At the end of March 2020, with the rise of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the entire nation of Zimbabwe was placed into a national lockdown. For safety reasons, people were forced to live in isolated conditions with most forms of social activities being restricted. Schools were closed for an extended period, as were most informal businesses. The effects of the pandemic on an already struggling economy had massive mental and psychological repercussions on the mental health status of communities across Zimbabwe.
In April 2020, the Tree of Life team devised innovative ways in which to safely provide psychosocial support to communities in order to help them cope with the social and psychological effects of the pandemic. 153 Community-based Facilitators were trained to provide one-on-one and virtual support on Covid-19 as well as in Bereavement and Loss support. Altogether, in 2020, the Tree of Life Community-based Facilitators reached a total of 66,569 people with Covid-19 psychosocial support and awareness. Of these, 18,327 were directly mobilised by Tree of Life (8,877 men and 9,450 women) whilst 48,242 people were mobilised through existing groups such as church meetings and community gatherings.
Along with providing psychosocial support, the Community-based Facilitators were also able to enquire as to which thematic areas concerned community members the most. The list of Themes and Issues raised during the Covid-19 sessions across our partner communities are found below.