About Us 2017-07-21T03:27:04+00:00
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ABOUT US

Our association commit and act e.V. brings psychotherapeutic support to communities in need and especially people with a history of trauma in Sierra Leone, as well as Uganda and Liberia.

War, poverty, abuse and the recent Ebola epidemic have significantly affected the Sierra Leonean people. Through trauma and loss people can lose their sense of meaning, lose their feeling of identity or place in the world and develop ongoing depressive, anxiety and relational problems. Our NGO focuses on building hope,giving individuals and communities psychotherapeutic strategies to better enable them to cope with their current difficulties and focus on a valued life direction.

The goal of commit and act is to build a sense of trust again in the people we work with. To help individuals find the courage to rebuild their lives according to their own vision and values. Our local professional therapists counsel individuals and community groups. Additionally, commit and act trains psychosocial helpers in effective methods of psychotherapy and support them through regular supervision to help educate other regions in need of health promotion, health education or psychological support.

Awards and Recognition

In 2014/15 our work changed drastically in response to the Ebola Crisis. Our team has now been honoured to receive a total of four awards in recognition of our work, from the Bo District Ebola Taskforce, Bo District Council, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs, and the ‘Women for Change’ umbrella body for grass roots women’s empowerment groups:

An Award of Merit 2015 respectively went to

  • Hannah Bockarie, Director of our clinic, for her outstanding and excellent performance in social mobilization activities
  • Beate Ebert, chair of our board, for her distinguished and outstanding leadership role in the Ebola Emergency in Bo District
  •  ‘Kids Against Ebola’, an initiative that provides for children orphaned by the Ebola virus
  •  ‘commit and act foundation’ as a whole for the significant, distinguished and excellent performance of every member of their organisation

From our team, we would likte to thank you so much to all of you for your donations, kind words and generous hearts. Our Leonean brothers and sisters were sustained during the Ebola crisis knowing that they have the support of a caring international community. We could not have done this work without you.

What others say about us

Below is some of the media content that has been created about our work.

Steven C Hayes, co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy describes how we use ACT to prevent Ebola infections. The wonderful piece for the Huffington Post Online is titled Kissing the Banana Trunk.

The Psychologist, the journal of the British Psychological Society has reported on our approach to Ebola prevention in great detail here.

Julia Broska, from humanitarian aid NGO Welthungerhilfe was interested in our approach and interviewed director Hannah Bockarie. You can find a transcript, and the video of the interview in Julia’s blog here.

Hannah Bockarie
Hannah BockarieCountry Director // Sierra Leone
Hannah Bockarie Founder and Country Director commit and act foundation Sierra Leone.
Hannah Bockarie is a Sierra Leonan teacher, educated at Makeni Teachers College and has earned a BA in Social work. Hannah is also a trained psychosocial counselor, certified by the International Rescue Committee and Medecins Sans Frontieres Belgium, Sierra Leone. Hannah is The Founder and Country Director of commit and act foundation Sierra Leone.
In her previous role as social worker, she has led a shelter for girls who experienced violence for the international youth charity Don Bosco, Freetown. She is a very experienced caregiver and engaged in the education and supervision of her colleagues. Hannah brings expertise in representing different mental health programs in her country and has been consulted by the WHO on mental health efforts in the region.
Hannah co-ordinates the activities of the organization, leading core staff. She organizes the training workshops, and leads clinical supervision for local therapists and psychosocial counsellors. In recognition of her courageous and successful work the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone declared Hannah the leader of the psychosocial aspect of Ebola prevention in Bo District and she also received series of awards as the best Psychosocial Counsellor.
Beate Ebert
Beate Ebert1st Chairperson // Germany
Beate is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist (behavioural therapy). She works in private practice in Aschaffenburg, Germany, focusing on couples therapy and crisis intervention. Since 2006, she has continued her education in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and has become a peer-reviewed trainer in this therapeutic method. In 2009, Beate was inspired by Sarah Culberson, a friend with close family ties to Sierra Leone, to provide psychotherapist support in Sierra Leone and other areas of conflict.

Along with friends and colleagues she founded commit and act in 2010 and travels to Sierra Leone once a year, to provide workshops for local therapists and social workers. As first chairperson of commit and act, Beate coordinates the ongoing development of this foundation, focusing specifically on fundraising and supporting the psychosocial centre in Sierra Leone.

