Tree of Life (ToL) Zimbabwe works in a nonpartisan and non-discriminatory way. We work by invitation of the community and then seek official entry through the relevant leadership structures. As much as possible we seek gender balance (and age balance, from 18 years and above).
Tree of Life conducts trauma healing and empowerment workshops in grassroots communities which have largely been affected by planned disturbances and stress. The main aims of the healing workshops are to support personal and interpersonal healing, as well as to foster social-cohesion and to prevent perpetuating any undue difficulties and stress in communities. To this end, we work with both victims and perpetrators of abuse.
We also conduct a complementary psychoeducation intervention, the Psychosocial Awareness and Coping Skills (PACS) workshop for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Community Leaders and communities at large. This dialogue forum enables participants to identify factors causing both stress and trauma, as well as to identify ways in which to cope. Our amended PACS workshops now include a community visioning process that allows community members, together with their leaders, to identify areas in which they can work together to improve their communities at large.
Our group-based approaches are culturally appropriate, and take into consideration the spirit of Ubuntu. Traditional leaders are included in our workshops and from the onset, participants are involved in the creation of workshop agreements.
In order to multiply the process, over 150 Community-based Facilitators have been thoroughly trained to conduct workshops in their respective communities. These facilitators are predominantly survivors of different forms of trauma, who have volunteered to help heal others. They are grouped into teams (currently 18 teams), most of whom are now registered Community Based Organisations (CBOs). ToL also works with 6 youth teams across Zimbabwe, all of whom have been trained to support their respective communities with social cohesion, psychosocial support and peacebuilding initiatives.
Tree of Life also supports socio-cultural activities in partnering communities. These include sports for peace activities, culture days and support to local government initiatives (i.e. these are events being held by the local authorities such as 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence, Day of the African Child and more).
Collaboration and coordination with other Civil societies is key to our success. As such, ToL partners with a wide variety of like-minded CSOs who are looking to incorporate trauma informed care practices into their work. We offer workshops and training to beneficiary bases of other CSOs as well as provide short courses such as self-care, trauma awareness and more. These courses are offered at a national and international level.
We believe in continuous capacity development – as such Tree of Life encourages all staff and volunteers to continually build on their skills and knowledge, in relation to our work. Each year regular training opportunities are provided to the entire team, to help strengthen capacity at both individual and organizational level.
As an organisation, Tree of Life believes in being evidence-based. As such we have a robust Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework which allows us to monitor our progress and track our impact.
Tree of Life works within the Circle Principle. In the circle, all are equal and all are able to share their story. Using the "talking piece” each voice has an opportunity to be heard. We use the circle during meetings, events and for all workshops. We also use the World Café methodology for learning and reflection events.