Psychosocial support to mutual help groups made up of women survivors of GBV

Medicus Mundi, in partnership with the Health Service of Maputo, carried out 10 psychosocial support sessions for women survivors of Gender-based Violence (GBV), between June and August 2023, at the Integrated Care Centres (CAIVs) for GBV Victims in Bagamoio, Mavalane and 1st of May, in Maputo.

Strengthening PHC Social Determinants of Health

“I no longer wore high shoes or lipstick, but with these sessions I came back to myself.”

On the 4th of August 2023, the CAIV of Bagamoio, which is located in the municipal district of Kamubukwane, in Maputo, held its last session (the tenth). The 10 group therapy sessions were carried out by two psychologists and a social worker, who received training as part of the project.

Nineteen women who survived GBV, including young and adult women, benefited from this intervention. In this last session there were 26 participants, among the 19 beneficiaries, two psychologists, a Social Action technician and the medicusmundi team. The 10 sessions contributed to consolidating the survivors' knowledge about GBV, the institutions that respond and the services provided by the multisectoral integrated care mechanism. As well as helping with the healing process of your traumas and depression.

The women demonstrated that they had apprehended the contents and managed to alleviate depression, through the plays they presented, as well as through their speeches.

Among the various testimonies of the survivors, the following stands out: “I no longer wore high shoes or lipstick, but with these sessions I came back to myself.” Women expressed low self-esteem and little hope of smiling again. According to the Psychologists, working with these 19 women during the 10 sessions was a unique experience that should be replicated with other women. And they committed themselves to working with women who still need psychosocial support at the health unit – at the CAIV. According to the Social Worker, it is not enough to contribute to women's self-esteem, it is necessary to ensure that they do not return to toxic spaces and this necessarily involves guaranteeing shelter for these same women. “Well, even doing my job, she goes back to the aggressors' hands and comes to another sick session, I'm practically not doing anything, I don't see the effects of the intervention”.

The women read a message of thanks to the psychologists, the social worker and medicusmundi, showed their satisfaction with the healing process, liked the therapies and committed themselves to sharing and saving other families, and to continue the therapies at the hospital level until the deadline set.

“It was not easy, it was a moment of pain that ended in happiness.”

For the team of psychologists, group therapy is better than individual therapy. The social worker even mentioned that she heard in these 10 group sessions, what the women had never revealed in the individual CAIV sessions. When women get together, they manage to have greater openness and mutual help reinforces the entire intervention. The psychologist was also very satisfied with the work done, but said that “it was not easy, it was a moment of pain that ended in happiness”.

The Director of medicusmundi in Mozambique, Violeta Bila, conveyed that this was a new experience for the organization (in Mozambique), from which they learned lessons that they intend to replicate in order to reach more women in the city of Maputo. Just as she encouraged women to follow through with sessions at the CAIV level.

Finally, Violeta Bila also encouraged the psychologists to carry out a constant risk analysis of the women who visit the CAIVV and refer them to the shelter of Associação NHAMAI, a partner institution of medicusmundi in the different stages of intervention in the area of gender and also within the scope of the Alliance for Health network. That is, to refer more women to this shelter, in addition to the 4 women referred during the sessions held.


This activity is part of the scope of the project “Contribute to the defense, guarantee and exercise of a life free of violence for the Women of Maputo - Phase III”, implemented by medicusmundi, in partnership with Fórum Mulher, with funding from the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation (ACCD).