Psychosocial course aims to heal scars caused by Libyan conflict

IOMGENEVA, Switzerland, May 17, 2013 – African Press Organization (APO) IOM, in partnership with Tripoli University, has completed a six-month course for 31 Libyan health, educational and social experts on how to cope with psychological reactions in the aftermath of 2011 Libyan conflict.

The “Psychosocial Responses in War-Torn Societies” programme was designed to increase knowledge and awareness of psychosocial approaches in addressing psychological and social impacts of collective violence.

It aimed to equip a group of professionals with relevant concepts, theories and practical skills in working with individuals and groups affected by the Libyan conflict.

The course was one of the main components of IOM’s Psychosocial Assistance Programme for Crisis-Affected Families in Libya, launched in early 2012 and funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The armed conflict in Libya affected thousands of Libyan civilians, largely destroying the country’s once strong social fabric. Children were particularly affected by the violence that they witnessed. Some young people were forced to take part in the acts of violence, while others were deliberately targeted.

Parents interviewed by the project said that their children lived in fear of random violence. Psychological tension often manifested itself in physical symptoms such as bed wetting, withdrawal and cruelty to animals.

“Finding collective elements of community empowerment is the essence of social healing, and this is the main principle of psychosocial assistance,” says IOM Libya Psychosocial Programme Manager Marcio Gagliato.

The programme was started in September 2012 and offered to participants from Tripoli, Benghazi, Misratah, Al Beida and Sabha. Most were professionals with training as social workers, psychologists, artists and political figures.

IOM has been asked by the Libyan government to continue to provide expertise and capacity building in psychosocial assistance for social and health professionals in Libya. Tripoli University is now planning to create a psychosocial research unit as a consequence of the collaboration.



International Office of Migration (IOM)

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