Recovery Mobilization in East Africa


Africa Image.jpgPhoto Credit--Yahya Idiz

In 2001, more than 100 representatives of newly rising recovery advocacy organizations participated in a recovery summit in St. Paul, Minnesota to lay the foundation for a national recovery advocacy movement. Visions of changing the world flourished amidst the practical details of forging what would become Faces and Voices of Recovery, but even the most grandiose among us could not have envisioned the reach of this movement across the US in the years to come nor could we have envisioned that this early work would serve as a catalyst for recovery advocacy movements in other countries. To our amazement, that is precisely what unfolded. The lesson was clear: recovery made visible is contagious--easily permeating the boundaries of nation, race, religion, political ideology, generational divide, social class as well as diverse pathways and styles of recovery initiation and maintenance.

Spread by recovery carriers and visionary professionals, we have witnessed recovery mutual aid groups, new and renewed addiction treatment organizations, and new recovery community support institutions rising across the globe--from new treatment resources in South America to recovery cafes in the UK to annual recovery parades in Japan. I recently had the opportunity to interview four individuals--Lonnetta Albright, Dr. Calvin Trent, Andre Johnson and Dr. David Whiters--who have been deeply involved in mobilizing people in recovery in Tanzania and Zanzibar along with with local professional and religious leaders to forge a recovery-oriented system of care within the East African cultural context.

I think those interested in recovery advocacy, peer based recovery support services and the development of addiction treatment in Non-European cultures will find this interview quite fascinating. It reveals a remarkable story of how experiential knowledge drawn from work within African American communities in Detroit, Atlanta and Chicago were used to inform and inspire the development of recovery support services in East Africa. To access the interview, click here.

Africa Rally Against Drugs in Zanzibar.JPG