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‘Family Together’, Supporting the families of children in conflict with the law - News from Omoana - May 2024

In Uganda and Iraq, children in conflict with the law have generally been exposed to situations of extreme violence. Various forms of exploitation, including prostitution, dangerous work, the sale of drugs and affiliation with armed groups, have affected their development. Many of those monitored by the Omoana partners have also been placed in detention in difficult conditions, far from their families. When they return, it is not always easy for their families to know how to support them emotionally.

This is why Omoana and its partners have created the ‘Family Together’ approach. These interactive sessions help families and friends to know how best to welcome children back from detention.

They are invited to reflect on the causes and contextual factors that lead children into these exploitative situations. They are also encouraged to draw inspiration from key people who have had a positive impact in their own lives to better support children and young people in their families. Sessions on child and adolescent development and the impact of trauma on children and adolescents are taught. Stress management methods for parents are also proposed. This is complemented by interactive exercises on communication and discipline, with role-plays inspired by forum theatre. Through these, they explore a way of guiding children by letting them know what behaviour is acceptable and what is not, in a way that is both firm and caring. Finally, they discuss how to boost their self-confidence. Alongside these group sessions, family members also have access to individual counselling.

Children in conflict with the law are first and foremost victims of exploitative systems, and require all the attention they can get. The method used by Omoana’s partners aims to put families at the centre of solutions. Omoana focuses on technical support and moves away from material support. Strengthening their ability to face adversity together is essential. This requires dedicated and competent social workers, whom we are lucky enough to have as partners, and to whom we try to offer the most relevant tools possible.


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Tackling violence against children through forum theatre - News from Omoana - May 2024

Dealing with violence is not always easy. Presentations, discussions and documentation can certainly play a part in preventing it. However, when working with children and young people suffering from exclusion, it is necessary to find interactive methods that speak to them and appeal to their senses and emotions. Omoana uses forum theatre in its projects. Derived from Brazilian playwright Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, this approach invites the people concerned to address situations of violence and explore solutions through play, in a participatory way. A scene recounting a situation that ends badly is presented to an audience. The members are then invited to replace one of the characters in the scene, which is replayed with the other actors improvising as realistically as possible what should happen next.

In Gulu, Uganda, children who live or work on the street present their own forum theatre scenes to the community to discuss ways of preventing violence against them. In Iraq, in the Mosul juvenile prison, children use forum theatre to discuss situations relating to their return to civilian life, and the possible discrimination they could face. This enables them to prepare for their reintegration by experiencing situations and exploring them through play. By using their senses, their ability to react appropriately will help to avoid a new cycle of violence. Other themes such as gender equality are also addressed, enabling the young people themselves to seek solutions that are often more progressive and innovative than what might be imagined in contexts where patriarchal norms prevail.

Social workers from Omoana’s partner organisations are trained in the approach and are monitored. Several workshops have already been held and the feedback has been positive. In fact, they go beyond just talking about human rights, enabling everyone to take part in a very practical discussion about living together, in order to preserve the dignity of children affected by violence.


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Technical know-how to help children affected by violence - News from Omoana - May 2024

If people’s ability to take care of themselves and others is strengthened, their resilience, both individually and collectively, will be optimised. This is how Omoana approaches helping the most vulnerable children. By involving family and community members in the development of solutions, children will be helped in a sustainable way. This is particularly true when their protection is threatened. If we take the example of children in conflict with the law, one of the association’s beneficiary groups, they have often been victims of the most abject forms of exploitation, such as forced prostitution or enslavement to armed groups. This has disastrous consequences for their well-being and future prospects. All resources must be mobilised in response. In this context, Omoana provides technical added value to its partners dealing with complex situations. In 2023, the ‘Youth Together’ manual, which offers psychosocial and violence prevention sessions to vulnerable young people, was produced.

This year, Omoana also developed the ‘Family Together’ approach. This aims to support parents of children in conflict with the law, giving them the tools to respond to the situations created by trauma, deprivation of liberty and the resulting consequences for their rights. In addition, to ensure that the emphasis is always on interactivity and on solutions coming from the people concerned, forum theatre is a widespread tool in all Omoana projects in Uganda and Iraq. It is the subject of an article in this new issue of Omoana News. It is this technical added value, this constant energy devoted to finding concrete solutions to difficult problems, this emphasis on mutual learning between those involved in the field, that makes Omoana a particularly important organisation in the contexts in which we work. We would like to thank you for believing in us and for your moral and financial support, which enables us to move forward.

Adrien Genoud,
Director


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Photo exhibition at the benefit of Omoana in Brussels

On 23 May 2024, the photographer Max Collier – brother of Chloé Collier, our coordinator – organised his very first photo exhibition in partnership with and in aid of Omoana in Brussels, Belgium. It was a huge success, with around 200 people attending the event!

