts and resulting harm impact till date involved individuals, households and communities. Additionally, the breakdown of communities and social networks by displacement and the high poverty rate in Northern Uganda cause increased psychological stress in individuals, families and communities, resulting in high prevalence of all kinds of mental health problems, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and family breakdowns. Despite these high rates of psychological stress and mental health problems, there is a serious lack of psychological treatment, amongst other reasons, because of a lack of qualified counsellors and psychotherapists to support individuals, families and communities to deal with these challenges.
This project aims at further increasing the local capacity in Northern Uganda of mental health workers and mental health services on the longer term. Hereby, both in the shorter and longer term, the psychological wellbeing of children and their contexts will be improved, both directly and indirectly: directly through alleviating mental health problems in clients (with increased capacities of governmental and non-governmental organisations), but also indirectly through addressing the strengths in social networks and communities to support particular individuals stronger, which then will significantly strengthen the social fabric in Northern Ugandan communities.

Currently, CCVS-Uganda has been extending its services to different communities, schools, Health Centres, the mental health unit of Lira Regional Referral Hospital and Lira Main Prisons. Divergent working methods are used such as mental health sensitisation, individual counselling, group/couple/family counselling, support groups, community dialogues, play therapy. Also, CCVS-Uganda is involved in research and training (e.g. community contact persons, teachers, social workers from other organisations in the psychosocial field) and cooperates on the radio programme "Healing Our Wounds" (Radio Wa).

The driven CCVS-Uganda team consists of 11 members: Vincent Alele (Programme officer), Ponsiano Okalo (Clinical director), Jennifer Atenga and Denis Eyalu (Senior mental health counsellors), Rebecca Rachel Akadu, Harriet Awor, Sheila Ochan Apio and Lawrence Ogwal (Junior mental health counsellors),
Evelyn Acoko (Office attendant), and
Nicolas Ocen and Denis Okullu (Guards).

Supporting their activities:
Leen De Nutte (Executive Director),
Kizito Wamale (Clinical supervisor),
John Galabuzi (Accountant),
Lieve Milissen and Kurt Lievens (Board members),
Ilse Derluyn (Co-director CCVS) and
CCVS vzw (Parent organisation).

CCVS-Uganda is taking on national and international interns. For more information, please refer to the document attached.

For more information, please contact us via lira@centreforchildren.be