Maiduguri – In line with the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s global strategy on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) IOM Nigeria launched today (14/09) the first Professional Masters’ Degree Programme in Psychosocial Counselling and Conflict Transformation in partnership with the Centre for Peace, Diplomatic and Development Studies, University of Maiduguri.
The curriculum aims to assist professional humanitarian workers to gain knowledge on a broad range of psychosocial considerations in the humanitarian response to displacement, migration and conflict-stricken societies in Borno State, North-East Nigeria.
“With more than 7.9 million people in need of urgent humanitarian aid in this region, mental health and psychosocial support are an essential element of humanitarian responses for populations displaced due to conflicts, climate change, famine and poverty,” said Olga Rebolledo, IOM Nigeria MHPSS Programme Manager, during the launch.
“Displacement can bring several sources of stress for individuals, families and communities concerned,” she added.
The curriculum was developed with the intent to localise community-based mental health and psychosocial support response in North-East Nigeria, while also raising awareness among and building the national capacity of humanitarian actors.
IOM has also piloted similar university curriculums in Lebanon with the Lebanese University, as well as summer schools and specialized courses in psychosocial interventions. All these initiatives feed into Organization’s strategy to build up capacities at state level and improve the quality of MHPSS services in every country.
“The partnership with the University of Maiduguri evolved through IOM’s emergency response, supporting the populations affected by more than a decade of prolonged conflict. It is an effective exit strategy enabling government partners to move forward by investing in human capital capable of responding to their communities in need,” said Vedharaniyam Karuppiah, Head of IOM Nigeria Sub-office in Maiduguri.
Already 30 students have enrolled to the Masters’ programme and will start the classes immediately, whereas more students will be admitted during next years’ admissions.
“One of programme’s main objectives is to identify and conceptualise the threats to personal and social wellbeing created by displacement, migration and conflict,” Professor Abubakar Mua'zu, Director Centre for Peace, Diplomatic and Development Studies noted.
The curriculum was validated in 2019 by key government and humanitarian partners working in the field of MHPSS, as well as academics from within the University of Maiduguri. An e-learning feature has been included to facilitate the roll-out in response to the ongoing restrictions due to COVID-19.
The design, conceptualisation and launch of the Masters’ degree programme has received funding from the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) - USAID and the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development and Cooperation (SDC).
About IOM MHPSS
The IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. IOM has been active in psychosocial support for decades, by developing interventions, trainings and research projects in more than 70 countries worldwide. IOM MHPSS activities are supervised by a dedicated Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication Section.
For more information, please contact: Stylia Kampani at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email: [email protected]