Dr Samson Mhizha

Dr Samson Mhizha

Zimbabwe

University of Zimbabwe

Applied Psychology

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Work and Research

My research mainly focuses on resilience pathways, mental health functioning, family reunification, indigenous psychologies, gifted and talented learning, and inclusive education among marginalised and disadvantaged children. Key aims in my research is resilience enablers, family reunification, mainstreaming of indigenous knowledge systems, and educational functioning and outcomes for children working and living on the streets. My research achievements at present include publications in peer reviewed journals, edited books, and workshop presentations.

Fields Of Expertise

Implementing resilience building community projects, data collection and analysis, proposal writing, running a family reunification programme

MENTAL HEALTH AND RESILIENCE OF STREET CHILDREN

A disquieting and escalating number of children are globally making a living on the streets. In Zimbabwe, policy interventions to the issue of street children have been punitive, lethargic, and haphazard, and studies on the mental health and resilience of children in difficult circumstances are scarce.

 

To grasp the causes and consequences of street life, one must look at a range of factors including family dysfunction, abuse and trauma, exploitation and alienation, poverty, addiction, and mental health inadequacies. Literature shows a glaring lack of research and interventions from a psychological perspective, and family reunification programs in Zimbabwe have been uncoordinated, unsuccessful and poorly formulated, largely because of the lack of empirical bases.

 

Dr Samson Mhizha is in the process of changing all this. His FAR-LeaF research project is titled Building on resilience nodes in family reunification models for street children in Harare, Zimbabwe and will build on work done for his PhD thesis.

 

He will implement and trial the model that emerged from my studies and includes more theoretical variables like causal analysis and resilience nodes among these children. This study will involve exploring the street children’s experiences with and reactions to a family reunification model involving the use of community stakeholders, schooling, psychological rehabilitation, and religious systems. The study focuses on the well-being of street children and particularly on efforts of determining and building their resilience and, hence, their wellness.

 

The study will explore the factors, processes, and outcomes of family reunification among street children under his innovative model. Twenty key informants, including social workers in the Department of Social Welfare, staff at NGOs that work with street children, parents or guardians of street children, a former street child, traditional leadership, religious leaders, school heads and schoolteachers will contribute to the research; and 16 street children will share their experiences and benefit from the model.

 

Key outputs include the development of a contextualized program and practices on family reunification that should include the input and views of the involved street children; the development of a religious and spiritual system that de-stigmatizes and supports children from difficult circumstances and especially street children; the development of an educational and community guide that support learning of all children including those coming from the streets.

 

Dr Mhizha foresees that his model and research will lead to greater and stronger coordination of organizations and stakeholders providing services to street children with government taking the centre stage; and the development of a strengthened local and national education system to coordinate, support, supervise and monitor learning for children from disadvantaged backgrounds including street children.