Who: Helena, Aja, Antonia and Marie.
What: Cycling to raise money for the Brain Gain Project at Butabika Hospital, Kampala, Uganda.
When: We are starting 4th April 2017. Yes, the rainy season.
Where from: Rwanda, the land of thousand hills.
Where to: We are heading to Tanzania and Malawi, then somewhere south of the Equator. Follow the blog to find out where we end up.
How to support the project: Donate on this link:
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All money raised goes directly to the Brain Gain project in Kampala.
About the Brain Gain Project:
I have had the privilege of working for the Brain Gain Project at Butabika Hospital for the last 10 months. The project is funded through the Health Partnership Scheme, which is in turn funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET). The initial two-year peer working scheme (2012-13) trained ex-patients to provide home visits and ward-based outreach in Kampala, improving the scale and quality of service provision while tackling stigma and discrimination.
The success of this initial programme resulted in the inception of Africa’s first Mental Health Recovery College in 2015, the extension of the Peer Working scheme into the wards of Butabika Hospital, and capacity-building for regional mental health services to apply peer working in their contexts. The Recovery College offers recovery-oriented training and education courses to patients, staff, carers and the general public. These courses are coproduced by trained staff and experts by experience, and revolve around Ugandan recovery themes.
A rigorous evaluation of the programme using a Theory of Change methodology is undertaken by colleagues at the Centre for Global Mental Health of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Peer Support Workers and staff at Butabika Hospital. This may be the first example in sub-Saharan Africa of a mental health project engaging people with lived experience as peer evaluators, rather than simply as research subjects.
Find out more by watching this video of Ugandan Peer Champions
At Butabika, I have worked with some of the most inspiring people I have ever met. People who have faced much adversity, animosity and stigma and still, they are wonderful ambassadors sharing their stories of recovery, raising awareness of mental health and making a real difference in their families, communities and their country.
As the funding period of the Brain Gain Project has come to an end, we are looking for funds to complete its evaluation and demonstrate its effectiveness. We already have some very encouraging results and work closely with the Ministry of Health who support the project. To help with raising finances for the final stage of the evaluation of the project, (i.e. six months follow-up of service users who received peer support work), we have set off on our bicycles through East Africa.
Aja, Marie, Antonia and I are cycling from Kigali in Rwanda, the country of thousand hills, to the border with Tanzania. From Tanzania, it will be just Antonia and I making our way down long dusty roads to Malawi (1200km).
We will be grateful for any contribution you are able to make. No matter how big or small, your donation will have an impact on the lives of patients at Butabika.