Impact Sociotherapy in Rwanda

While sociotherapy starts in small groups, the effects spill over to their direct living environment and the wider community. Participants go home with new experiences and start applying some of the ideas of the group within their family and in encounters with their neighbors. For example, many (former) participants have testified about the positive impact sociotherapy on their lives - not only in their socio-groups, but also in their communities, public meetings and in radio programs. In this way, sociotherapy not only affects individuals, but also families and other community members. The more people in the same area participate in the sociotherapy groups, the more effects can be found in the wider community, including local government institutions, schools and churches. Local authorities of the areas where CBSP has been implemented, notice the positive effect of the program on individuals and on the communities too. 

 

In addition, many socio-groups decide to continue to meet after they have finished sociotherapy. Some groups organize group discussions, while others engage in income generating activities. 68.4% of the socio-groups that started between March 2014 and June 2016 continues to meet either on a weekly or a bi-weekly basis. 57% of all the groups have started a joint cooperative or saving association (N=1294). More information about the different cooperatives can be found in this booklet.

The cooperatives and saving associations indicate that sociotherapists and participants at grassroots level gradually take responsibility and ownership over the sociotherapy activities and outcomes. It is CBSP’s belief that this level of ownership and the level of mutual trust that has been built in the group make socio-economic development more sustainable. In addition, there is a spin-off to the wider community. In numerous cases, community members join the socio-economic initiatives of the socio-groups. Local authorities support the group initiatives. In a number of districts, they assist the groups by providing financial means to invest in livestock for example.

 

Finally, the success of sociotherapy in Rwanda in its early years has led to to the initiation of sociotherapy program in the Democratic Republic of Congo (North- and South Kivu), Burundi and Liberia.