Interview with Dr. Callie Scott, NBCC delegation co-leader to Rwanda

In 2016, our MHF work in Rwanda with the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and the University of Rwanda reached new levels of sustainability. The first two cohorts of Rwandan and international mental health professionals graduated as trainers. This allowed us to expand our reach beyond Rwanda’s capital Kigali and conduct first MHF trainings in smaller towns. The beneficiaries were groups of nurses and community health workers. The demand for trainings among Rwandan partner organizations is growing fast. As a result, we are planning at least two further international delegation trips to Rwanda in 2017 and warmly invite international mental health professionals and graduate students to consider to join and become certified MHF trainers. For more information, please visit the program page here.

One of the participants of the very first international cohort in 2015, Dr. Callie Scott, has by now moved on to become a master trainer and return to Rwanda as delegation co-leader. We have asked her to provide some personal insight into the program. Read on as Callie shares her story.


Callie, what motivated you to join the program in the first place?

My motivation to join the MHF program comes from a dream of traveling to Rwanda. I can remember being a teenager and feeling helpless as I watched the events of the genocide unfold. For years, I questioned how someone could have endured such pain and mentally survived that. This made me wonder how I could help. To become a Mental Health Facilitator in Rwanda was not only an answered prayer but an honor to be a representative from the United States.

I have compassion for those affected by the genocide and wanted to be an active participant in developing a strong mental health community there. I am inspired by stories like Immaculee Ilibagiza’s and others’ survival and wanted to bring some of this strength and resiliency back to my community to inspire others.

How did the program advance your professional goals?

One of my life-long goals was to have a counseling center in Rwanda. I wanted to help the people that were affected by the genocide and let them know that they were not forgotten. The MHF program and GEI have made this seemingly long-term goal become a short-term reality. I was awarded the opportunity to be 1 of the 15 National Certified Counselors who traveled to Kigali, Rwanda in August 2015.

By maintaining my relationships with NBCC-I and GEI and expressing my genuine passion for this country, I had the opportunity to come back to Rwanda in November 2016 as an MHF Trainer. I have also started to work with a village near Muhanga, about an hour to the west of Kigali, to bring mental health services in the form of training and developing a school counseling program. This experience has opened up opportunities that have allowed me to exceed the goals I have set.

Why should others consider joining the program?

Mental health professionals should consider participating in the MHF program because it is not only an educational experience but a life-changing one that may give you a different perspective on how you approach counseling. The people you meet and the places you visit will open your eyes to the similarities, differences, strengths, and weaknesses that we share globally. Taking an active part in addressing a worldwide issue of unmet mental health needs is a humbling position that all should experience.

For more information on our mental health related programs, please follow the links below: