Last month we announced the 7 projects Ember will be working with this year. But that wasn't the full story. At the time, 7 projects was all Ember had the resources to work with. Since then, there have been some very exciting developments.
We are so happy to announce that, with support from the Vitol Foundation, we are now able to partner with an additional 5 projects.
Given the strength of the 160 projects that applied to partner with Ember, we're thrilled to be able to work with more than originally intended. The final lineup of 12 innovations are incredibly diverse, in terms of geography, method and approach. We're looking forward to sharing more stories from these projects over the course of our work together.
In areas that have experienced communal violence, trauma is often passed down and conflict can become entrenched. Describing themselves as peace builders, Green String Network aim to break cycles of violence in post-conﬂict settings. Using a trauma-informed approach and creative, participatory methodologies, GSN run workshops that help participants develop strategies for dealing with the long-term psychological impacts of conﬂict. They train community facilitators to run these workshops for various stakeholder groups, including police, government officials and community leaders. The project has already spread across three countries.
Financial dependence is one of the major issues that prevents women leaving violent partners. Punto de Encuentro supports victims of gender-based violence to improve their mental health and become ﬁnancially independent, premised on the idea that the ﬁrst step to empowering women in this situation is enabling them to find a source of income. Working with vulnerable women, PdE offers therapy sessions and skills-based workshops to support women in developing professional skills, while also providing meals and childcare.
An estimated 50% of the Afghan population have mental health issues. The approach taken to dealing with these issues is predominantly a biomedical one, with less emphasis on psychosocial approaches. CBMHP is a large-scale community mental health system that does both: it designs and runs psychosocial programmes, conducting community outreach, support, training and awareness raising, and has a strong referral system in place, so that people who need medical attention receive it. It has strong support from the Afghan government. So far, the programme has reached 50,000 people in just two years.
CMC-Nepal is a community mental health project that works in collaboration with government, NGOs and community-based organisations to train and supervise health and lay workers in providing psychosocial support. Their programmes are designed to intersect with other issues that can make people vulnerable to poor mental health, such as migration, gender-based violence and bonded labour. Implemented across more than 20 districts, CMC-Nepal is integrated into municipal structures and leverages strong relationships with local government.
The state of Uttarakhand has just seven government psychiatrists for a population of over 10 million people. Burans is focused on addressing this massive care gap. The project trains primary healthcare workers, conducts home visits and treatment plans, runs activities for community sensitisation and facilitates peer-to-peer support networks.
The second edition of Ember Innovators' Huddle featured a virtual garden tour. Read on to know more details.
The COVID-19 pandemic further revealed the vulnerabilities of the LGBTQ+ communities and their mental health needs in Botswana. Here's how Open Hands evolved ways to provide them with continued support.
So much of the power of community-based mental health initiatives lies in their teams. For World Mental Health Day, we wanted to celebrate these people. This beautiful series was created by London-based photographer Sadé Elufowoju and South Africa-based, aspiring psychologist Kelebogile Motlopye.