Thursday, July 25, 2013

After the Acquittal: The Need for Honest Dialogue about Racial Prejudice and Stereotyping

In her article "After the Acquittal: The Need for Honest Dialogue about Racial Prejudice and Stereotyping," Dr. Gwendolyn Puryear Keita (Executive Director, APA Public Interest Directorate) calls for an honest dialogue on race. In her opinion, only honest dialogues on racial prejudice and stereotyping can lead to increased group understanding and improved group relations.

To read the full article, go to

Or to read this article in the blog post format on the Psychology Benefits Society Blog

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Assisting Non-Governmental Organizations in Egypt

Volume 2, Number 7 July, 2013

                                                 THEory into ACTion
       A Bulletin of New Developments in Community Psychology Practice
Hana Shahin, The American University in Cairo

Editor’s Note:  While our outreach bulletins to date have focused on innovative community practice in the U.S., the need for community practice, and community building, is of course worldwide.  In this month’s issue, we focus on some innovative community activities in Egypt, where the need for wise community practice may be especially relevant in light of recent events.  

We welcome your own responses, as well as your contributions to these bulletins in the future. 

       Through the past years non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Egypt have been growing rapidly and vastly.  Especially after the revolution and changes in government, many interested groups have formed, and some of them have become established NGOs. These NGOs have mainly lacked three attributes: funding, governance, and human resources. This has led to the need for capacity-building training, and a constant search for funding. NGOs in Egypt rely on external funding; they suffer and struggle to survive due to the pressure they receive to abide by government policies.

       Egyptian NGOs have emerged mainly to fill the gap between the private and public sectors; more specifically, they have developed to fill the gap in services that the public sector cannot provide. Often they are the most influential and beneficial engines in their communities; therefore, helping the NGOs may be the most effective way to influence Egyptian society.   Consequently, at the American University in Cairo (AUC) there have been some initiatives to aid NGOs in fulfilling their purpose and help their communities in a more professional way. Three of these initiatives are the NGO Toolbox, Community-Based Learning, and an NGO Training Program.

       *The NGO Toolbox is a website created as a project in the Community Psychology Master’s program at the American University in Cairo. It aims to pass on the theory and practice of community psychology to benefit civic society in Egypt. This website provides a variety of resources to help Egyptian non-profits to better work with communities. These resources include information on finding out what a community needs through community assessment, designing prevention programs by identifying what works, and evaluating one’s own efforts. The sections of the website are divided into general resources, prevention resources, evaluation resources, grant writing, and NGO directories. Information about the Master’s program in community psychology at AUC is also provided.

       To decide what content to include, students thought about their own experience working with communities and identified information that would be useful to them.  Additionally, some NGOs were contacted via e-mail to find out what resources they were interested in seeing online.  The launch of the website included a variety of partner NGOs of AUC, where they were able to share ideas and recommendations. While the website may be very helpful, it is now only in English due to lack of resources; to fully benefit the NGOs, however, it needs to be in Arabic as well.

       *Community-Based Learning (CBL) is a program initiated by the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at AUC in 2007. It aims to empower AUC students, faculty, and partners to create learning environments across disciplines that facilitate academic excellence, personal growth, civic engagement, and build sustainable community capital. Recently CBL classes have become integrated as a sustainable component of the university’s core academic offerings, and have also helped build a community of partner N
GOs, providing them with supportive assistance in addition to promoting civic engagement.

       *To benefit local NGO’s, the Gerhart Center also created a capacity building program. It emerged from a needs assessment, in which managers and staff reiterated that their lack of skills caused wasted time and effort, in addition to burnout and putting their reputation at stake. This program trains NGO staff to enhance their work and that of their organization; the first trainings ran from November 2012 through May 2013, with 16 sessions on different topics based on NGO requests.

       Evaluations conducted after each session and after the completion of the program indicated that participants valued and benefitted from the training. The main training benefits were creating networks and bonds among the NGOs. Participants also valued the diversity of training topics, which they could apply to the real world, as well the diversity and expertise of the trainers and the participants themselves.  Although this training program was just a pilot, such efforts to aid NGOs will continue and advance as a continuation of the Gerhart Center’s and community psychologists’ efforts at AUC.

           Hana Shahin  ( is University Civic Engagement Coordinator and a graduate student in community psychology at the American University in Cairo.

This is one of a series of bulletins highlighting the use of community psychology in practice. Comments, suggestions, and questions are welcome. Please direct them to Bill Berkowitz at


Sunday, July 14, 2013

What’s Faith Got to Do with It? Churches as Partners in Ending Mental Health Disparities

In the blog post titled “What’s Faith Got to Do with It? Churches as Partners in Ending Mental Health Disparities,” Georgetown University Medical Center’s Alfiee Breland-Noble talks about Faith Based Mental Health Promotion approach.  According to the author, this is a new and innovative approach for reaching traditionally hard-to-reach, large segments of underrepresented communities with disproportionally high rates of mental health stigma.

To read the full article, go to the APA’s Psychology Benefits Society Blog.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Community Psychology: Past, Present, and Future

Many of us just returned from the most recent conference for the Society for Community Research and Action. For so many of us, it was like coming home. Personally, I don't think I ever see people as happy at any other conference as I do at SCRA (except maybe for other community psychology conferences). Those who couldn't attend can get a glimpse into the action by checking out pictures, posts, and more at the SCRA2013 tagboard

One of my favorite things about the SCRA conference is that it enables face to face meetings between people who otherwise only communicate through email or phone. Here's a picture that includes some of the main people involved in the Community Psychology Practice blog (we missed you, Sharon!):

Left to right: Christopher Nettles, Kyrah Brown, Olya Belyaev-Glantsman, Carlos Luis, Gina Cardazone   

Community psychology has a bright history, and thanks to Jim Dalton and the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice (courtesy of Jim Kelly), some of this history has been captured on video and shared with the world. Check out the history of community psychology video series on Vimeo:

As for the future, there's plenty up ahead, including a complete revamp of the SCRA website (get a sneak preview of an early version of the new site here).

Did you attend the conference? Anything you'd like to see? Please add a comment!

Gina Cardazone & the CPP blog crew