The red threat of this new issue of Intervention is ‘empowerment’ in the broadest sense of the word. One article, written by our colleague Bibiane van Mierlo, describes our programme to reduce domestic violence and reinforce women’s agency within Afghanistan’s daily challenges. The programme is being implemented according to a ‘community systems strengthening’ framework.
“In Afghanistan, a burden of poor mental health exists within the contexts of ongoing poverty, social inequality, and persistent violence. Although women in Afghanistan share the same problems as most women in developing countries, many elements of the inequalities that Afghan women experience are extreme, and the context in which these women live is exceptional. Addressing these contextual factors, in order to discover culturally acceptable and feasible solutions to these problems, poses major challenges and asks for a multi-sectoral approach. In 2002 HealthNet TPO began to implement mental health activities in the Nangarhar province. An important objective of the programme’s activities has been the development of community based, psychosocial interventions to enhance the population’s capacity to deal with the consequences of mental distress. During the programme implementation in Afghanistan, it became evident that, in order to reduce mental distress, the social determinants of (mental) health rewuired more attention. This paper describes how a specific programme to reduce domestic violence, and to reinforce women’s agency within the context of the present day challenges, is being implemented according to a community systems strengthening framework that has been adopted for this purpose and context.”
This article explains how HealthNet TPO uses community systems strengthening as an approach to improve people’s health in the broadest sense.
Another article of special interest is the description of a pilot programme in Sierra Leone, where former child soldiers were trained in photography in order to document their lives and with that to give them a voice. The method used in the project was ‘Photovoice’ . The article contains photos in colour, which is a novum for Intervention Journal. The authors are honest about how much the project itself did change the life situation of these former child soldiers. However, if using the method within an integrated community development programme it can foster self-help and autonomy to disempowered youth.
Another article that is worth highlighting is the personal reflection of an Eritrean woman who became a refugee psychosocial worker in Egypt. A story about how for someone, being under a lot of pressure of being a refugee herself, involvement in psychosocial work can be a transformative experience.
Please see http://journals.lww.com/interventionjnl/pages/currenttoc.aspx for all articles.