INITIATIVE FOR RANA PLAZA VICTIMS
In April 2013, after the Rana Plaza collapse in Savar, a team of professionals with psychology and counselling backgrounds from BIED provided counselling and emotional support to the victims, their families and the caregivers at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) and Pongu Hospital. The patients, particularly the young women there, expressed numerous concerns and were grateful for the opportunity to have an active listener to divulge their problems to.
The team at BIED formed of psychologists and psycho-social counsellors began their work on April 27th (3 days after the collapse). They conducted their work at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) and Pongu Hospital. A total of 157 survivors of the tragedy were covered with an age range from 15 to 45. There were 23 females and 14 males covered in DMCH and 81 females and 28 males in Pongu hospital. Now, over a year since the tragedy, BIED continues to work with the victims.
Following its experience with the Rana Plaza disaster, the psychosocial counselling team at BIED began exploring trauma management later in the year. As part of this BIED organised a 5-day training course on “Trauma in Disaster Response” in collaboration with Columbia University which was facilitated by Dr. Jack Saul, Assistant Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Columbia university in November 2013. BIED also organised a training workshop on post-trauma stress encountered by journalists and ethical protocol in reporting of trauma caused by urban disasters, jointly with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in November 2013. The report has been published.
COLLABORATION WITH BRAC DMCC
BIED has been working for the survivors of Rana plaza in collaboration with BRAC’s Disaster Management and Climate Change (DMCC) program since 2013. 2015 onwards, DMCC and BIED have taken initiatives for to ensure psychosocial counseling support, long term medical services and post award livelihood support for 450 individuals from the Rana Plaza Accident which includes victims and deceased families. As per project objective, BIED Psychosocial Counselors are providing psychosocial support through group counseling, family counseling and individual counseling sessions.
CAPACITY BUILDING IN THE GARMENTS SECTOR
COLLABORATION WITH ANANTA GARMENTS
Exploring new opportunities for development through partnering with the private sector, BIED worked with Ananta to build the capacity of its staff as Para-Counsellors. Established in 1991, Ananta is currently one of the leading apparel solution providers in Bangladesh. Engaged in the marketing, development and manufacturing of apparel, Ananta employs 17,000 people. Having signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), BIED was responsible to provide training to the Welfare & Compliance Team from all the 9 factories of Ananta.
The training aimed to help the Welfare & Compliance Team to develop skills that will enable them provide appropriate mental health support to the factory workers (approximately 3000 workers per factory). This involves both looking into how to ensure the mental wellbeing of workers, as well as how to create a healthy and more productive working environment. The basic trainings, consisting of several batches, began from the first week of June 2014. The 3-day long trainings were implemented in 4 phases from June 2014 till May 2015. A total of 22 participants including welfare officers and management officials have received this training.
COLLABORATION WITH UCEP BANGLADESH
The psychosocial team of BIED is currently developing curriculum for young people with minimum higher secondary school certificate on psychosocial support, SRHR and RMG basic rules and regulation. Before developing the contents a curriculum development workshop was organized with the different stakeholders, such as psychosocial specialist, SRHR specialist, welfare officers and administrative officers. These young people will join as a welfare officer in the semi compliance RMG industries. These employees will be providing psychosocial support to the garment workers and stuffs. Training, review and orientation will be done by the joint collaboration of Underprivileged Children’s Educational Programs (UCEP) and BIED. The core objective of the course is to develop para professionals in the RMG sectors to ensure the wellbeing of mental health. The duration of the total course will be 30 days.
CAPACITY BUILDING WITH UBR & BRAC STAR
BIED, in collaboration with the alliances of Unite for Body Rights (UBR), have facilitated training on frontline counseling course for teachers and frontline counselors in UBR-supported schools in 2015. It has also collaborated with the Skills Training for Advancing Resources (STAR) program of BRAC, conducting sessions on Basic Communication Skills, Adolescent Abuse, Stress Management, and Anger Management to peer leaders who later conducted sessions to the adolescents under this program. An additional training on “Basic Communication Skills” and “Adolescent Abuse” was provided to 100 field staffs of Skill Development Program of BRAC for sensitization.
