fbpx

Dealing with the trauma of displacement in The Gambia

Dealing with the trauma of displacement in The Gambia

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email
Print

NEW YORK, USA, 5 September 2022 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/-Thousands of Senegalese have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in The Gambia, after clashes broke out earlier this year, in parts of Senegal occupied by separatists. The UN is providing psychological support for many of those displaced, who are coping with the fact that a return home is an uncertain prospect.

When conflict broke out in Kaddy’s Senegalese village in early April, she was forced to leave her belongings behind to save her family. “We lost everything. When we left, we could not take anything with us. Our animals, our food; everything was destroyed in the fighting.”

Together with her husband and seven children, Kaddy fled north to The Gambia, eventually finding her way to a small village in Janack district, in an area popularly known as ‘Foni’.

Having left with nothing, Kaddy and her family had to rely on the hospitality of the local community for food and shelter. “We feel like a burden to the other communities helping us,” Kaddy laments. “We feel ashamed to be ‘taken care of’, but we have no choice.”

Kaddy is among thousands of Senegalese forced to flee to The Gambia, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Agency, after fighting broke out along the Gambian-Senegalese border, in territory occupied by the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC).

An additional 6,200 Gambians have been internally displaced, with another 8,500 affected in host communities – according to The Gambia’s National Disaster Management Agency – by the conflict, which dates back four decades.

Raising awareness of post-traumatic stress

Recognizing the significant impact of the conflict on the well-being of displaced persons, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) mobilized its expertise in providing mental health and psychosocial support. In collaboration with the Supportive Activists Foundation, IOM deployed a mobile psychosocial team – consisting of a psychologist, two social workers, an educator, and a community mobilizer – to provide direct services to the affected populations.

One key approach being employed by the mobile team is psychoeducation, where volunteers meet with and engage communities to discuss mental health issues and possible signs and symptoms of stress. “The purpose is to raise awareness about the experiences of individuals who have gone through post-traumatic stress or have been negatively affected due to the change of environment brought by the crisis,” said Solomon Correa, Supportive Activists Foundation Managing Director.

These sessions, conducted in groups, leverage traditional sociocultural activities, such as regular attaya (tea) sessions, to facilitate discussions.

“We are able to teach them coping mechanisms during the discussions,” says Amie, a volunteer psychologist. “After we orient them on the possible signs and symptoms of mental health problems, they are often very interested to talk with us in private.”

Through the psychoeducation sessions, the mobile team is able to identify people with specific mental health needs that require further attention and conduct follow-up visits or referrals, as needed.

‘This is one of the things helping me the most in my daily life’

Fatou is one of many who have benefited from dedicated, one-on-one counselling sessions.

A Gambian previously living in Casamance with her Senegalese husband, her whole family fled when the conflict broke out. Fatou left her home abruptly and had no time to gather any belongings, as she was preoccupied with safely evacuating her 10 children, one of whom is physically disabled. For over two months, she has been living in her uncle’s compound in Janack.

Fatou has resorted to small, day-to-day jobs, including offering labour on farms during harvesting to sell the produce on behalf of the farmers to make ends meet. However, the stress of providing for her family in a new environment, along with painful memories resurfaced from the shootings she witnessed, has had a negative impact on her mental well-being.

“To date, this is one of the things helping me the most in my daily life,” Fatou says of the psychosocial support she has received. “I am really happy to talk to them [the mobile team] and share my feelings and problems without hesitation.” Fatou’s sessions with the mobile team have helped give her a sense of mutual solidarity with others who have been displaced: “It helps me to know we are not alone in this.”

No end in sight

Months after the outbreak of conflict, there seems to be no end in sight. “We are not sure whether it is okay for us to go back or not. Right now, we have no clue,” Fatou remarks.

The psychosocial support is helping the most affected cope with the drastic changes in their lives and pick up the pieces left behind. As Kaddy shares, “Just being able to talk to someone alone about our problems in this crisis really encourages us. It helps us to feel a little more comfortable even though there is no certainty about the future.”

“Since participating in these sessions, I have been less worried,” agrees Fatou.

In a world where mental health is often put in the back seat, the work of the six-person mobile psychosocial team demonstrates the benefits of prioritizing mental health needs.

Distributed by African Media Agency on behalf of Un News.

You might also enjoy

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Conférence de Presse en Ligne


Les frontières terrestres ne doivent pas constituer des obstacles à la dissémination de votre message. Grâce à notre service de conférence de presse en ligne, nous vous offrons l’opportunité de vous rapprocher des médias africains, chaque fois que vous en aurez besoin.

Nos services comprennent:

Digital Communications


Today, social networks constitute an organization’s first point of contact with a user and a potential customer. At first glance, you need to convince of the relevance and quality of your content to stimulate and motivate the user to go further. We create consistently inspiring online strategy to meet business objectives, engage stakeholders and enhance our client brand’s reputation internally and externally.

