In Senegal and Zimbabwe, local initiatives are rising, breaking taboos and creating possibilities for earlier detection and better treatment of depression in the economic, social and cultural context.

  • €16,145 Budget in Euros
  • 2018 Final release date
  • 1 Round winner
  • 2 Locations
  • 3 Durations in months

Only half of the 300 million people suffering from depression worldwide benefit from treatment, in some developing countries the number only reaches 10%. Particularly in Africa, a western and not always adequate approach to psychology has created a medical vacuum and a taboo around mental diseases. In Senegal and Zimbabwe, local initiatives are emerging which are better suited for the detection and which offer treatments better adapted to the economic, social and cultural context.

First report in Senegal (28 july-12 august)


A woman performing a ceremony honoring Leuk Daour, Dakar's principle spirit. MagicLand beach, Dakar, August 2018 ©Eugénie Baccot

Senegal count 30 psychiatrists whom only four of them are not settled in the capital. The rest of the country is not well deserve in mental health services. We have visited a clinic and a psychiatric hospital in Dakar, to speak about the heritage of Henri Collomb, an ethnopsychiatrist who developped collaboration between traditional therapists and occidental psychiatry. It appears that most of the initiatives thinking by Henri Collomb has disapeared due to a lack of founds, medical staff and governemental implication in mental health. We also met a healer whom habits consist in sacrifices called Ndoëp and whom grand mother used to received patients from hospital, sended by a doctor praticing what she called "white medecine". Neowadays, some doctors prefer to mix cultural representations and occidental medecine instead of working with traditional healer.

There is still a small center in Casamance where a psychiatrist and the habitants of the village where the center is, are working together to make the center works even without a lot of founds.

DELAY / Our second report in Zimbabwe has been delayed several times due to an outbreak of cholera which. The health authorities ask us to wait until the sanitary crisis go down.

Second Report in Zimbabwe (24 november - 13 december)


A grandmother of the program Friendship Benches speaks with a beneficiary who came in for consultation at the Glen Norah Clinic, Harare, Zimbabwe, November 2018 ©Eugénie Baccot

We met some grand mothers, working as lay health workers for the Friendship Project, founded by Dixon Chibanda, one of the twelve psychiatrist of ZImbabwe. We also discussed with some beneficiaries who used to join a support group, after four weeks of personal meeting with a grandma. That group consist in knitting or crocheting while each participants who wants to talk can share his or her experience and give advices to other. The goal ? "Not feeling alone by sharing problems, i discovered that i wasn't the only one dealing with troubles of money" said to us Grace, one of the knitters.

We also will met the rural application which covered now all the country and even the countryside.

Publications and sharing experiences

We have finished to write our seven articles for four differents web medias or magazine. They will be published soon.

During that time, we've been invited by a local radio in Bordeaux (France) to share our project, explain the initiatives we saw in Dakar, in Ziguinchor, in Harare and Masvingo, thanks to the suppport of EJC Grantees.


Publication in Le Monde Afrique

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