On November 17, CISR’s Trauma Rehabilitation Specialist was invited to present the findings of a peer-support study at Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church in Tucson, AZ.
The occasion was the opening of the U.S. office of CEDAC (the French acronym for the Training Center for the Development of Ex-Combatants), a Burundian NGO that helps former soldiers and victims of war-related violence. The U.S. office in Tucson will raise funds to support CEDAC’s activities in Burundi.
Since 2005 CEDAC has provided services, including the collection of small arms/light weapons, in Muramvya in north-central Burundi. In 2012 CEDAC established a peer-support program with the help of CISR and Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), a London-based nongovernmental organization.
CISR just finished analyzing data gathered in a survey of people who received CEDAC’s peer-support services and compared it to a control group. Both groups were surveyed in July of 2012 and then again one year later, after half of them had received 12 months of peer support. The results show conclusively that peer support improves mental health: Using a psychometric test created by the World Health Organization, 79 percent of those who received peer support were “recovering” as opposed to only 57 percent of the control group. The full results of the study will be published sometime next year.
“We are pleased that CISR is able to present these positive results at the inauguration of our U.S. office,” said Eric Niragira, CEDAC’s President and co-founder. “We hope that people who hear this presentation will be inspired to support CEDAC with donations.”
“There is a large and very generous Burundian refugee community in Tucson,” explained Eduard Hakizimana, the director of CEDAC’s U.S. office. “Most of them arrived here having lost everything. Now they own homes and businesses, and they are interested in giving back.”