PSS Forum “Equity, Equality for all girls, boys and youth

REPSSI held its 4th Psychosocial Support (PSS) forum from the 4th to the 6th of September 2017 in Arusha, Tanzania. Over 400 delegates attended the forum and these were drawn from 34 countries. Twenty-six (26) countries were from Africa while the remaining eight were drawn from other parts of the world. Picture below shows Jake Glaser giving a presentation Delegates included experts from Government Ministries and Departments responsible for Children and youth, Health, Education and Skills Development, Civil Society, Academia, Children and Youth.

The Forum ran under the theme Equity, Equality for all girls, Boys and Youth. The aim of this forum is to share knowledge and skills and to explore roles and strategic engagement (nationally, regionally and internationally) for PSS practitioners, to realise equity and equality of all girls, boys and youth. REPSSI co-hosted the 4th PSS forum with partners including the Government of Tanzania, the East African Community, the Southern African Development Community, 4CHILDREN, SWEDEN/NORAD, SDC, AFECN, World Education Initiative, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Global Social Service Alliance, Abbott Fund, UNESCO and RIATT ESA.

The Forum started with a Children`s Pre-Forum convened from the 2nd to 3rd of September. The pre-forum brought together 98 children and youth from 13 countries, to share knowledge, information, skills and experiences on issues which hinder or enhance their psychosocial and mental wellbeing. Children who participated in the pre-forum represented voices of children and youth from diverse races, religions, traditions, capabilities and geographic locations. Some of the children had an opportunity to present at the main forum. “Policy makers and programmers should promote an environment where all girls, boys and youth have opportunity to flourish and fulfil their potential; where their rights and dignity are valued; and where they can freely express themselves, free from discrimination and stigma, violence and abuse” (Josephine Atimotek, Child Representative, Uganda).

• Governments and policy makers are committed to psychosocial and mental wellbeing.
• It is imperative that there is a strong focus on an inclusive approach with a focus on Leaving no one behind and involving all girls, boys and youth in PSS programming.
• Participation of children and young people is critical for their empowerment and overall wellbeing
• Efficiency in the era of austerity places even more focus on generating and utilising evidence in programming
• The media are important in reporting children’s issues and reporting on PSS to improve the wellbeing of children.

“Whilst the world is focusing on Sustainable development goals, these will not be realised if we do not ensure that we take psychosocial support and mental wellbeing as a catalyst to realise these goals” (REPSSI CEO Noreen Huni).

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