Commit and Act is dedicated to helping health care workers in Sierra Leone support people struggling with trauma following the war, as well as with other issues (e.g. domestic and gender-based violence) and mental health difficulties. Health care workers are provided with training in an evidence-based therapeutic approach called Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). Our employees are also given ongoing supervision and support. We also conduct research on our projects so that we can refine and improve the services that we provide based on data and participants' evaluations.
Our vision is that in the face of all circumstances, people choose to create and live their lives according to their values and empower others to do the same.
Our mission is to empower vulnerable populations in crisis areas by providing science-based, culturally sensitive training for health workers and other professionals, shelter with medical and legal help to victims of violence, and doing scientific research to evaluate our services.
From colonial occupation to independence… From authoritarian rule to democracy… From civil war to nascent peace… The story of life in Sierra Leone has been one of tragedy and starting anew.
This West African country, home to seven million people, is one of the poorest in the world. Basic essentials such as electricity, clean water, and education are unavailable to much of the population. Many people still carry deep-seated trauma borne from the brutal civil conflict, the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and ongoing gender violence.
Beate Ebert, a licensed clinical psychologist from Germany, learned the gravity of the situation in Sierra Leone at a conference in . There, during a presentation by author Sarah Culberson, Beate became inspired to visit Sierra Leone herself. The country lacked mental health infrastructure, and Beate knew she had something to offer.
During her first trip to Sierra Leone, Beate met Father Peter Konteh, the leader of the Caritas foundation in Freetown. Father Peter recognized the need for psychological support within his community and was eager to collaborate with Beate. In the first workshop arranged by Father Peter, Beate trained participants in a method of therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is an empirically supported psychotherapy for patients suffering from a wide range of mental and physical conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Out of the 30 workshop participants from NGOs around Sierra Leone, a young social worker stood out. Hannah Bockarie, herself a survivor of trauma from the civil war, was eager to apply and share ACT within her community. From then on, Hannah was a transformative member of Commit and Act. She started working as a volunteer. In 2014, Hannah registered the Commit and Act Foundation Sierra Leone as an independent local NGO. Although she was the only staff member back then, as of 2021, Hannah is now Country Director and supervises over 55 employees.
Ever since meeting one another, Hannah and Beate have been visionary partners. They empower each other in a very unique way.
"I learn so much from Hannah's heart and thinking,
from her caring spirit and bold vision."
Founder and Country Director Commit and Act Foundation Sierra Leone
Founder and 1. Chairwoman
Commit and act Germany
Commit and Act North America
Germany / Spain
2. Chairwoman and media designer Commit and Act Germany.
Sierra Leone is a West African state on the Atlantic coast. It shares borders with Guinea and Liberia and has approximately six million inhabitants of different ethnic origins. Islam and Christianity are the predominant religions that live very peacefully and respectfully with one another in the country.
Sierra Leone has been through an extraordinarily brutal civil war that lasted more than 10 years and ended in 2000. Many residents are still suffering from the consequences of their bad experiences. War wounded and former child soldiers live next to displaced persons and victims of sexual violence. In his moving autobiography “A long way gone”, Ismael Beah, who now works for Human Rights Watch, describes the living conditions as a former child soldier in this civil war.
There are practically no institutional psychosocial support offers in this country so that many people have to live without the necessary help. Despite these hardships, Sierra Leone has been able to rebuild its society and economy in recent years. The country is extremely poor and almost half of the population works in agriculture to survive. The country was last hit by the Ebola epidemic. The epidemic in Sierra Leone is now considered to be over, but the consequences are profound. People have panicked and still suffer from fear and grief at the uncontrollable spread and renewed loss of thousands of people under terrible circumstances; Numerous doctors died of the epidemic and left a gap that could not be filled in the already completely inadequate health system. The loss of the timid economic progress that has just been made leads to increased poverty, frustration and increased violence against the most vulnerable, the girls.