2 Project Officer (Mental Health), MHU at SOS Children’s Villages Uganda

Application deadline closed.

Job Description

SOS Children’s Villages Uganda is a child-focused, social development, non-governmental organisation with a strong reputation for fulfilling children’s right to quality care and protection, education and health. Since the beginning of its work in 1991, SOS Uganda has reached over 60,000 children, youth and adults directly and indirectly to become empowered and self-reliant and contribute significantly to their families and communities.

Mental Health Uganda (MHU) is an indigenous, non-governmental, membership-based disabled people’s organisation; an organisation of people with a lived experience of mental health problems.
MHU was established in 1997 and formally registered as a national NGO in 2001. MHU is based in all regions of the country and works for equal access to services and opportunities for people with mental health issues. MHU is the biggest organisation of people living with mental illness in Africa with over 25,000 members.



The 2 partners will implement a 3-year project from January 2023, primarily targeting young people between the ages of 13 to 19 in 10 selected secondary schools (5 from Gulu district and 5 from Wakiso district). The project seeks to: normalize mental health problems and reduce stigma and discrimination; facilitate access to psychosocial support in the targeted schools; and contribute to improved policy and legal framework in favour of young people experiencing mental health problems in Uganda.

Youth active participation and empowerment is a key proponent of the project, ensuring that youth lead the development and implementation of project activities. For the delivery of this project, SOS and MHU are recruiting suitably qualified and competent Ugandans to fill the following positions:

Job Title: Project Officer (Mental Health), MHU – (02 positions)
Reporting to: Project Coordinator, SOS and MHU Program Manager
Responsible for: Champions and Mentor Champions in the project locations
Work station: Kampala/Wakiso (01) and Gulu (01). Note: The applicants for this position MUST indicate the specific work station, in their motivation letter
Contract Type: Full Time, Two – Year Term (with a possibility for a 1 – year extension)
Working hours: 8:30am- 5:00pm (Monday – Friday)
Salary: Commensurate with experience, knowledge and skills
Start date: January 2023

Job Purpose
The Project Officer will be responsible for the overall local implementation of project activities related to mental health awareness creation and facilitating access to care services, in the respective locations and will therefore carry the operational responsibilities towards project results. S/he will support and supervise the mental health ‘Champions’ (ages 13-19 years) in 5 selected schools and Mentor Champions (ages 18-30 years) based in communities. S/he will manage all relationships between the
project and all local stakeholders.

Main duties and responsibilities of the role
A Project Implementation
i. Provide day-to-day mentoring support and supervise both the quality of work and well-being of both Champions in schools and Mentor Champions in the communities by making regular visits to schools and organizing monthly review meetings
ii. Support the identification and recruitment of 40 Champions (8 per school) and 20 Mentor Champions (4 per school) with personal experience of mental health problems who are motivated be trained and supported to deliver local anti-stigma campaigning activities and provide psychological first aid support youth struggling with mental health problems
iii. Support students to identify mental health awareness avenues/platforms, develop relevant
Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials and deliver agreed activities related to the same
iv. Support the youth to increase mental health awareness both in schools and in the communities, during selected occasions and through school-based clubs

v. In all youth-led activities, ensure that the youth are trained in budgeting and have access to the appropriate budgets needed
vi. Facilitate the provision of accurate information to all individuals, presenting all possible alternatives within the spectrum of care and allow beneficiaries to make informed choices
vii. Identify and document risks to young people with mental health challenges and propose strategies to mitigate them
viii. Ensure project services are offered in a professional and ethical manner, with utmost respect for the beneficiaries
ix. Ensure the functionality of the district referral system by both the Champions and Mentor Champions so that all individuals who need specialized care and support can access it
x. Manage relations between the project and the supported schools and ensure that the project teams adhere to the best ethical standards
xi. Manage relations with parents/caregivers of affected students and conduct home visits, when needed
xii. Manage relations between the project and District Local Governments and maintain useful linkages and dialogue with all other relevant stakeholders to ensure collaboration, synergy, sharing of experiences and that the district delivers a coordinated response for mental health

B Monitoring and Evaluation
i. Organize and manage review and reflection and cross-learning events, as well as advocacy
meetings foreseen at the district level
ii. Participate in organizing and facilitating project reviews with project key stakeholders
iii. Coordinate district based sharing and learning, and document the best practices and success stories
iv. Undertake surveillance and update MHU and other relevant actors on emerging issues around mental health in the district.

C Reporting, Resource Management and Documentation
i. Prepare and submit timely monthly work plans and reports
ii. Support preparation and dissemination of information related to mental health issues,
relevant to the project components

Person specifications
The applicant should hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies, Gender and Development Studies (GAD), Social Work and Social Administration, Social Sciences, Community Psychology and or any other related studies with a minimum of 3 years relevant working experience in a NonGovernment Organization. A post graduate counselling and guidance qualification will be an added advantage.

Essential criteria
 Previous or relevant experience of project management including delivering projects on time and to budget
 Experience of organizing and delivering community engagement activities and events
 Experience of working in partnerships, with demonstrable skills of collaborative working, and relationship management and the ability to identify and rapidly resolve barriers, difficulties and conflicts
 Ability to create and maintain a supportive environment at trainings and events and have knowledge and experience of recognizing and responding to personal well-being issues
 Good empathy, perception and listening skills

 Ability to make effective use of available resources and materials
 Excellent problem solving skills and ability to identify and address problems
 Experience of report writing, especially communicating program results
 Experience of multi-tasking, prioritizing competing work and working within deadlines
 Ability to ride a motor-cycle, with a valid permit.

Desirable criteria
 Knowledge and understanding of mental health issues in Uganda
 Direct or indirect experience of mental health problems and openness to being a visible ambassador for people with mental health issues, using personal experiences as appropriate to do so
 Experience of working at community level with people who have experienced mental health problems, to challenge stigma and discrimination
 Experience of supporting youth-led projects and ensuring youth participation
 Experience of program monitoring and evaluation
 Good level of English and an ability to communicate in the local language
 Good IT Skills with familiarity with key Microsoft Office Programs.

Application process
Interested individuals should send a motivation letter and CV as one PDF document/file (of maximum 8 pages for the Project Coordinator and 6 pages for all other positions), not later than 4:00pm on Friday 18th November 2022 via email to jobs@sosuganda.org and copy to mhu@mentalhealthuganda.org – subject line is the job title e.g. “Project Coordinator”. Do not send academic documents – heavy files containing academic documents or submitted as images, or any other that do not adhere to these instructions and or late applications, will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. The motivation letter must also include the details of 2 suitable referees who can comment on the candidate’s ability. Women and Persons with disabilities are highly encouraged to apply, including those with a lived experience of mental health problems.

1. The commencement of these positions is subject to the availability of funding.
2. SOS and MHU promote zero tolerance for discrimination/harassment based on gender, religious beliefs etc. All staff and volunteers shall adhere to strict guidelines in order to facilitate “silent” inclusion. Staff and volunteers also adhere to safeguarding provisions – a set of procedures and practices designed to ensure that no harm comes to project beneficiaries as a result of contact with MHU’s programs, operations or individuals.