Seminar by Rozen:
‘Putting Psychosocial Interventions on the Map’
A seminar titled ‘Putting Psychosocial Interventions On The Map’ was held at Best Western Hotel on Tuesday by ROZEN, an Islamabad based non-government and non-profit organization working on issues of emotional, mental health and violence. The speakers at the Seminar here emphasized the need for improving psychosocial support service for disaster affected communities and urged for collaborative efforts so that all disaster preparedness programmes incorporate psychosocial support as a critical component.
The speakers of the seminar Wajhad Ali Farooqi, representative of Save the Children, Zahara Kamal(researcher) and Dr. Fareed Mehnas have looked in depth on the current challenges; gaps and lessons learnt from psychosocial work in Pakistan and shared recommendations in order to explore a way forward to address these gaps.
The study highlights the existing psychosocial issues of men, women, adolescents and children including stress and anxiety symptoms, grief over losses, need for privacy, frustration due to slow pace of rehabilitation, uncertainty about the future, etc and how these factors impact abilities of the communities to rebuild their lives after the devastating floods.
The speakers further said that the training need not be limited to organizational staff and volunteers and developing and including a ‘psychosocial support in disasters’ curriculum for social sciences would allow for all social sector professionals to gain at least a basic understanding of community support needs in such situations.
The study further pointed out that in Pakistan, disaster situations are exacerbated by the fact that regions most susceptible to the damage caused by natural and man-made disasters are typically also the most disadvantaged; rural areas in Sindh, Balochistan and KPK (formerly NWFP) are the poorest, remotest and least developed in the country. These regions are also the most traditional and conservative, with strong family structures, well-knit communities and strongly entrenched gender segregation, the ‘Pardah system’ and gender-based discrimination. Socio-economic development and support services are already severely limited.
The Government and NGOs must work collaboratively to develop strategies that seek to better understand, manage and access funds for psychosocial support work. One step in this direction may be to develop a ‘minimum psychosocial support standards guidelines’ included in the NDMA framework in order to assist aid organizations in incorporating basic psychosocial support as part of all post-disaster planning work.