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Community Based Sociotherapy and its contribution to peace

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. ZOA works in post-conflict countries which are heavily impacted by the violent past.

strengthening the ideals of peace

International Peace Day

The effects of war are visible in the families and in the communities as levels of trust and respect are low; people also tend to have low self-esteem and find it hard to deal with conflicts and emotions. ZOA uses the Community Based Sociotherapy methodology in Liberia and Congo with very positive effects on individual wellbeing and more respectful and peaceful relations in the family and in the communities. 

Community Based Sociotherapy (CBS) is a methodology which brings together small groups of 12-15 persons during 15 weeks. To implement the CBS-approach, ZOA partners with IICBS. Guided by well-trained facilitators the participants talk about what safety means to them, as well as care, respect, trust, dealing with emotions, and setting rules. CBS is not a training where an expert tells trainees what to do; CBS is a process which helps participants to learn from each other and to reflect on their own behaviour and attitude. It is a playful way of learning new behaviours through games and roleplays, rather than only sitting in a group.  In the end, the group is the healer. 

Stories from Congo

In Congo 3.000 persons have followed the CBS methodology. A male participant says: "Sociotherapy taught me how to learn in peace. My group members taught me not to hurry to go to court in case of a conflict with a neighbour, but consult first with others to understand the real problem. Now I start to share with people with whom I used to have a conflict". The wife of a participant witnesses: "My husband was drinking too much alcohol but thanks to the sociotherapy group he now stopped taking alcohol and he is giving money for food for the family. We now live in peace". 

Community Based Sociotherapy is a powerful methodology which helps people to unlearn destructive and learn positive habits, and leads to increased self-awareness. Sustainable peace requires a peace of mind and a new way of relating to family and community members. The contribution of Community Based Sociotherapy to peace is crucial.

Read more about the way ZOA works towards peace.

The CBS method was covered by CGTN Africa

Stories from Liberia

In Liberia more than 18.000 men and women have participated in a CBS group. A female participant shares the following: "Close to my home is an unused plot of land, which is not a safe place. I became aware of this when we discussed about safety in the group. Thanks to the CBS, I became bold enough to go to the community chairman and ask him if I could use this land so that it becomes a safe area again, which he accepted. Many participants also mention that they learnt how to deal in a peaceful way with conflicts in the family and in the community, and with anger: I used to be quickly vexed. But now I know that this is not helpful and I manage to stay calm and to talk it over."