Thomas Szabo
Thomas Szabo2nd Chairperson // USA
Tom Szabo is an internationally recognized peer-reviewed ACT trainer and a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA-D). Tom is working to begin a men’s support program to help those who have committed acts of gender-based violence to reenter family partnerships with new relationship skills as well as new skills for managing their thoughts and emotions. Along with the c&a research team, Tom secured a grant to conduct research on using ACT to foster intra-familial relationship skills. He also works with the Social Enterprise team to help the Sierra Leonean center and shelter generate sustainability.
Ruben Rozental
Ruben RozentalFinances // USA
Ruben is the founder of Black Pearl Financial Services in Miami, Florida. His company is recognised as one of the pre-eminent financial services firms in the region. With decades of experience, Ruben brings a wealth of expertise in financial management to our operations and skillfully supervises the finances of commit and act as the elected Treasurer of the board.
Ross White
Ross WhiteResearch // United Kingdom
Ross holds a PhD from the Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), after which he undertook the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology training programme at the University of Glasgow. He is a Reader in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool, UK.

Ross has conducted research evaluating the acceptability and efficacy of psychological interventions for psychosis. He was the founding Director of the MSc Global Mental Health programme at the University of Glasgow. He is involved in active research collaborations in Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone that aim to develop community-based forms of support for ameliorating distress.

Ross has facilitated our workshops in Sierra Leone and contributes to the research team that is evaluating the ACT method within Sierra Leone.

Jennifer Nardozzi
Jennifer NardozziClinical Supervision and Secretary // USA
Jennifer is a clinical psychologist and a national speaker with a private practice in Miami, Florida. She is the former National Training Manager at The Renfrew Center, the first residential center in the US for treating those with eating disorders. She currently is in private practice and created The BE Program, an on-line intensive program to transform eating and body issues. She has presented at numerous national conferences and internationally in Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Russia, and Uganda.

Jennifer has led training workshops in Sierra Leone and uses her years of practise to coordinate the clinical supervision meetings for Sierra Leonean practitioners.

Corinna Stewart
Corinna StewartResearch and PR // Ireland
Corinna completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUI Maynooth). Corinna has worked as a research assistant on a number of projects in the area of mental health at NUI Maynooth, with the Irish Health Service (HSE), and at the Institute of Mental Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow.

She is currently undertaking a PhD at the NUI, Galway. Corinna assists with the evaluation of the workshops in Sierra Leone and the dissemination of our work to the scientific community and the public.

Carolina Gaviria
Carolina GaviriaNewsletter, Fundraising // USA
Carolina Gaviria, LMHC, NCC is a bilingual psychotherapist in private practice who has been part of commit and act since 2013. She is originally from Colombia, South America and has lived in Boca Raton, FL since 2000. Carolina is one of our US chapter board members and collaborates with our newsletter and fundraising events in the US. She enjoys working with people and is passionate about prosocial work and social change. Carolina is fluent in English, Spanish and German. She has published articles and presented at national and international conferences on eating disorders, depression, anxiety and stress management.
Tien Mandell
Tien MandellACT Training, Fundraising // UK
Tien is originally from Taiwan but grew up in London where she lives and practises. She is a psychotherapist in private practice specialising in ACT and FAP treatments.

Tien joined our team two years ago after an inspiring conversation with Beate at an ACBS conference. Tien leads our commercial and public fundraising efforts and has delivered training in Sierra Leone with us. Her loves are her children and partner, food and experiences.

Our team in Sierra Leone
Our team in Sierra LeoneOperations
Hannah Bockarie is supported by a group of talented and dedicated staff and volunteers. The center in Bo employs Hannah Bockarie, Fatmata Gbendeva, Edmond Brandon, and our groundkeeping team Alfred, Hassan and Abdul. We are grateful for the invaluable support of over twenty local volunteers.
Jackie Ming
Jackie MingFundraising // USA
Global Giving
Jackie is a business consultant for Weeks Marine, a leading marine construction firm. She is based in Houston, TX and has over 15 years of experience primarily in the oil & gas sector. She is well-versed in areas such as project management, sales and business development. Her roles over the years have consistently centered around client interaction/relationship building at multiple levels and across many disciplines for several transnational oil and gas service companies, in addition to serving as liaison to corporate offices worldwide.

Jackie earned her MBA in Global Leadership from the University of Houston in 2017 to complement her Bachelor’s in Business Management, also from the University of Houston.

Jackie has been involved in non-profit work with a special focus on children since 2007. She joined Commit and Act at the beginning of 2016 and is now serving as an advisor to the Board in addition to heading up the International Fundraising Committee.