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The report builds on previous research conducted in Kaga-Bandoro and Sibut, which found that community experiences of violence and wellbeing are deeply shaped by the spiritual world. Despite playing a significant role in impeding access to MHPSS and preventing healing and reconciliation, gender norms, roles and relations are considered to be fundamental in reproducing and maintaining social harmony in Kaga-Bandoro and Sibut, and are central to the spiritual framework governing communities’ lives. 

The report makes five recommendations: 

  1. MHPSS services should be tailored to the specific gender barriers faced by men and women, and give greater ownership to young people.
  2. MHPSS services need to complement existing community values and healing practices, which are intimately linked to gender identity.  
  3. Peacebuilding interventions need to create safe spaces for young men and women to vocalise their trauma while envisaging new, alternative futures away from violence. 
  4. Peacebuilders should design and facilitate convening processes to challenge prevailing power dynamics. 
  5. Communities, MHPSS and peacebuilding practitioners should work together to reclaim gender norms which are more conducive to mental wellbeing and non-violence.

This publication has been developed with generous financial support from the UN Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF). The contents of the publication are the sole responsibility of Conciliation Resources and the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the position of the Peacebuilding Fund.