Friendship Bench

Our total investment:
$850K unrestricted grants
Funded since 2018

Why we invest

An African woman suffering from depression makes less money, and her physical health – and the health of her children – is worse. And yet most people in Africa that need care for depression do not get it because there are not enough trained psychologists to meet the need. Friendship Bench’s big idea is that ordinary people - even grandmothers - can provide talk based therapy to reduce depression.  In Zimbabwe, where they were founded, Grandmothers are trained to deliver talk-based therapy to people struggling with depression, who are then plugged into a long-term peer support group. Evidence shows that this low-cost intervention works – an RCT found an 80% reduction in depression and suicidal thoughts after 6 months.  This solution can help get mental healthcare within walking distance for all. 

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