During the Ebola epidemic, Second Chance Africa shut its doors and entered a new phase of development. We have been working to begin new projects to better address the needs of the demographics we serve.
Sumo Kupe, our National Director in Monrovia, introduced a proposal for a rural farming initiative. We are also partnering with Code Innovation LLC to build a community mental health app to radically improve trauma services in communities affected by war, disaster, and the recent ebola outbreak in West Africa.
We look forward to sharing details about both projects with all of our supporters.
Between 2015-2017, Second Chance Africa founder Jana Pinto will be conducting large a study to evaluate cognitive, autonomic and electrophysiological brain responses to a pilot trauma treatment experiment for multi-cultural war-affected populations, including a Liberian cohort. The experiment is being conducted at the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Sydney Medical School within the University of Sydney, and it will have a field phase testing in Monrovia.
We hope the results will assist us in decision making while implementing and improving each treatment method and exercise utilised by Second Chance. One of our missions is to share our data in the future in order to spread awareness among professionals and guide intervention.
Post-traumatic symptoms among Liberians in Exile vs. Liberians who remained in the country during the war.
Psychological Survey of Former Child Soldiers in Liberia.
Our projects and clinical methodology are developed based on academic research, and dedicated study of the most effective interventions in the field. Supervised by experienced professionals, our Liberian field staff continues to study theories applied in daily work, and report the cultural challenges they face. Here’s some of the literature we study and apply:
At Second Chance Africa, we subscribe to Judith Herman’s three stage trauma therapy model of trauma treatment, although at SCA the stabilization and reconnecting phases of treatment are often integrated in the context of our group sessions and workshops. Because our staff has a unique combination of relevant life experience and clinical training, our participants are able to find meaning as well as learn affect management skills and stability in the context of our therapeutic community. As we do not have licensed clinicians on our staff, rather than focusing on exposure to or processing of traumatic events, we work to create a safe and inviting therapeutic space and to hone skills of stabilization and provide psycho-education around traumatic stress and its complicated presentations.
The treatment model at SCA is designed foremost to give participants a sense of purpose and to build on their resilience. We are committed to a sustainable model of treatment where the program staff are members of the communities served. Our connective and compassionate staff of former refugees and former child soldiers strives to empower individuals who recognize themselves in the staff they meet at SCA. We hope one day soon that our staff will have the opportunity to pursue higher education and be able to include themselves among the world’s most highly skilled trauma clinicians. Their passion, dedication, skills and experience make SCA the safe, supportive and effective therapeutic community it is.
Second Chance worked in partnership with the Jayme’s Fund for Social Justice and with Ministry of Justice and Health in the Government of Liberia as an active member of the Mental Health Advocacy Committee of the Mental Health Division of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. We are now partnering with CODE INNOVATION LLC. to launch our App project in 2015.