sadc news

Sept. 2, 2021


3 min read

Regional body launches psychosocial support forum

Regional body launches psychosocial support forum

Story highlights

  • Mobilises communities to provide psychosocial support
  • Furum marks long standing tradition with govt and partners

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THE Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) on Wednesday launched the Psychosocial Support Forum (PSS) to be hosted in Mozambique from October 13 - 15.

The Forum, which is under the theme, 'Innovative, Integrate, Thrive' will be in hybrid format combining physical and virtual interactions among 13 countries from East and Southern Africa bringing together 300 delegates drawn from various sectors and disciplines.
In his remarks, REPSSI Regional Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Patrick Onyango Mangen said that the forum comes at a time when the whole continent is engulfed in the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that they have seen a lot of suffering from the lockdown.

Families, he said have lost loved ones while children have dropped out of school with more families struggling with their daily needs.
“As a result of the pandemic, the need for mental health and psychosocial care has been greater until now. I think it is much emphasised that families need much PSS and yet people who deter PSS are quite far,” he said.
He said REPSSI has been mobilising communities over the past 20 years to provide PSS at community and family levels as well as working with national governments and supporting governments to plan around responsive policies and strategies that ensure that populations benefit from PSS.
“Children and youth are particularly affected by the lockdown situations and we are worried that as long as children to stay out of school, high risk behaviour is going to emerge, unwanted pregnancies and early sexual debut. These are some of the problems we are going to begin dealing with,” he noted.
For her part, REPSSI Lesotho Country Director, Phomolo Mohapeloa said the forum would also see satellite forums being held in various countries.
She said the launch today marks once again the beginning of a long standing tradition for REPSSI, government and its partners.

The tradition is to hold the forum once in every two years and this is the sixth edition of the event, although satellite forums will be held in different countries.
“We have been forced to sharpen our brains so that we can be able to innovate and find ways of working with children and continuing to work with families and communities, continuing to protect children even in difficult circumstances,” Ms Mohapeloa said.

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The forum, she said is happening at a time when there is a surge in cases of violence against children, women and increased child marriages, adding that the abuse has been exacerbated by the fact that children were spending time indoors with abusers.

She said the forum will interrogate harmful practices as well as find lasting solutions to curb the increasing practices.
REPSSI provides technical assistance for Psychosocial care and support in 13 countries in the East and Southern African region being Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It was established in 2002 with objective to help address the social and emotional impact of poverty, conflicts and HIV/AIDS among children and the youth as well as to ensure that all children have access to stable care and protection through quality PSS. It is funded by Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and Norvatis Foundation for Sustainable Development (NFSD). LeNA

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