Technical advice to governments, and regional organisations
REPSSI is a technical partner for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and provides technical assistance to governments and relevant Ministries within East and Southern Africa. We help develop policies and frameworks, and provide guidance to support implementation of psychosocial support into sector interventions.
In each newsletter, we profile a government department who has partnered with REPSSI, and learn what their department has gained from the engagement. Below is the most recent profile, from Malawi.
Interview with Willard Manjolo, Government of Malawi
In 2001, a study in Malawi found that “while children were being given material support, their emotional and psychological needs were being neglected.” The government responded with a national plan of action for orphans and other vulnerable children, which included psychosocial support as one of the main interventions.
“We started consultations with REPSSI,” Willard Manjolo, Acting Director of Social Welfare Services for the Government of Malawi explains. REPSSI assisted by providing guidance in developing policy, and training a pool of psychosocial support experts, known as Master Trainers. The government is now adapting REPSSI training manuals to local conditions.
“Since we started providing psychosocial support to orphans and vulnerable children, there’s been tremendous change in positive thinking, both for the children themselves, as well as the caregivers. Because we are dealing with a situation of despair … What [psychosocial support] does, basically, is to restore confidence and hope for the future. You are actually dialoguing with children, caregivers, communities, to realise that when you experience problems, it’s not the end of everything.”
“Instead of children wandering about, instead of caregivers not paying attention, that has changed, children realised the need to go to school, caregivers are providing that support and communities are coming together to support those children that experience, emotional and psychological problems.”
“I think this is a tremendous achievement because children now have a future, they see a future, with hope. I think that’s a major benefit we are seeing in Malawi.”
REPSSI partners with governments in 13 countries across East and Southern Africa. We have been working with the Southern African Development Community to develop a Minimum Package of Services for OVC&Y and a Psychosocial Support Conceptual Framework. These documents are being finalised and translated, and will be available soon similar to playing online pokies games in online pokies websites for free.