Updated April 2014.
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UN-INMA is a mutual-help and self-help group emerging in the early 1970s in Far North Queensland, Australia. One foci commencing in the late 1980s was supporting inter-digenous and inter-cultural dialogues on relational mediating. This focus in part emerged from a Relational Mediating gathering energised by a sister mutual-help group, Mediation Matters in Dec 1993. It happened on the shores of Lake Tinaroo in the Atherton Tablelands with attendees being largely indigenous women from the Australia Top-End. These dialogues and experience-exchange led to UN-INMA evolving small rapid response psychosocial support teams in the early 1990s that has evolved into RAD.
One of UN-INMA’s foci and fields of action is what is termed Intercultural Normative Model Areas (INMAs) being evolved by Unique Nurturers – hence Unique Nurturers - Intercultural Normative Model Areas (UN-Inma).
In the forming and evolving of RAD, the UN-INMA Fertile Futures Program is acknowledging and drawing upon the experience and practice of many grassroots people engaged in psychosocial support in emergency contexts in the Oceania East Asia Region. The Program acknowledges people from the East Asia Pacific Psychnet Network's Secretariat in the Philippines, and people from local and grassroots organizations and networks through eleven countries in the Region who have so freely shared their supporting ways.
The Fertile Futures Program, as the name implies, links rapid response into longer term reconstituting of folk, communities and societies following man-made and natural disasters. A number of Laceweb mutual-help and self-help energies with varying foci collaborated in energising aspects of the Program. Refer Laceweb Functional Matrices.
RADs links to Psychnet
In August 2001, UNICEF South East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office (SEAPRO) auspiced UK funding for a move to enhance the capacities of various grassroots community-based organizations and networks in the South East Asia Pacific Region (the Region) to effectively provide psychosocial care in times of emergencies. An essential element of this effort is the forging of new alliances and the revitalization of existing links among various resonant organizations, networks and people working in the area of psychosocial response in the Region. UN-INMA folk supported this action in finding natural nurturers, linking them together, evolving a literature data base, gathering healing resources from the field (photos, videos, papers, etc.), preparing experiential learning modules, and engaging with others in the pre-test of the modules including field testing in a war zone.
It has been recognised that people of the Region, often with no formal academic or professional training in the psychosocial area are providing valuable and palpable support to others in times of emergency. For these people, caring and nurturing is a natural aspect of their everyday life. These people are termed ‘natural nurturers’. The presence of natural nurturers in their countries was affirmed by all of the 49 healer attendees at the Pre-test Gathering from eleven countries. Additionally, it is recognised that people in the Region have psychosocial resources that they draw upon in times of emergencies. There is a shared wisdom, often born of adversity that supports their integrity in the hard times; many have considerable resilience, and so there has been a move to better know this experience and explore ways to tap into it and use it in supporting others following emergencies.
An underlying assumption is that a strong and proactive network of people and mutual-help organizations in the Region may well be able to support in various ways the delivery of rapid psychosocial assessment and care in times of emergencies towards evolving sustainable psychosocial wellbeing outcomes.
Another assumption is that natural nurturers drawn from the local villages may be supported to perform rapid assessment of psychosocial need, capacity and resilience during/following an emergency and be able to quickly inform aid agencies so they may be better able to assist in ways that embraces and works alongside local nurturing experience and capacity.
One of the landmarks in this effort was the holding of the First SE Asia and Pacific Regional Experts' Meeting on Psychosocial Response in Emergencies' on August 30/31, 2001 in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was attended by healers from the different areas/groups in the region and resulted in the establishment of the Regional Emergency Psychosocial Support Network with its Secretariat at University of the Philippines, Centre for Integrative and Development Studies-Psychosocial Trauma and Human Rights Program (UPCIDS-PST). A UN-Inma healer linked to RAD attended that Bangkok meeting
Evolving the Psychnet Network
The Psychnet Secretariat arranged visits to find and link with people, organizations and community wellbeing networks engaged in psychosocial response in five SE Asia countries during 2003 to 2004 engaging with people and learning about the processes they use and engaging in action research as well as seeing videos and photos of the people in action. As well, there has been sharing of information with those linked with relating to what others in the Region are doing.
Another seminal gathering strengthening Psychnet was the Tagaytay Gathering in the Philippines in August 2005 attended by 49 people from eleven countries in the Region who provided input on the training resources evolved through the Secretariat. A small team then tested these resources in carrying out assessment in a post emergency context demonstrating their practical use. A few UN-INMA folk attended that pre-test gathering
Evolving Psychosocial Support Quick Response Capacity
An important aspect of the forming Psychnet was identifying Natural Nurturers in the Region who could be part of a quick response psychosocial support pool that could be called upon to be deployed quickly at short notice in small teams for rapid assessment of psychosocial aspects of emergencies.
While RAD Emergency Psychosocial Support Network is evolving its own cultural forms, it has all the experience of Psychnet available to it.