Conference, 28-29 April, Harare

“Intersectionality and women’s mental health in low-income countries.”

Venue: Harare International Conference Center.
Dates: 28th and 29th April 2020, 8am – 5:30pm
Tickets: Tickets are now available

This year PHOEBE’s Annual Conference will be celebrating the work of our organisation in Zimbabwe. The launch of our pilot programme, operating since 2018, P.H.O.E.B.E. Zimbabwe is a specialist, holistic treatment centre for women with moderate to severe mental health conditions. Our centre is the only specialist women’s mental health treatment facility in Zimbabwe.

Supported by the Ministry of Health and Childcare we are leading the development of pioneering lived-experience led, peer mentor and recovery college, treatment in the country for women.

P.H.O.E.B.E, in partnership with the Department of Mental Health, Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC),  DFID, Centre for Global Mental Health, University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Science, Department of Psychiatry and numerous other stakeholders in the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe are pleased to call this conference for a second year, to amplify the voices of women and girls with mental ill health and demand that decision makers act on gender mainstreaming mental health services in low income countries.

Conference themes

  • Gender equality and destruction of harmful norms.
  • Recovery through lived experience activism.

Aims of conference

  • To empower women and girls with lived experience of mental ill health to actively participate in the planning, delivery and evaluation of their projects.
  • To advocate for women’s mental health needs to be placed at the fore front of the global development agenda.
  • To provide an understanding of intersectionality as a lens to identify systems of oppression and discrimination, their impact on women and implications on program and policy formulation.
  • To encourage a rights based approach in mental health provision and demand gender equality

Conference overview

We believe that none of the sustainable development goals can be achieved because “there can be no health without mental healthWorld Health Organization (WHO) Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020.

This conference aims to bring a spotlight on the need to put women’s mental health needs in the global development agenda, focusing particularly on women in low income countries.  In order to ensure successful strategies for working with women and girls, it is necessary to scrutinise the contexts, relationships and politics within which women create meaning and social identities in low income countries. As we assess these women, we note that they exist with multiple marginalised identities and must live with numerous systems of oppression and discrimination, thereby increasing their vulnerability to trauma. Globally, poverty disproportionately affects women, who account for 70% of the world’s poor (UNDP, 1997, cited in WHO, 2000).

In addition, the World Health Organisation(WHO) notes that ‘the unequal and precarious economic situations is heightened amongst women in Africa, where the intersection of colonialism, conflict and natural disaster, harmful gender norms, the debt and economic crisis, gender inequalities, and gender based violence are ever present. Intersectionality scholars argue that these systems of oppression are mutually reinforcing mechanisms of control and discrimination and women are trapped through the generations.

This conference will explore the impact of sustained oppression on women’s well-being and suggest strategies to inform public policy to address resultant inequalities in women’s mental health needs.

Supported by the Centre for Global Mental Health, P.H.O.E.B.E is particularly pleased to have invited leaders from around the world, to advocate for and to share the stories of the women they serve. The conference also aims to be a platform for further learning for practitioners, as we advocate for lived experience activism, gender equality and destruction of harmful traditional societal practices.

Draft Program speakers are in the process of confirming attendance

Time Topic Speaker
8:00 Welcome Spoken word poetry by selection of young female artists
8:30 Opening Remarks by conference moderator   Dr Chido Rwafa-Madzvamutse  Specialist Psychiatrist and Post Chair Zimbabwe college of Psychiatry (2018 to 2020)-
9:30 Intersectionality and women’s mental health: Panel Discussion   Patriarchal norms and practices and their impact on women’s mental health and development.    
10:30 Guest of honour. Hon O. Moyo Minister of Health and Child Care, Zimbabwe
11:00 Tea Break  
11:30 High Level Panel Discussion Making Women’s Mental Health a Development Priority in low income countries. -Ministry of Women Affairs, Community small and Medium Enterprises. -Dr Chirisa, Deputy Director of mental health, Ministry of Health and Childcare, Zimbabwe
    DFID and donor agencies invited
12:30 Breaking down destructive gender-based norms, betrayal of patriarchal trauma’ that impact women’s mental well being. Savanna Trust Theatre Performance
1:00 Lunch  
2:00 Group Discussion sessions  
  “Women surviving in at-risk environments”   How institutionalisation can impact the recovery of women survivors, (the medicalisation and criminalisation of women trauma survivors in prisons and hospitals).    
  Mental health needs of women in humanitarian crisis situations; (How culture can impact trauma experiences of women in humanitarian crisis situations). Danish Redcross (invited to be confirmed subject to funding)
  Economic crises and women’s mental health basic needs: ‘We need medication!’ Winnie Ndoro, Founder of Time for Mental Health Trust, Zimbabwe. Bipolar Lived Experience
  Effects of chronic climate change on the mental health and well-being of women who have limited access to basic health care.  
3:00 Recovery through lived experience activism: Trauma-informed peer support. P.H.O.E.B.E.
  How gender affects trauma-informed peer-support programming (awareness raising through peer support: feminism and gender roles). More speakers TBC.
  How the arts can be used as a tool for healing in peer support relationships, (storytelling, crafts, dance and art). More speakers TBC. P.H.O.E.B.E.  
  Unpaid work and Caregiver burdens, impact on women’s mental health and wellbeing in Zimbabwe. Sister Bazondile Dube-Marimbe
4:00 “The impact of psycho-social factors on women living with mental illness in low income countries mainly; trauma (inter-relational, cultural and institutional) and mental health stigma in professional and community settings.” Dr Rochelle Burgess   *Keynote speaker*(confirmed)
5:30-8pm Evening Reception- Official Launch of PHOEBE Zimbabwe. Same venue
DAY 2    
8:00 Welcome  
8:30 Video presentations  
9:00 Sexual and Reproductive Health needs of severely mentally-ill women.   Zim clinical psychologist.
9:15 Association of maternal perception of self and child, abandonment, infanticide and depression.   Professor Clara University of Zimbabwe, Midwifery Department.
9:30 Women living with HIV/Aids and mental health problems, (how women in low income countries experience ‘social violence’ through the ongoing health crises of HIV/Aids in the population).  
10:00 Q and A  
11:00 Tea Break  
11:30 Gender based violence.   Integration of GBV responses and mental health: Best results for women..   Panel discussion.
  Culture of Silence and collective responsibility; -the importance of allowing space for women trauma survivors to be heard, (a culture of ‘belief’). Speak-out campaign.(invited)
  Mental health stigma and discrimination – How gendered social norms, alongside mental health stigma, impacts women with trauma backgrounds, in recovery.  
  Child marriage and its intersection with child mental health and domestic violence. The impact of adverse childhood events on women (ACEs) mental health. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda (Dr.) Chief Executive, Rozaria Memorial Trust African Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage
1:30 Lunch  
2:30 Girls Kick Out Depression- Youth Zone  
  Safe Spaces for girls to talk using sport: The importance of safe spaces for girls due to the gendered nature of interpersonal violence and oppression experienced by girls. P.H.O.E.B.E.
  How to cope with self-harm problems, bullying, anger, sleep deprivation, loneliness. More speakers TBC.
  Using music, drama, sports and the arts as a coping mechanism. More speakers TBC.
3:30 Gender Equality and empowerment- Panel Traidcraft. Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce.Women’s affairs income generating projects.Women’s Bank.UK in Zimbabwe business opportunities
4:30 Closing