By Joshua Oriola
The Osun State Agency for Community and Social Development Project, (Osun-CSDP) has trained community leaders, health workers, persons with disabilities, civil society groups and Local Government officials on psychosocial support as part of moves to address the consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic on the people in the state.
The first batch of the training held at BenBer Foundation Hall in Osogbo, the state capital was conducted under strict adherence to the guidelines of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and attended by only 30 participants drawn from different parts of state.
The participants were trained on conflict management and furnished with necessary papers on how to manage conflict in their localities, particularly at this critical period that most people are battling the emotional effects of COVID-19.
The General Manager of Osun-CSDP, Mrs Aderonke Funmi Abokede said the participants would also train other peoole in their communities and that the learning would cascade down to the grassroots in all nooks and crannies of the state.
She said conflict is one of the psychosocial issues that may occur when people are worry and frustrated and that conflict management becomes very necessary now that COVID-19 has triggered family problems, health challenges among other consequences of the loss of means of livelihood due to lockdown and curfew imposed to prevent spread of COVID-19.
Abokede said the psychosocial support at this moment would play preventive and curative roles. She explained that the preventive aspect would decrease the risk of people developing mental health problems while the curative part would help individuals and communities to overcome the psychosocial problems that may have risen from the shock and effect of the global pandemic.
“These two aspects of psychosocial support would contribute to the building of resilience in the face of this COVID-19 crisis and other challenging life circumstances. I urge you to take this task very serious and help people in your communities to cope and be able to resume to their normal lives’, Abokede charged the participants.
The Osun-CSDP Operations Manager, Mr Felix Akinwande while guiding the participants through the manual of community engagement concerning the task ahead, reminded them to always be pragmatic, logical and safety conscious to avoid becoming victims in the course of undertaking the assignment.
The Osun-CSDP Project Officer, (Gender and Vulnerability) Mrs Obajuwonlo Olusola while facilitating a session on Psychological First Aid (PFA), Action Plan and Reporting Template enumerated the tasks and the process to accompany the goal. She commended the participants for their commitment to achieving the objectives.
Obajuwonlo said “the Agency has saddled the stakeholders with the responsibility of being lay counselors and helpers to the victims and help seekers in their various communities to bring sanity and stability to the society”
One of the participants and a community leader from Alesinloye community at Oke-Ijetu in Osogbo, Pa Awesu Kasali Olagoke said the training came at the appropriate time and lauded Osun-CSDP for the initiative.
The Executive Director of Community Advancement Initiative for Self Reliance (CAI4SR), Mrs Eni Ayeni who was among the participants also expressed delight with the training and promised to replicate the learning.
Another participant, Mrs Funmilayo Abdullahi, the Public Relations Officer of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), in the state said the disability community was worse hit by the impact of COVID-19 and that majority of persons with disabilities are depressed and dejected.
“Those of us in the disability community are seriously affected by this COVID-19 because of the measures taken by government to prevent spread of the disease. For instance, one of us that married an able person told me that her family is in serious crisis now because her husband is not happy and he was transferring and unleashing the aggression on her.
“Meanwhile, the lady is also facing serious challenge on her means of livelihood. She is a teacher in a small private school and she was not getting pay since the schools were shutdown. Many persons with disabilities might even commit suicide because of the frustration. So, this psychosocial training will really help us to reduce the tendencies of dejection”, Funmilayo said.