This article, published in Medicine, Conflict & Survival, builds on experience in the former Yugoslavia to describe a model for psychosocial Healing. Post-conflict reconstruction encompasses social, physical and political reconstruction. Social reconstruction entails rebuilding the human interactions that allow a society to function. This involves the healing of psychological and social wounds of individuals and society. Psychosocial healing is a process to promote psychological and social health of individuals, families and community groups. The Medical Network for Social Reconstruction in the Former Yugoslavia has pioneered a broad range of psychosocial healing programs including community-integration programs, development of volunteer action, and training of professional and lay people to take part in psychosocial healing. These programs have demonstrated that psychosocial healing can be an effective way to heal post-conflict societal trauma and rebuild a society with a vastly improved quality of life.
This report summarizes three assessment interviews with health-related NGOs conducted in Kabul, Afghanistan by IRSS. The purpose of the assessment was to gather information concerning the continuing health and security needs in the country, and how social reconstruction and peace building can be integrated with delivery of health care, as a contribution to meeting high-priority needs. This assessment followed up a paper produced by IRSS, making a recommendation for “Social Reconstruction in Afghanistan Through the Lens of Health and Human Security.”
This complete guide for practitioners describes the use of trauma healing and related psychological and social-support activities as contributors to the development of a stable, peaceful and functional society in a post-conflict environment. It provides the context for psychosocial healing in relation to stress and trauma, and describes in detail a variety of methods and tools for implementing psychosocial healing, including a community-based process and establishing a facilitated integrated-action Network.
This paper, a version of which was subsequently published in the book, Beyond Reconstruction in Afghanistan: Lessons from Development Experience, describes a strategy for applying human-security principles to social reconstruction in Afghanistan by working through the health sector. Experience in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere shows that health and social-reconstruction programs can be integrated to their mutual benefit. After 23 years of violent conflict, the rebuilding of Afghanistan faces severe challenges. Physical and social infrastructures are debilitated, the economy barely functions, the population’s health and nutritional status is among the lowest anywhere, and internal security is lacking. Also, Afghanistan poses a potential threat to richer countries as an exporter of drugs and terrorism. This combination of factors makes the concept of human security especially applicable to Afghanistan’s reconstruction.
The paper reviews current conditions in Afghanistan, with particular emphasis on problems facing the health sector. It then discusses the reconstruction strategies used by domestic and foreign actors, particularly in the health and internal-security sectors. Next, human security and its application are described. The paper then reviews experience elsewhere in integrating health programs and social-reconstruction programs. This leads to a discussion of opportunities in Afghanistan for integrating health and social reconstruction using a human-security approach. Finally, an organic, adaptive strategy for pursuing these opportunities is articulated.
This article, published in Medicine, Conflict & Survival, discusses human security as an evolving principle for organizing humanitarian endeavours in the tradition of public health. Human security places the welfare of people at the core of programmes and policies, is community oriented and preventive, and recognizes the mutual vulnerability of all people and the growing global interdependence that mark the current era. Health is a crucial domain of human security, providing a context within which to build partnerships across disciplines, sectors and agencies. These principles have been demonstrated in field programmes in which health-care delivery featuring multi-sectoral co-operation across conflict lines has been used to enhance human security. Such programmes can be a model for collaborative action, and can create the sustainable community infrastructure that is essential for human security.
This paper begins with a general discussion of human security, a social justice organizing principle that places the welfare of people at the core of programmes and policies. The paper then focuses on the role of health and social justice as major, mutually-reinforcing pillars of human security. Health can be a unifying dimension for human security because it provides a context within which to build an array of partnerships and a unique opportunity for deeper understanding and implementation of human security. Health-related programmes can provide an important neutral platform to address fundamental obstacles to peace because health is universally valued. They can be a model for collaborative action and can create the sustainable community infrastructure that is essential for social justice and human security. The potential benefits of pursuing health and social justice within a human-security framework are illustrated by experience with two practical endeavours in the Balkans and in the North Caucasus. Finally, the paper outlines a strategy for capturing such benefits on a global scale.
This report summarizes a landmark consultation organized by WHO to address issues of health and human security that took place in Cairo, 15-17 April 2002. This consultation was the first interagency forum to address the connection between health and a concept that is receiving increasing attention — human security. The consultation provided a working model of the multidisciplinary, comprehensive nature of the human security approach. The three-day meeting brought together 50 participants, including representatives from a range of UN agencies, from states in the Eastern Mediterranean region, and from other regions including Western Europe and North America.
The consultation was organized into four phases to pursue the following objectives: First, it provided a foundation for understanding the concept of human security. Second, it explored the relationship between health and human security. Third, it examined health and human security concerns in the region. Fourth, participants worked together to develop recommendations for action, utilizing a health and human security approach, in the region and elsewhere. These recommendations were discussed and some were endorsed. The report is divided into sections reflecting the four phases of the consultation.