For those who missed it, here’s the reason behind the event:

“In July 2022, Max learned that his partner was pregnant. He then embarked on a crazy project: to document this year full of discoveries, learning and experience through 365 photos – 1 per day. This series of photos is a treasure trove of memories, especially for his daughter Mia, born in July 2023. But how can we make this project even more meaningful?
It was during a conversation in December 2023, when the whole family got together for the first time in Brussels, across the borders (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium), that the idea of holding an exhibition in aid of Omoana, the charity for which Chloé works, was born. And so the adventure began!
Chloé joined Omoana just over 2 years ago, with a view to working in particular with former child soldiers, a population that is particularly close to her heart. As she puts it: ‘Leaving these children aside means creating a time bomb. Reaching out to these children means giving peace a chance’. With both their parents born and raised in Africa, and Chloé having lived there, the continent has always held a special significance for Max and Chloé. As they have always been so close-knit, they wanted to hold an event that reflected them, as a family, in the place where they grew up. So it was only natural that they should join forces for this exhibition, and in their own small way help to make the world a fairer place. And in so doing, they will be teaching Mia that helping your neighbour is also helping yourself and, above all, that we are never too much to help each other up.”

A huge thank you to everyone who attended and all those who helped organise the evening, especially to L’Accord Vin, Atelier du Photographe, ZLAB et L’Usine.


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Color My Geneva supports Omoana for RACE FOR GIFT 2024!

For its participation in the 2024 edition of RACE FOR GIFT, Omoana is lucky enough to be able to count on the support of COLOR MY GENEVA media as a partner!

But what is Color My Geneva?

Color my Geneva is a digital medium that will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2021. Its readership is made up of almost 50,000 curious people in the Geneva area looking for ways to make the most of their free time. They highlight the lifestyle, leisure activities and good deals that the canton of Geneva has to offer its residents. Their website consists of a community diary and a journalistic section. It is visited by more than 10,000 unique visitors a month, and they maintain an active and dynamic presence on social networks with almost 50,000 followers across all platforms (Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok). And soon you’ll even be able to find them in Neuchâtel and Lausanne, as they’re in the process of developing a wider presence in French-speaking Switzerland!

Color my Geneva is all about diversity and dynamism. It’s a platform that reflects the city: cosmopolitan, diverse, on the move, where people from all walks of life bring their own culture and projects. A tiny city of Calvin where the diversity of cultural representation and the number of proposals rival the biggest European cities.

In other words, their values and dynamism have everything in common with Omoana, and we’re delighted to be able to combine our two images! Many thanks to them!

Don’t delay in following their social media accounts or visiting their website!


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L'annonce - 20 ans d'Omoana

Youth living with HIV face various challenges. One of them is to apprehend his/her partners reaction after disclosing his/her HIV status. Youth having been exposed to such situations tell us about their experience through a creative dance.

This video is part of a series adapted from our show Résilience.

Acting, dancing and clip conceptualisation : Mukungu Enock Jonathan ; Mutesi Sharon ; Kasoga Winnifred ; Nabiryo Esther; Hussein Fazil ; Nyanzi Huzairu ; Bazibu Micheal;  Namirimu Teddy

With the support of : Federation Genevoise de Coopération, Ville de Genève, Etat de Genève

Filming-Editing : Reagan Giriwa

Musique : Sauti Sol- Suzanna ; Shakira- Waka Waka soundtrack


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Est-ce que le VIH définira nos vies ? - 20 ans d'Omoana

When HIV first appeared in Uganda, it heralded a disaster beyond measure. A few decades later, young people whose lives have been affected by the virus tell us whether they will let it dictate their lives.

Acting, singing and conceptualisation of the video: Mukungu Enock Jonathan; Mutesi Sharon; Kasoga Winnifred; Nabiryo Esther; Hussein Fazil; Nyanzi Huzairu

With the support of : Federation Genevoise de Coopération, City of Geneva, Canton of Geneva

Capture and editing: Reagan Giriwa


Healing the wounds of civil war - Le Courrier (FR)

Read an article in French about the work of our partner vivo Uganda in Le Courrier, written by Guy Zurkinden.

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Girl power: Young women against slut-shaming in Uganda - 20 years of Omoana

Watch our video on slut-shaming in relation to STD contraction in Uganda.

This is one of a series of video clips adapted from the show Résilience developed by former beneficiaries of the “Omoana House” project to mark the organisation’s 20th anniversary.

Acting, singing and video conceptualisation: Mukungu Enock Jonathan; Mutesi Sharon; Kasoga Winnifred; Nabiryo Esther; Hussein Fazil; Nyanzi Huzairu

With the support of the Fédération Genevoise de Coopération

Capture and editing: Reagan Giriwa


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Feedback on the Résilience show - 20 years of Omoana

When people are born with HIV, society sometimes makes them believe that they will not be able to have a normal life. However, if given the necessary means and care, they can die old like any other person. Young people supported in their childhood by the Omoana association presented a show in Ugandan schools about resilience in the face of HIV/AIDS. In this video, students having attended it tell us what they learned.

Acting, singing and clip conceptualisation: Mukungu Enock Jonathan ; Mutesi Sharon ; Kasoga Winnifred ; Nabiryo Esther; Hussein Fazil ; Nyanzi Huzairu ; Bazibu Micheal; Namirimu Teddy

With the support of: Federation Genevoise de Coopération

Filming-Editing: Reagan Giriwa