Community based MHPSS a foundation for sustainable peacebuilding, experiences from Burundi and DR Congo
Community Based MHPSS : a foundation for sustainable peacebuilding
Community based MHPSS is crucial for dealing with the past, building family and community peace, and rebuilding the social fabric. MHPSS provides the foundation for inclusive approaches and effective participation in peacebuilding. More emphasis for MHPSS is therefore critical for sustainable peacebuilding.
Adverse environments as often experienced in (post) conflict countries, can lead to negative psychosocial impacts, contributing to a higher level of conflict in society, and ultimately to violence. Individuals and communities suffering from these negative impacts often struggle to effectively be involved in their own communities’ transformation towards sustainable development and peace.
Evidence from the Addressing Root Causes programmes in DR Congo and in Burundi (2026 – 2021 funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs) have shown the crucial role of community based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support. Individual trauma counseling and support groups as well as Community Based Sociotherapy have contributed to improved mental wellbeing, reduction of domestic violence, more social cohesion and reconciliation between identity groups and resistance to political identity manipulation.
ZOA and Help a Child have written a policy brief (available in English and French) and recommend governments, NGOs and donors to integrate Community Based MHPSS in peacebuilding programming in order to achieve sustainable results.