In our work in Northern Uganda, vivo recorded alarmingly high rates of acts of gender-based violence: More than 80% of the female clients who had received trauma-focused treatments through vivo reported at least one sexual assault during their lifetime. Some of these traumatic sexual experiences took place during the war, but even in the post-conflict society sexual assaults towards women and children are on the rise. To provide psychotherapeutic support to survivors of gender-based violence, vivo was funded by the UN (namely the UN Peace Building Fund via UNFPA) in the framework of the project “Strengthening the Multisectoral Approach to Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response” from April 2011 until June 2012. In the course of this project, vivo offered a wide range of psychological support for traumatised children and women, which included psychodiagnostic assessments, trauma-focused therapy, solution-focused and resource-oriented counselling, family mediation and follow-up visits.
Capacity building activities were another central part of the project. vivo disseminated knowledge about psychological reactions in the aftermath of traumatic experiences to staff members of partner organisations.
Teaching on how to deal with acute trauma survivors in an age-appropriate and gender-sensitive empathic way was a central element of these trainings. Furthermore, vivo provided trainings on stress-management to staff members of partner organisations in order to support them in coping with the psychological stress associated with working in the field of gender-based violence.
In the framework of this project, vivo has supported a total of 87 clients of whom 28 received Narrative Exposure Therapy. Follow-up assessments showed significant reductions of trauma-related mental health symptoms. Moreover, 18 trainings and supervisions were offered to a total of 16 organisations and 131 participants working in the field of gender-based violence (social, medical and legal service providers).