It is a fact not only for the Central America region, that for a variety of reasons, psycho-social needs of children with learning disabilities as well as victims of violence have not been given sufficient attention neither in the health nor in the school system. Treatments and practices have often suffered from capacity problems, been rudimentary in nature and often confined to a clinical approach only. The responses have not been sufficiently rooted in the context of the local communities and the actual learning environment.
Improving the psychosocial treatment methologies
The project aims to strengthen and improve the psychosocial treatment program in the communities where FUNDATED and CEDEHCA work, through the development and implementation of more diverse treatment methodologies in the target areas. The improved psycho-social methods are directed towards two particular groups: In Guatemala, children with disabilities, and in Nicaragua, female victims of violence.
Focusing on Sustainable Development Goals
The main SDG target is 3.8 about universal health coverage and access to quality essential health care coverage, which is understood to cover also psycho-social treatment. In addition, SDG 4.1 on access to free quality primary and secondary education is relevant, as is SDG 17.9 on capacity building through global partnership and south-south cooperation.
The project provides for the strengthening of medical skills for psycho-social treatment through exchange of 20 professional staff between the two organisations/countries over a 3-year period, each staying for a year abroad with the other organisation. The embedding of professionals in each others' organisations has allowed for sharing knowledge and exchanging skills and ideas on operational level. It has also created trust and improved the institutional knowledge and performance of FUNDATED and CEDEHCA.
Results of the project
For FUNDATED the project has enhanced a process towards improvement of knowledge, skills and strategies in working with children and youth with learning disabilities and at risk of substance abuse. CEDECHA on its part, has embarked upon a programme of mobilizing children and youth in the communities and at home, to identify and attend to youngsters with learning disabilities as well as victims of violence at an early stage, and have invited in psychologists and psychology students to strengthen the work.
Learning and contributing on equal level
The innovative aspect of the project is its completely horizontal design, whereby the two parties are coming to the table to learn and contribute skills and knowledge on equal level. Often in development cooperation, projects are designed based on transfer of technologies from a donor to a recipient country. The recognition of the value of everybody's knowledge creates greater ownership, participation and sustainability in the project.