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Munnange

Munnange is a Belgian no-profit organisation running a psychological counselling centre in Entebbe, Uganda. We counsel people who struggle with a variety of issues such as alcohol addiction, family violence, abuse, stress etcetera. Munnange offers easily-accessible and free healthcare both for individuals and groups.

History

Research conducted by doctoral students at several Ugandan universities shows that more and more people are in need of psychological care and support. Over the past few years Uganda has seen an increase in suicides and violence. Students and professors face all kinds of problems: family problems, harsh home situations, sexual problems, emotional problems and health problems (HIV/Aids) and are calling for help. During our contacts with Nkumba University in Entebbe we were confronted with the size and consequences of psychological suffering with little or no easily accessible aid or support at hand. There is a lack of qualified counsellors, knowhow and an adequate psychological health care in schools and universities to meet these psychological and emotional needs.

We are convinced we can make a difference and that is why, in 2011, we created the non-profit organisation Munnange. Munnange means “my friend” in Luganda, one of the widely spoken languages in Uganda. In April 2012 Munnange counselling centre - located on the campus of Nkumba University - officially opened.

Since then, a lot has happened: we’ve extended our services to the surrounding communities of Nkumba University and started collaborations with several organisations. Our focus is not only limited to students and professors of the university, but also on the communities, surrounding schools, orphanages, the police stations and the prison of Entebbe. This comes from our conviction that everyone deserves the right to accessible, neutral and professional counselling.

Mission and vision

Munnange thinks with an open mind with respect for each individual, regardless of identity, religion or colour.

We personally find it unacceptable to live in a world where intelligent and motivated people who want to contribute to the development and progress of their country do not get the chance to do so because they are constantly preoccupied with worries, personal problems and/or tension in their family.

We want to give Ugandans the chance to call upon qualified and independent counsellors who can listen to their stories, give them professional counselling, refer them to other aid organisations or simply give them the time and space to find some peace and quiet.

Munnange starts from people’s own strengths, i.e. we want to reinforce the competences and strengths that already exist. A society can become much stronger based on knowledge rather than on pure charity or material aid.

How

Munnange aims to bring structural rather than individual changes, to meet holistic rather than individual needs and therefore focuses on the goal to build and manage general psychological counselling in Uganda:

  1. Munnange Counselling Centre (MCC), a psychological health care centre on the campus of Nkumba University:

    MCC officially opened in April 2012 and currently we employ two full-time Ugandan counsellors: Micheal Nsamba and Jamilah Nantale. Today we mainly offer psychological care and support to students of the university but we are also easily accessible to the wider communities (outreaching).

    Every last Wednesday of the month MCC organises an info session for students at the university. Sessions cover a wide range of subjects, for example: life on and after university, alcohol and drug abuse, defensibility, relationships… MCC also takes part in several events on campus. We explain what Munnange is all about during the orientation week for new students and during health week.

    Furthermore, we work together intensively with the health centre at the university. The medical staff is convinced that a lot of students that come in for medical help are also in need of psychological aid. Therefore the hospital refers patients to MCC, hence the valuable cooperation.

  2. Outreach work:

    Since we started we regularly were approached by external organisations or schools in the neighbourhood of Nkumba University with the request to organise counselling sessions for their target groups. At the moment we have an intense cooperation with several organisations.

    • Police office in Entebbe and in Abaita

      Twice a week we offer counselling at the “family department” of the Entebbe police office. The local police call upon Jamilah and Micheal to help them in difficult family situations such as divorce, abuse, violence. We also work together with the police in Abaita, a district in Entebbe. They call us when they need our expertise.

    • Entebbe prison

      We are in the process of setting up a cooperation with Entebbe prison to offer support with the reintegration of detainees into society.

    • The wider community: Nkumba Bufulu (Kitawuluzi) and Nkumba Bukolwa

      MCC works together with the headmen or chiefs of these communities. We go there every Wednesday afternoon during which time people can consult us with any of their questions. .

    • St Noah Secondary School

      This school works mainly with children and youngsters from fishing families. These families are often torn apart because of alcohol abuse, violence and lack of parental commitment. The management of St Noah regularly refers children to Munnange Counselling Centre and contacts our counsellors to mediate and support them in crisis situations at school. Recently the young students of St Noah started the “Munnange Club” to raise awareness about counselling. They are taught basic skills, how to recognize fellow student who are struggling and how to refer them.

    • Early Learning School

      This is a shelter and school for orphans, for children whose parents are in prison or whose parents have abandoned them. Munnange organises both individual and group counselling for them. The children and youngsters indicate that these counselling talks give them strength and make daily life a little more bearable.

    • ??Divine Child Primary School and orphanage: here we offer the same service and support as at St Noah Secondary school and Early Learning school

    • May Christian College Nkumba : same as Saint Noah Secondary school

    • Entebbe parents school: same as St Noah Secondary school

There is an obvious need for counselling in Uganda. We hope to expand the outreach work in the future. In cooperation with VIVES University, located in Belgium, we try to exchange knowledge and expertise by means of guest lectures, workshops and conferences at Nkumba University to strengthen the course “psychological guidance and counselling” which in future will lead to a broad social and professional network and to better qualified counsellors. We also organise international projects for students who study "Social Work" and "Applied Psychology" at VIVES University, as part of their bachelor degree.

Counselling

Munnange offers counselling in a wide variety of fields, both in group and one on one.

  • Depression (suicidal thoughts)
  • Family problems (partner violence, abuse or neglect of children, ?)
  • Trauma, stress and mourning
  • Alcohol and drug addiction
  • Relation problems and sexuality
  • Financial worries
  • Problems at school or university (problems studying, loneliness, bullying)

Voluntary work

Are you interested in our project and you want to do some voluntary work? This is possible! For more information, please send us an email. Together we can look for a project that creates value for both yourself and our organisation.

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