Sociotherapy offers an enabling environment for former genocide -prisoners and genocide survivors, youth from the family’s offenders and victims as well as local leaders to open up and share their painful past experiences, and processing the intra and interpersonal healing journey. The graduates from sociotherapy sessions continued their healing journey though socio-economic activities to improve their livelihood conditions and enhance social cohesion among them.
As a psychosocial healing and peace-building program that operates at the grassroots level its group format is used as a therapeutic medium and an open environment for discussion. Prison Fellowship Rwanda started implementing a community – based Sociotherapy program since 2013, the intervention in post genocide Rwanda aimed at healing, reconciliation, and social cohesion. The approach creates an enabling environment for people (neighbors) to reconnect in a peaceful way for interpersonal healing and the restoration of broken relationships.
From 2013-2016, Prison Fellowship Rwanda has implemented Sociotherapy in four districts of Rwanda (Muhanga, Nyamagabe, Rubavu and Karongi district) and Muhanga prison. The program is focused on consolidating the success of GACACA courts, while also addressing its leftovers; potential re-traumatization and also enhancing restorative justice. Throughout Sociotherapy intervention, as an outcome, there were significant changes in the areas of mental health, interpersonal reconciliation, social cohesion, and socio-economic well-being.