To restore trust and to contribute to a more peaceful future, ZOA has introduced Community Based Sociotherapy (CBS) in conflict affected settings like Liberia and DR Congo. Key to this approach - and central to ZOAs way of working – is the fact that CBS is community led and driven. In CBS, participants from one village form small groups to discuss topics that are of daily concern. The groups consist of 12-15 men and women and are guided by two well-trained facilitators from the community. The aim of this approach is to enable participants to learn and experience new constructive behaviour. This learning process will ultimately have a positive influence on their personal life as well as on their environment. However, this process takes time. Taking this into account, CBS uses a six phase model (see figure 1) to guide the conversations in the small groups.
The effect of Community Based Sociotherapy on the lives of women and men in Kalehe, DR Congo
The main objective of this study was to evaluate to what extent participation in sociotherapy groups affects the lives of the participants, including their well-being at the individual-, interpersonal- and community level. The paper presents a brief overview of the methodology and most relevant findings of the study. It also provides some recommendations for CBS implementers in post-conflict settings.
The effects of sociotherapy
ZOA has commissioned a study in Congo in 2020 on the effect that the CBS sessions have on the participants and their interactions with others. Do participants experience less stress? Do they feel closer to their community members? Are they increasingly eager to participate in village level activities and/or local decision making? And do the CBS sessions have an impact on the (economic) well-being of families?