With the crisis in South Sudan well into its second year, the psychosocial impact of the conflict persists. The experiences of violence, displacement and confinement among internally displaced persons (IDPs) have contributed to community wide emotional distress.
IOM manages one of the only programmes in South Sudan responding to these needs, providing psychosocial support to IDPs, with a focusing on youth and adults, at the UN protection of civilians (PoC) site in Bor, Jonglei State, where approximately 2,300 people continue to seek protection today. Many of these IDPs experience psychosocial suffering, very often linked to the conditions of living in the confinement of a PoC site.
IOM’s programme is community driven, training IDPs on psychosocial support provision and enabling them to identify and develop activities that would best meet their own community’s needs. With IOM’s support, IDPs developed seven psychosocial support mobile teams built on different themes: an educators group (targeting school-aged children and youth), a women’s group, a sports group, a cultural group, a mediation group, an interfaith group and a group of lay counsellors.
For more information on this project, see Voices from Bor, a collection of stories from IDPs participating in the Bor project.
IOM is undertaking preparations to begin a psychosocial support programme at the UN PoC site in Bentiu, Unity State, which was sheltering more than 121,300 IDPs as of early November 2015.
IOM psychosocial support activities also include a strong emphasis on mainstreaming the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support approach in various humanitarian sectors. To this end, IOM organises trainings and capacity building workshops and provides Psychological First Aid training to relief staff operating across South Sudan.