By any standards Solent NHS Trust’s well respected and beautifully crafted Emotional First Aid (Peer Mentoring) programme is a winner. Balanced and interactive sessions with clear learning outcomes, supported by graphically perfected designer teaching materials in a comfortable and safe training environment; the course allows the learner to inwardly explore, develop, progress and reach out to those in their care.
Translating into the informalities of the huge Kibera slum was never going to be easy. Rapidly upscaling the course for the 50 or so enthusiastic attendees from an array of backgrounds, faiths, and tribes armed with a single course book requires both a steady nerve and a touch of creativity. Now gently stir in several languages, a translator or two, an aging PA system with intermittent power, a dusty concrete floored community hall, a sprinkling of very mobile toddlers, and a few permanently attached suckling infants…
Loud and chaotic; the initial reticence to engage soon caved to learning Kibera style. The practical exercises and learning sessions degenerated as trust overcame. People visibly changed.
To date emotional health is rarely discussed in Kibera.
Is anyone listening?