COLLABORATION WITH BRAC ADP
BRAC’s Adolescents Development Program (ADP) has been working to improve the quality of life of vulnerable adolescents, especially girls since 1993. In collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) as well as the department of youth development (under the Ministry of Youth), the BRAC Education Program has opened up adolescent clubs under ADP. These centers provide a safe space and supportive environment for girls to socialize, play indoor games, sing, dance, as well as share life views and experiences. The model was later replicated due to its effective service.
For the purpose of testing Shomaj Shongee (SS) model in rural context to more diversified institutions (i.e. adolescent clubs, high schools and madrasas) on May 2014, ADP was introduced to the Shomaj Shongee (SS) model on pilot basis. 32 of these Shomaj Shongees or “friends of society” were trained by BIED to be effective para-counselors and were sent to various adolescent clubs, high schools and madrasas. In 20 sessions they have discussed three main topics: stress management, anger management and self-defense concerning the psychosocial wellbeing of the young people.
Each session was delivered by ADP’s Shomaj Shongee to their students in a group session. In order to achieve positive results, the Shomaj Shongee first had to know and understand the topics and how to teach them. To ensure this, the psychosocial and SRHR team separately provided a thorough training to the SS that uses activities to make the learning process more enriching.
COLLABORATION WITH BRAC USCP
Dhaka’s street children are victims of poverty and negligence. They lack affection, family and guidance in their lives and therefore often turn to illegal and personally damaging actions like drug use or inappropriate sexual behaviour. Exposure to a negative environment also often leads to stress, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and other similar issues. In order to help the less fortunate with the psychosocial issues they face, BIED has collaborated with the Urban Street Children Program (USCP) of BRAC, a program that provides psychosocial support to this underprivileged population.
BIED began its journey with the team in May of 2014. It provided guidance by way of a group of 22 carefully selected and educated psychosocial helpers who were trained in three phases built by the BIED psychosocial team. The process took a total of fifteen (15) days and discussed various topics related to psychosocial wellbeing and mental to be delivered to the children of USCP.
Along with these topics, USCP members were given specified training to develop their communication skills and cater basic understanding of child development. Eventually, the counselors were able to help the underprivileged harness their emotions and work on their psychosocial wellbeing.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS TEACHER PLUS
Teachers as Mental Health Supporters CfPW is currently conducting a research on “Effectiveness of Teacher-Plus Psychosocial Models on Socio-Emotional Well-Being and Educational Achievement of Secondary School Students in Bangladesh: A Randomized Controlled Trial”, funded by Netherlands Initiative for Capacity development in Higher Education (NICHE). This initiative seeks to understand and address the importance of teachers as mental health supporters for young adolescent students in classrooms and schools. As adolescent is a period of great physical, mental, socio-emotional transitions and changes, the research seeks to understand and facilitate the role of teachers in providing psychosocial support and guidance to students. 7 secondary schools are involved with this program where 28 teachers are contributing as a mental health supporters for 560 students. The research will end in 2017.
TRANSGENDER YOUTH PROJECT
In the month of September 2015, BIED has taken an initiative to facilitate a training program on “Psychosocial Well-being and Skill Development of Transgender Youths” in Bangladesh collaboratively with Somporker Noya Setu (SNS). The project was funded by Share-Net International. 75 transgender youth have received the training from the targeted 200 all over Bangladesh. The project has come to a close in 2016 and research on this has also been undertaken.
CERTIFICATE COURSE DEVELOPMENT
A short certificate course related to psychosocial support has been developed under the Netherlands Initiatives for Capacity Building in Higher Education (NICHE) project. The course aims to help in understanding the basics of psychosocial skills. The course is targeted at participants of 18 years and above with at least a graduate degree or higher secondary education. It is designed as a 12 day training which is taught in three phases. The course has been piloted in May 2015 with frontline counselors working with Unite for Body Rights (UBR) Alliance, and is available in a customized manner according to the need of the stakeholders.