Future Worlds Center (leg. reg. Cyprus Neuroscience & Technology Institute – CNTI) is one of the six European partner organizations [Zebra: Intercultural Centre for Counseling and Therapy (Austria), ICAR Foundation: Medical Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture (Romania), Association Primo Levi: Treatment and Support for Victims of Torture and Political Violence (France), ARQ/Equator Foundation (EF) (The Netherlands)] who are currently involved in the project:“Promotion and dissemination of good practice in addressing specific needs of vulnerable groups – especially victims of torture and human rights violations – based on a transnational in-depth study and evaluation of working and treatment methods”.
This project, which is coordinated by Bundesweite Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Psychosozialen Zentren für Flüchtlinge und Folteropfer - The German Association of Psychological Centres for Refugees and Victims of Torture (BAfF), is funded by the European Commission – European Refugee Fund Community Actions 2009 and its duration is 18 months, 01/06/2010 – 30/11/2011.
Aim of the project is to achieve an assessment on how exactly the centres work and, in collaboration with academic institutions, to create out of that knowledge norms for a common approach.
Over the last three decades, vulnerable refugees including victims of torture have been treated in psycho-social and medical treatment centres all over Europe. These centres take a holistic approach, offering medical and psychological care, legal advice and social assistance to torture survivors; they train health personnel in order to increase the quality of the treatment and rehabilitation services offered, as well as organising structures for mentoring and voluntary work to support their beneficiaries’ integration into the host society. The centres are mostly organized as independent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with a very broad range of available working methods and extensive experience, variety and knowledge. The project addresses the issue of ensuring staff remains able to contribute effectively to the work of the centres, combining the given expertise with a participatory evaluation and research model that allows for the practitioners to share their expertise in a discourse with professional research, while addressing the specific needs of vulnerable groups among asylum seekers using the synergy effects of diversity.
Accordingly, Good Practice (Torture Victims) project, seeks to develop a common approach within the EU on the specific needs of most vulnerable groups, especially those who have undergone torture or other severe human rights violations.
The issues that are discussed are:
a) which methods have proved to be good and effective?
b) how does the team of professionals work most effectively, taking into account conditions like “burn-out syndrome” or vicarious traumatisation, often seen among staff in the centres? and
c) does the use of a participatory self-evaluation method ensure that research is based on practical experience?
This project continues a pilot cooperation which is currently being funded by the EU as project JLS/2007/ERF/007 “Good Practice in Torture Care”. The new project, including six institutions in different regions in Europe, is based on recommendations that emerged from the existing cooperation.
The main activities will be as follows:
• team days will be held in all six partner organizations, and the protocols of the team days will be exchanged between them,
• each partner will find a further center in another country with which it has a working relationship and which will contribute information on working practices, so that comprehensive research on working methods in 12 countries can be carried out,
• the partner organizations will meet twice to coordinate their work,
• the conclusions will be presented at the European Network conference of the specialized centers (involving approx. 80 participants from 25 countries) and there will be a final symposium, which will take place in Cyprus.
June 04, 2010 Visit to new partner (Nicosia, Cyprus) to introduce the Cypriot team into the method of self-evaluation
On June 04, 2010 Mrs Elise Bittenbinder, Psychopherapist, XENION, President of BafF and Chairperson of the European Network of Rehabilitation Centers for Survivors of Torture, who is the coordinator of this project and PD Dr. David Becker, Director of the Office for Psychosocial Issues (OPSI), Vice President of the International Academy (INA) at the Free University of Berlin that is the Internal Evaluator of this project, visited our organization in order to meet, discuss and introduce the project.
This was a full day event at which all staff of URVT, along with the Head of the Humanitarian Affairs Unit and Director of CNTI/FWC participated. The day included the context of self-evaluation and outcome mapping; introduction to methodology as well as practical experiences; introduction to empowerment analyses and significant change (guiding imaging to identify typical key problems in field work); discussion on significant learning issues/aims in URVT; and further steps of cooperation within the project.
July 04 - 06, 2010 Kick-off meeting (Graz, Austria)
On July 04-06, the Kick-off meeting of the project took place in Graz and it was hosted by Zebra organization. All partners, along with the internal and external evaluators attended and it meant the official beginning and coordination of the project. The 3-days meeting included an overview and discussion of the project operational plan; introduction to content of project plan; introduction of evaluators and their method: Possible use of self-evaluation method in making an inventory of care and treatment methods and staff care; discussion of the Team Days: agenda and how to link it to the inventory on care and treatment and staff care; introduction to questionnaire: discussion and development for study; introduction logical frame work for care and treatments/staff care; objectives of bi-national meetings; and planning for the future meetings: time, location.
October 17, 2010 URVT Team Day I – in Self-evaluation Method
• Care and Treatment Methods
On October 17, URVT staff met at its premises in order to discuss and fill in the Framework for Assessing Quality of Working and Treatment Methods. This day was introduced and guided by URVT’s coordinator and social counselor, the representatives of the project who had attended the kick-off meeting in Graz. The meeting included introduction, agenda of Team Day and Logic of the Framework; conflict analysis; analysis of desired outcomes/objectives; methods used; outcomes.
Team Day I on care and treatment methods, under the self-evaluation method was conducted by all partner centres. Equator Foundation: 06.09.2010, Zebra: 27.09.2010, Xenion: 05.10.2010, ICAR Foundation: 11.10.2010, Primo Levi: 09.11.2010.
October 21, 2010 URVT Study Day I
On October 21, URVT’s representatives of the project met with the project’s researcher, Mrs Marie Thompson, who visited our organization in Cyprus [as part of her visits to all partner centers] in order to discuss the results and findings of Team Day I and self-evaluation method and further assist the establishment and completion of the Inventory of Working and Treatment Methods of URVT.