With a focus on promoting positive masculinity, the Healing in Harmony program in Mulamba, DRC offers a unique mental health intervention to men in the community. The project, delivered in partnership with Panzi Hospital and Foundation and supported by FIT, takes a gender transformative approach in efforts to advance gender equality.
Despite the challenges of engaging men in such programs, 71 men are participating in the current session and many have testified to how the program has positively affected their family relationships, as well as their physical health. Returning from a recent site visit, Make Music Matter Lead Therapist Justin Cikuru had the following to share.
On our field visit we met a couple who attended the session together. They were very happy and felt so excited to share their experiences with Healing in Harmony. According to the husband, Daniel (name changed to protect identity), he was surprised because he did not expect what he discovered. He had not believed what he was told in the community about the healing power of the program, but after going through the whole process, he experienced first hand the real power of music.
Daniel felt released from so much stress that he was going through – something he expected could only be relieved with financial support. He told us how he felt so good towards the end of the cycle and had a feeling he had not experienced in a long time. He said he used to have chronic headaches, he was a choleraic man, he had sleep issues, and was very much overwhelmed with family pressure and responsibilities as he has nine children and they are living in poverty. They were having a lot of couple issues, he found himself struggling to focus on anything, and felt tired most of the time.
Since joining the Healing in Harmony program, Daniel’s family relationships have improved and he has rediscovered a sense of living. His wife now feels more supported by her husband and is so grateful to have the music therapy program in Mulamba. They are stable now as a couple and have learned to face life’s challenges in a positive way, as partners.
“The fact that men are now participating in the sessions is very reassuring for women and has given the program higher credibility in the community.”
According to Dr. Bienvenu, Medical Director of the Mulamba hospital, the fact that men are now participating in the sessions is very reassuring for women and has given the program higher credibility in the community. Men who took part in the first cycles are giving positive feedback and encouraging other men to join. Dr. Bienvenu also thanked Make Music Matter for having brought the Healing in Harmony studio to Mulamba. It is helping the hospital in a number of ways, and is one of the prides of the centre.
Pictured above: The Healing in Harmony studio in Mulamba and community concerts
Previous women participants in the Healing in Harmony program in Mulamba have emerged as the musical collective Cohorte Femmes Héroïnes.
Have a listen to Mwanga Mkononi (The Light in My Hand) featured on Healing in Harmony Greatest Hits: Vol. 2, released on A4A Records.