The Lisanga project is funded by PSO and is carried out together with the Municipalities, healthcenters and community organizations in the very poor, multi-ethnic and densily crowded Municipalities of Ndjili, Masina and Kimbanseke of Kinshasa.
Strengthening the social cohesion and the resilience of the community is necessary in order to be able to cope with the multiple psychosocial problems that are caused by poverty, economic breakdown, violence, displacement and bad governance. We try to achieve these objectives through participative ‘learning by doing’ and cooperation of public institutions and community-based civil society groups. This aim is expressed through the very common word ‘lisanga’, which means in Lingala language of Kinshasa 'the desire and capacity to cooperate and work on a common goal'.
The community and institutions in these areas of Kinshasa consider substance abuse by children and adolescents and connecting difficulties (health, security, education, livelihood) as a major social problem. This group of adolescents and their families generally suffer from multiple psychosocial problems, (mental) health difficulties and social exclusion. Instead of responding to these problems in an uncoordinated and (usually) ineffective manner, public and civil society structures develop community-based interventions. An integrated package of community-based support, health and social interventions by adolescent peers, community and primary health workers is organized and implemented.
With the support of peers and community-based ‘mentors’ the adolescents explore in short-term therapeutic groups their difficulties, the underlying problems and adapted solutions. The adolescents, their families and their surroundings have reported significant changes. Connections and mutual support are re-established and stigmatization and violence have decreased in the neighbourhoods concerned.
Through executing this project HealthNet TPO and APPS learn lessons on the processes and models of strengthening both the health system and community system. The project will be running till July 2012.