Youth Wellbeing Champions
Piloting mental health peer support for young people in Uganda
Breaking the cycle
Over 80 years of evidence indicates that orphanages are damaging to children and a poor investment for children and communities. Young adults who age out of institutional care (care leavers) have very few life skills and struggle to assimilate into a life outside of care and generally lack the knowledge of how to properly manage their mental health conditions. They are far more likely to have experienced abuse, cruelty or neglect in an institution than in any other setting.
Even in a well run facility, children do not develop normally. Despite this, some estimates suggest that nearly 6 million children live in institutions and orphanages across the world, an estimated 50,000 of these children are in Uganda.
Shockingly, 80-90% of children in orphanages have families. They have been separated from because of poverty, for a chance of a supposed better life. We believe that by supporting children in families, we will prevent children from entering an orphanage in the first place.
About this project
We have partnered with Uganda Care Leavers, final year social work students from Makerere University and No Limit Generation to develop a tool kit that can be used online or in person, to address a number of areas affecting youth in the community and young adults with lived experience of institutional care.
The innovation, supported by Grand Challenges Canada, is a youth-led, accessible video series with an accompanying guidebook designed to identify, address and support the healing journey for children, young people and youth in Uganda.
It is designed to provide families, social workers, and youth-serving organisations, including students of social work with the tools to start important, non judgmental conversations about Mental health and well being.
For the first part of the project, we are already using the innovation to up skill 117 care experienced youth who will become “well being champions” that go on to reach and provide peer well being support to 1,170 youth in their communities.
We will also use the innovation to train 80 social work practitioners and youth serving professionals to use the toolkit to support children and young people they support. This well being project will also serve as a pilot, for broadening the impact of the resources nation, and region-wide.
Reclaiming hope and belonging for youth leaving institutional care in Uganda
The toolkit is made up of a 4 part video series and a guidebook, developed to address the gap in integrated mental health and well-being support for vulnerable youth, and children, at risk in their community with little or no access to early interventions that address mental health and well being concerns.
We hope that the toolkit will be used by social work professionals, youth workers, parents and carers to empower young people with lived experience of care and others that have experienced trauma, through a compassionate approach to changing perceptions and stigma surrounding mental health.
Download the guidebook
The toolkit was developed through a learning partnership that included care-experienced youth and final year social work students from Makerere University in Kampala, with input from our psychologist, mental health experts, a commissioner for mental health in the national government and community leaders.
Designed to Fit Into Your Schedule
We have designed this experience to fit into your life. Only 10 minutes? That’s okay. You can just watch one episode at a time. It is actually best digested over time and we recommend leaving time in between the episodes to process the videos and fully engage in the learning experience.
Watch it as a Group
Another ideal way to utilise and process the videos and guidebook is with a group. Learning socially, alongside others, in conversation together, is an effective and powerful way to integrate new material. The guidebook activities, and discussion questions included for each episode could serve as a guide for the group facilitator.
Share your experience using the toolkit
Let us know how you found the videos and the guidebook. Did you find the toolkit useful? Share your feedback now.