GSN launched its first impact report “Growing Connection, Resiliency and Agency: The impact of community-led trauma-informed peacebuilding in response to violent extremism in Kenya” at the second annual Paris Peace Forum (12 November 2019).

Sally’s Story

“So, who exactly will you be counselling here?” Her boss asked before walking away. He didn’t even give her a chance to answer the question. She was deeply hurt and disappointed and felt he thought so little of her and what she was trying to do.  Sally didn’t always have a clear mind on what she wanted to do professionally. Sure, she had always dreamed of being a policewoman but after joining the service, she also wanted to help her colleagues. Her interactions with the various challenges they faced were unique to them as men and women in uniform gave her the idea to study counselling psychology. 

Police work is unique in many, many ways. She had joined while having a very rosy view of what it meant to serve the community. She had imagined a harmonious relationship between themselves and the community they served, a relationship born out of a common desire for safe and secure communities but the reality was quite far. She encountered deep distrust between members of the community and the police. 

This poor relationship added to the stress and trauma that policemen suffered.. That realization had given birth to Sally’s desire to help her colleagues deal with the stress and trauma they encountered at work. She also felt that her studies would help her deal with the public in a much better way. This was her frame of mind when she embarked on furthering her studies two years ago.

Unfortunately, her boss did not share in her enthusiasm and goals. For him, her studies were a pure waste of time and he resented the time she took off to attend classes and trainings or to sit for her exams. This aaffected her self esteem and confidence and she no longer shared her educational plans with her colleagues for fear of being laughed at.  All that changed when she attended the Mwamko Mpya training. Among the many things that she gained was an understanding of her boss and his attitude towards her. 

When she learnt about the cycle of violence, she was able to understand that he was had shifted from being a victim to being an aggressor as he rose through the ranks and the power dynamics shifted in his favour. Gaining an understanding of his actions helped free her of the anger and resentment that she felt towards him and this greatly reduced that stress and anxiety that she had come to associate with her work. Better yet, her interactions with likeminded counselling professionals at the training boosted her confidence and she was able to identify herself as a counsellor with pride.

Sally will be going back to work a changed person. She has gained invaluable insight into the behaviour of others and what influences such behaviour. As a counsellor she will be in a much better position to help herself and others all thanks to Mwamko Mpya.

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