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Avega Interventions and Post Traumatic Growth Among Genocide Widows in Nyarugenge District, Rwanda

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of AVEGA interventions on posttraumatic growth among genocide widows in Nyarugenge District in Rwanda. The study was guided by Abraham Maslow's theory of hierarchy of needs and Rollo May's theory of existential psychology. It adopted a descriptive survey design. The study was based on sample of 113 respondents (women), from a population of 3,276 genocide widows assisted by AVEGA in Nyarugenge District. Purposive and cluster random sampling techniques wereapplied. Data was collected using observation and interviewing methods which employed instruments such as questionnaires, Key informant interview guide, Focus Group Discussion guide and document analysis checklist. This data was analyzed using descriptivestatistics, and SPSS version 22 for the inferential statistics. The findings indicated that individual counseling services, group counseling services, medical care support and social aid services are applied by AVEGA. Genocide widows perceptions about AVEGA interventions are ambivalent. Results indicated that the AVEGA interventions and support were able to promote post traumatic growth among the widows in Nyarugenge District at a moderate level. The main challenges that affect AVEGA' interventions includetrauma, perennial poverty, no adequate number of counselors and actual statistics about the number of widows in need of support and the type of support needed. Finally the findings indicated solutions to these challenges such as continuation with advocacyin favour of genocide widows, seeking support to create counseling center to address psychological trauma, and providing accurate statistics about the genocide widows in Nyarugenge District. This study concluded that AVEGA has not effectively enhanced post-traumatic growth through personal counseling services. Although, in general most of the widows indicated that AVEGA has been supportive, there are women who are not satisfied with its interventions. The women are experiencing post traumatic growth at a moderate level from AVEGA interventions in their homes, individually or in their voluntary groups. There are challenges of profound trauma still existing among the women. Many women have not healed and still exhibit very low levels of psychological flourishing. AVEGA has strategies to solve problems of trauma though they are inadequate. The study recommends that AVEGA should involve genocide widows in psycho-education programs such as problem solving skills and stress management skills, identify individuals widows needs, maintain and enhance social interventions based on skill training and productive activities. Keywords:Post traumatic growth, interventions, counseling, trauma, genocide, widows

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