 

Communication​ digitale


Les réseaux sociaux représentent aujourd’hui le premier point de contact d’une organisation avec un utilisateur et un client potentiel. Au premier coup d’œil, vous devez le convaincre de la pertinence et de la qualité de votre contenu pour l’inciter à aller plus loin. Nous créons pour vous une stratégie de communication précise et adaptée sur les réseaux sociaux pour atteindre les objectifs commerciaux, impliquer les parties prenantes et améliorer la réputation de votre marque en interne et en externe.

Promotion​ d’événements


Le succès d’un événement réside en moitié dans sa promotion. Peu importe la beauté de l’événement, la qualité des orateurs et de l’ordre du jour, si personne ne rapporte ou ne parle de votre événement, vos efforts seront vains. Nous vous aidons à façonner votre récit et à créer un engouement autour de votre événement. De l’annonce de l’événement à la tenue de celui-ci, nous accompagnons votre effort de planification et le reflétons sur toutes les plateformes médiatiques.​

Formation​ Médiatique


Nous fournissons à vos porte-paroles les outils nécessaires pour présenter vos principaux messages et répondre avec confiance et cohérence aux questions. Notre formation est organisée soit à distance ou en présentiel, avec des études de cas réels et des répétitions. Nos clients repartent avec le sentiment d’être à l’aise devant les journalistes et d’agir en tant qu’ambassadeurs de la marque.

Veille​ Médiatique


Nous mesurons votre portée en relations publiques et rendons compte des informations de votre industrie et des activités de vos  concurrents en surveillant la majorité des canaux de diffusion dans toute l’Afrique. Une veille médiatique complète et opportune est essentielle pour s’assurer que vous ne manquez aucune référence à votre marque, que vous êtes constamment informé de ce qui se passe dans votre industrie et que vous êtes prêt à saisir les opportunités et à réduire les risques en temps opportun.

Relations​ Média


Peu importe le lieu où ils se trouvent, nous sommes une source d‘informations fiables pour les journalistes qui écrivent sur l’Afrique. Nous nous connaissons mutuellement et ils nous font confiance, car nous leur fournissons un contenu crédible qui les aide dans leurs tâches. Nous nous entretenons quotidiennement avec des journalistes aux quatre coins du continent, ce qui fait de nous l’un des organismes les plus efficaces pour mener des campagnes de relations avec les médias.

Stratégie et développement de contenu


Nous créons des stratégies de communication intelligentes, bien documentées et spécialisées destinées à vous aider à construire un récit fort qui engagera votre audience. Nous travaillons en synergie avec vous afin de rédiger des communiqués de presse et des articles d’opinions qui alimentent le récit de votre entreprise. Notre équipe a une expérience approfondie dans la création de récits et le développement de contenu multimédia.

DIFFUSION DE COMMUNIQUES​ DE PRESSE​


C’est le service phare d’AMA. Nous avons mis en place des canaux de diffusion des communiqués de presse auprès des journalistes des 54 États africains ainsi qu’auprès des journalistes américains et européens couvrant les sujets relatifs aux marchés émergents.​

​Nos services comprennent:​

Event Promotion


Half of the success of an event lays in its promotion. Doesn’t matter how beautiful the event is, how wonderful the speakers and the agenda are, if no one reports or talks about your event, your efforts are gone. We help you shape the narrative and create a drumbeat around your event. From the announce all the way to the outcome of the event, we accompany your planning effort and echo it through all media platforms

Media Training


We provide your spokespeople with the tools to present your key messages and answer questions with confidence and coherence. Our training is organised either remotely or face-to- face, with real case studies and rehearsals. Our clients leave feeling comfortable being in front of reporters and acting as brand ambassadors.

Media Monitoring


We measure and report on
your PR reach, industry news, and competitive activity by monitoring most channels in North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Comprehensive and timely media monitoring is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss any reporting of your brand,
you’re constantly informed on what’s going on around your business, and you’re ready to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate
risks in a timely fashion..

Media Relations


We have become an authoritative source of news for reporters writing about Africa, wherever they are. We know them, they know us, and they trust us for providing them with timely and accurate content that helps them do their job. We speak to reporters on a daily basis in all corners of the continent and this makes us one of the most effective agencies in running media relations campaigns.

Strategy & Content Development


We create smart and localised communications strategies to help build a strong narrative that will engage your audiences. We partner with you to create press releases and thought leadership pieces that sustain a drumbeat for your company’s narrative. Our team have deep experience in shaping narratives and developing media content.

PRESS RELEASE WIRE DISTRIBUTION

This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to Africa.com

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available