259643 Psychosocial Counselors: A community response to gender-based violence in Ethiopia

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Mary Fabri, PsyD , Independent Consultant, Chicago, IL
Tegest Enyew Tesfaw, LLB , Bright Image for Generation Association (BIGA), Hawassa, Ethiopia
Gender-based violence in Ethiopia includes rape, domestic violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), sexual harassment, and early marriage by abduction. These acts are viewed as cultural practices that are acceptable, rather than as human rights violations. In 2005, the World Health Organization published the results of a multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence. Seventy-one percent of women living in rural Ethiopia reported having had the experience of physical or sexual violence or both in their lifetime. Help seeking patterns were not common with 39% reporting they never talked to anyone about the violence. Heartland Alliance International Programs, a Chicago-based organization, partnered with Bright Image for Generation Association (BIGA), a local NGO, in Awassa, Ethiopia to create a counseling program for gender-based violence victims. Heartland Alliance trained psychosocial counselors to screen for trauma and depression and to provide individual and group counseling to women and youth. Since January 2010, 414 of the 498 (83%) women screened and 112 of the 124 (90%) youth screened engaged in counseling services and were found to have symptoms consistent with depression, using the PHQ-9, and PTSD, using the PCL-C. At the end of counseling, 54% showed improved scores on both screening tools. Problems reported were categorized into gender-based violence or family problems. BIGA's Psychosocial Counseling program demonstrates the effectiveness of a community- based response of training lay providers in counseling practices. This presentation will describe the training methodology and discuss the successes and challenges of utilizing lay counselors.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will describe the impact of gender-based violence on women's health. 2. Participants will evaluate the feasability of training lay counselors to work with victims of gender-based violence.

Keywords: Domestic Violence, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked closely the the Ethiopian partner involved in this presentation. I have assisted the program by working with local providers to assess and culturally and linguistically adapt screening tools for depression and PTSD. I also have trained the lay counselors in basic counseling skills and provided case consulatations over four two week visits since the program began.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.