Orientation Program on operating self help groups organized
Posted on: 25 Sep, 2017


KOSHISH in cooperation with DepFor and DPOD organized a 2 day orientation program on operating self help groups for group leaders of Self Help Groups on 27th – 28th February, 2017 in Bhaktapur Guest House, Chundevi, Bhaktapur.

The orientation program was attended by 17 participants, including group leaders from Thimi, Dadikot and Chyamasing, 2 peer support volunteers and representatives from KOSHISH, DepFor, DPOD and NFDN. The participants were provided with information about KOSHISH as a self help organization, importance of forming and operating self help groups and familiarizing with Danish model of operating self help groups. The participants also participated in group discussions to form a guideline in operating self help groups based on Danish example.

The orientation program was facilitated by experts with vast knowledge of self help groups and its operation and shared their experience with the participants. Chairman of KOSHSIH Mr. Matrika Devkota went back to the time of founding KOSHISH and conveyed the thought behind establishing it as a self help group organization. He stressed that people having similar life experiences should assemble to form groups as they understand each other better, can share their feelings without fear, enable them to learn from each other’s experiences and support in finding solace in each other’s company.

Representative of DepFor Ms. Hanne Tranberg introduced the project to the participants and shared the plan to form 3 self help groups in the first year and further 2 in the second year. She mentioned that the main goal of being a part of self help group has to be to support their own as well as other member’s recovery. She further mentioned that some members of the self help group might feel the need to do something about psychosocial disability and change how they are perceived in the society. They could thus be involved in “Voices of KOSHISH” to advocate for their rights and spread awareness in the community. She then introduced Danish model of organizing self help groups.

Representative of DPOD Ms. Renu Lohani shared her experience of organizing self help groups across different parts of Nepal. She mentioned that they are self help groups as they organize the meetings themselves and do not provide any medical services or are visited by doctors. Similarly, General Secretary of NFDN Mr. Raju Basnet presented about self help groups, its formation, importance, challenges and solutions. He mentioned that unity among people having mental illness is important to empower them and create an environment where one can learn from each other and create a collective spirit which strengthens them and the group.

The participants were also involved in group discussion sessions to formulate guidelines for operating self help groups. They came up with code of conduct, ground rules and procedures to follow for every meeting. They also discussed the changes expected of group members after they participate in self help group meetings which ranged from increase in confidence and improved self esteem to better integration in family and community.

The overall orientation program had been designed to inform the participants about the project and to involve them in deciding for themselves how they want the self help groups to organize and operate and it has received positive response from everyone who was part of the program. The close collaboration between KOSHISH and representatives from DepFor and DPOD has made it possible to bring the program to fruition and the document prepared with valuable inputs from the group leaders for self help groups is expected to shape the structure for how self help groups will move forward in coming months.