Both trials represent a collaboration between World Vision (WV) and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to develop a means by which non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can conduct scientifically valid assessments of the populations they serve. The initiative is supported and funded by the USAID Africa Bureau Complex Emergency Response and Transition Initiative (CERTI).
The study area for this trial was all of Rakai district and approximately half of the contiguous Masaka district in southwest Uganda. The districts are largely rural and the major language is Luganda. Most residents are poor and high death rates from HIV since the 1980s have had continuing adverse economic and social effects. This region was chosen for this study because it is the local area of operations for World Vision Uganda (WVU). WVU programs in this area currently focus on economic and education assistance to families and orphans affected by HIV. World Vision currently does not offer local mental health programs although staff believe the need to be large. The results of this field trial will serve as a prelude to mental health interventions to be implemented by WVU.