Society and Workplace Diversity Research Group
Research project

Empowering LGBTI individuals in Nepal through peer counseling

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Addressing violence among LGBTI individuals is crucial because this vulnerable group often faces abuse and discrimination, even from the security and health systems meant to help them. We are undertaking a project to make a positive impact by using peer counseling and safety planning. In this project funded by the Norwegian Research Council, our goal is to adapt and use a peer counseling and safety planning intervention to reduce psychological distress and exposure to violence among LGBTI people in Nepal. We will also study how effective and helpful this intervention is, and the experiences of both helpers and persons receiving help. 

There's a lack of evidence on interventions that work effectively to reduce violence against LGBTI populations in low- and middle-income countries. One promising intervention developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) is called Problem Management Plus (PM+). Non-specialist healthcare workers can provide this intervention within the community. It draws from well-established cognitive behavioral therapy and problem-solving techniques. PM+ is designed to offer psychological support to adults facing distress in communities dealing with adversity. We will enhance the PM+ intervention by adding a component aimed at reducing exposure to violence. This will involve creating safety plans and providing empowerment training to minimize the risk of harm in situations with potential violence, such as at home, in the community, or at work. To develop these components, we will use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. CBPR involves collaborating closely with community members who are affected by the issues under study, ensuring their active involvement in the entire research process.