Continuing our series of articles from our Annual Report 2021/22, we outline here our work with Shooting Touch.
Shooting Touch, in collaboration with Survivors Fund (SURF) and Uyisenga n’Manzi, is using the power of sport (basketball) to improve Rwandan individuals’ knowledge and management of mental health illnesses, while striving to reduce the existing stigmas, on an individual, family, and community level, around the understanding and treatment of such illnesses.
Funded by Comic Relief, the three-year project, which launched in 2021, will deliver the following:
1. Women, boys, and girls suffering from mental illness(es) report a greater awareness of their mental health status.
2. Increased access to and utilization of mental health services for at-risk (defined as an individual with a mental health concern) women, boys, and girls.
3. Increased knowledge surrounding mental health illnesses, coping strategies, and available services for staff, participants, families, community members, and health workers.
4. Decreased social stigmas surrounding mental health illnesses and treatment amongst participants, families, and fellow community members.
5. Increased sense of self-worth, acceptance, and knowledge to live healthier and happier lives amongst at-risk participants.
The project will focus on Kayonza District in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. The partnership will strategically combine sports-based approaches with quality mental health support. It will provide mental health education, physical activity, and expanded access to counselling services. The approach is to move into a new village each year, while also sustaining existing participants, enabling us to serve as many as 60 at-risk Rwandan women and youth in each village, engage over 100 healthcare professionals with up to 4 coaches, and educate approximately 6,000 community members.
Applicants benefit from capacity building before being given the capital to start their own businesses. The Fund is open-ended, meaning it is willing to attract investments from anyone. It has an independent board of trustees appointed by GAERG and is made up of six people who have diverse experience in finance and business, law and youth related issues.
The Fund largely seeks to create employment opportunities for young survivors and other youth groups, as currently, more than 60 per cent of the organisation’s 4,500 members are unemployed.