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Bamenda

Prisons Programme

This programme targets prisoners in two prisons in the Bamenda area: Bamenda Central Prison and Mbengwi Principle Prison. Two staff members visit each prison every week. The counselors are most concerned about awaiting trial prisoners although they are also concerned for convicted women prisoners.

The living conditions of awaiting trial prisoners include severe overcrowding; not having sufficient space to sit or lie down, being kept manacled, no toilet facilities, poor nutrition, no medical care, fights between prisoners, and beatings at the hands of the guards. Common medical conditions treated at the prison include respiratory infections, malaria, scabies and liver problems. The clients suffer from psychosocial and psychological challenges especially those that have been tortured and are still awaiting trial. The lack of medical care leads to the complication of the problems. During prison visits, staff offer free primary health care for these and other conditions with an aim of assessing cases of torture particularly on women. In addition, the counselors provide psycho education and some frontline counselling.

Legal counseling is offered to inmates and their family members and referrals are made to a network of legal aid organizations.

The social workers have training in psychosocial work and counselling and they facilitate the development of self-help groups of traumatized women in prisons. A group approach is used in prisons through which inmates are helped to help themselves as well as share common experiences and challenges. In this case, our intervention reduces problems of individuals and families due to prolonged illegal detention which gives rise to psychosocial and mental health problems, reduces unlawful detention and arbitrary arrest which leads to ethnic conflicts and family violence.

Central Prison Bamenda, every Tuesday 1pm-3pm

Principle Prison Mbengwi every Thursday 11am-1pm

Please click here for articles on prison conditions by our clinical staff 

  

 

 Bamenda community education programme

This programme targets rural people from communities that have suffered recent civil violence and/or serious human rights violations. This is aimed at facilitating people to be able to reflect about the events that have affected their communities. Two-three staff members visit the six communities once or twice a month to hold group sessions. The content of these sessions is based on a brief assessment of the community’s needs but is typically focused on sharing information about stress and trauma. Other topics have included; coping with poverty, violence and its consequences, coping after violence, rape, children’s problems, caring for homeless children and the children of prisoners.

These opportunities are also used to explain about CRAT and the services that the organization offers. People would have an opportunity to ask questions in the group and then many come forward on an individual basis after the meeting. Many of these would be referred to the CRAT clinic for ongoing care or support. In the community, self-help groups are also facilitated and developed. Simply put; helping clients to help themselves and share these experiences through self groups. The clients have many of the same psychosocial and psychological challenges as prisoners due to torture, rape, domestic violence, community violence, poverty etc.  The clients are offered group counseling, family counseling and individual counseling. Each client needs are assessed independently and a plan is build with them to meet their goals. As part of the plan, the client can choose whether or not to see a specialist for further support. Services are offered in ways that they are culturally appropriate and relevant to clients.

Our community intervention program reduces community problems such as prostitution which lead to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections especially HIV and AIDS, domestic violence, conflict among families and other ethnic groups, child trafficking, poverty that drives children to steal, child abuse.

The communities we serve are all around the Bamenda area; Akossia, Alatening, Bambui, Finge, Small Babanki and Big Babanki. The average counseling per individual is an hour and for couple/family 2 hours and 3 -4 hours with a community group.

 

 

Other projects

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