Congo | "We share their trauma"

MSF’s mental health work in Mweso began in 2009, helping local communities and people displaced by conflict.

The North Kivu region of Congo that borders Rwanda and Uganda, and home to Virunga National Park, has been in a state of constant unrest since the Great Lakes Crisis that began after the Rwandan genocide in the mid-1990s.

The second largest country on the African continent by area, Democratic Republic of Congo is a fragile and conflict-affected state and receives more aid from MSF than any other country in which we operate.

The MSF team of psycho-social counsellors is drawn from the communities surrounding Mweso. They connect with their clients using empathy, by creating a safe and secure environment where they are able to work through the traumas they have lived.

Coming from the same communities as their clients, the Mweso team understand all too well the social taboos around mental health, as well as the traumatic events people are subjected to on an almost daily basis.

Conflict, armed robberies, and sexual and domestic violence are just some of issues people face in North Kivu.

Theatre is one of the many interventions the team provides. Along with psycho-educational activities such as this, Mweso’s mental health team also provide therapeutic counselling for trauma related issues - such as sexual violence, psychological first-aid, psycho-social stimulation for nutrition, individual counselling and support groups for people living with conditions such as HIV, TB and diabetes, as well as referrals for psychiatric care.

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