Psychosocial Support Certificate Programme in Turkey Aids War-affected Communities

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Turkey - On 25 February, IOM launched a certificate programme to train humanitarian workers in psychosocial support and conflict transformation for refugees in Turkey.

The programme – the first of its kind in Turkey with the potential to help tens of thousands of refugees living in the country – will train NGO workers providing direct assistance to war-affected communities to cope with distressing experiences and mental health challenges.

Turkey currently hosts the world’s largest refugee population with over 3.1 million people seeking international protection. The vast majority have fled from regional conflicts that have been ongoing for years.

The course will train humanitarian workers to identify and conceptualize emotional and mental threats to individuals caused by displacement, war and migration; adopt creative approaches to strengthen the community fabric; counsel war-affected individuals and develop conflict resolution and mediation skills.

Funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the course aims to foster dialogue, contribute to the resilience of impacted communities, and promote social cohesion between refugees and their host communities in Turkey.

The four-month modular course will run through June 2017 to provide psychosocial support and conflict transformation training to 35 Turkish and Syrian NGO workers with a background in social work, psychology or related fields and are directly working with affected communities. The course is held in collaboration with the Social Sciences University of Ankara.

International and Turkish experts will offer a diverse overview of topics related to the relationship between psychosocial support and conflict transformation in a conflict-affected environment. The programme is divided into three areas: psychosocial support, conflict and arts. Topics include systemic approaches to psychosocial support, counselling, nonviolent communication, small scale conflict mediation, conflict transformation, drama therapy, social theatre and oral history.

“This certificate programme is the newest iteration of IOM’s capacity building of humanitarians working directly with communities affected by the Syrian crisis since the first Executive Professional Masters programme on the same subject began in Lebanon in 2013,” said Guglielmo Schininà, who heads IOM’s Global Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication Section.

“We are looking toward the future, to build the resilience of communities and foster dialogue and social cohesion between refugees and their hosts,” he added.

IOM has developed a multi-disciplinary approach to try to resolve psychosocial issues related to the Syrian crisis, with a special focus on the individual, the family and the community. It uses social theatre, community animation, creative arts, oral history and narrative counselling to de-stigmatize emotional problems related to displacement and war, to help people recover from distress, and to strengthen the capacity of national and local actors in this field.

For further information, please contact IOM Turkey. Abby Dwommoh, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email: MediaIOMTurkey@iom.int or Amal Ataya, Tel:+90 312 454 3043, Email: aataya@iom.int