Meeting of Key Players in Trauma Management and Psychosocial Interventions

Meeting of Key Players in Trauma Management and Psychosocial Interventions


Kigali, 13 February 2019

Theme: “25 Years after Genocide Against the Tutsi: Embracing Trauma Management from Grassroots Initiatives to Institutional Interventions.”




Rwanda, a country in Central Africa, has long been known as The Country of a Thousand hills, with parks and vegetation attracting tourists. Rwanda is also one the most densely populated countries in Africa with 12M living on 26M km2, or 474.64/km 2.

However, the year 1994 marks a turning point in the history of Rwanda because of the genocide committed against the Tutsi which was the culmination of a century of genocidal ideology based on ethnic Hutu, Tutsi and Twa categorization. Divisionism, ethnic polarization, discrimination, stigmatization, exclusion, ethnic massacres, deportations and exile were the active ingredients that have characterized the political and social history of Rwanda and have affected the country on several levels.

 The consequences of genocide are usually huge and enormous. At the social level, genocide has terribly affected social relations, peaceful cohabitation and the unity of Rwandan considered the "founding myth" of the nation. Indeed, we note that Rwandans think and adhere to the idea that all Rwandans are brothers and sisters because they’re all born of " Gihanga ". In so doing, genocide is often experienced as a fratricidal tragedy that comes to compromise this original brotherhood of Rwandans, in other words that breaks the social contract of living and surviving together. 

The consequences at the psychological level, and mental health in general, are considerable and alarming. The few studies on the psychological impact of the genocide show that post-genocide distress (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder) affects more than a third of the general population. 

25 years after the genocide against the Tutsi, its consequences are still many and complex. Efforts to deal with the aftermath (i.e. trauma cases) have been initiated with the government of Rwanda as well as national and international organizations. At institutional level, various programs have been developed namely the training of professionals in trauma management, community education on the concept of trauma and its management, and a number of clinical services have been put in place and have undoubtedly yield positive results. Community-based psychosocial programs have also been initiated mainly by civil society organizations and the community has been mobilized to support the most vulnerable people who were and are still mourning and ruined by the genocide. 

With the 25th commemoration of the genocide, it is highly important to evaluate the country’s efforts with regard to the trauma management, solutions that were deployed and the lessons learned. It is also time to explore the needs that are still prevalent with regard to the mental and psychosocial health of Rwandans.

It is in this line that the UR-Centre for Mental Health, in collaboration with partners, is co-hosting a meeting to discuss joint efforts in the preparation of the 25th Commemoration of the Genocide and the way forward.


  • To brainstorm on the situation of trauma related difficulties in the post-genocide Rwanda (25 years after),
  • To bring together different actors working in the domain of mental health and psychosocial support, in order to share about strategies used to effectively address trauma-related issues including during the commemoration period,
  • To discuss the importance of having a joint intervention plan that can be implemented before-during-post commemoration period,
  • To prepare the 25th Kwibuka Trauma Symposium to be held in May 2019.


  • Data on trauma from the genocide 25 years are shared,
  • Understanding of the existing programs and interventions in the community and their contribution in trauma management during and after the commemoration period,
  • Commitment to working together and anticipating the commemoration 100 days with tangible activities at community level,
  •  Symposium project is discussed, and members of the NGOs and institutions involved in the mental health domain adhere and commit to participate to symposium preparation.



  • 13 February 2019,
  • CMHS-Centre for Mental Health/UR-Remera Campus




It is expected that at least 100 participants from government institutions (UR, RBC, CNLG), NGOs and Higher Learning Institutions will attend the meeting. To name just a few:

  • UR- Department of Clinical Psychology
  • UR- Department of Mental Health
  • UNIK-Department of Clinical Psychology
  • Imbuto Foundation
  • Sana Initiative
  • PsyRwanda
  • Uyisenga N'imanzi
  • AERG
  • Iriba Center
  • SURF-Rwanda
  • Never Again Rwanda
  • Community-based Sociotherapy (CBS)
  • Etc.



Meeting of Key Players in Trauma Management and Psychosocial Interventions

25 Years after Genocide Against the Tutsi: Embracing Trauma Management from Grassroots Initiatives to Institutional Interventions.”





Date: February, 13, 2019.

Venue : CMHS-Centre for Mental Health/UR-Remera Campus




08:30 – 09:00

Arrival of participants & Registration


09:00 – 09:20

Welcome remarks


09:20 – 10:30

Session 1. Trauma in Post-Genocide Rwanda


RBC/Mental Health, ARCT-Ruhuka, AVEGA. Discussant: Dr. Darius Gishoma.


The situation of Trauma in a Post-Genocide Rwanda

Trauma management during the commemoration: Experience Sharing (cases from the field) on interventions and challenges.


Comments, Questions, Answers & Discussions



10:45 – 10:55



Coffee/Tea Break



Session 2. The 25th Kwibuka Trauma Symposium



  1. The Update and expectations

Prof. Sezibera


  1. Input and commitment to the Symposium



  1. Plenary session

Moderator: Chantal Ingabire

12:00 – 13:00

Session 3. Trauma Management Journey


Group 1: Activities initiated and actors in the aftermath of the genocide: success stories, lessons learned, and challenges faced with. Facilitator: Adelite Mukamana

Group Discussions

Group 2: Established Institutions and policies:  their contribution in Trauma Management and challenges faced with. Facilitator: Dr Darius Gishoma.

Group 3: Current existing Interventions, Challenges faced and future perspectives in improvement the traumas management. Facilitator:  Assumpta Mugiraneza


Group presentations (10 min per group)



Closing & Lunch





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Kigali, 13 February 2019