Shamiri20 20from20blog
Nov 16, 2022

Tools for Human Flourishing: Shaping the Future of Mental Health in Africa & Beyond (video)

With TWCF support, the youth-led Shamiri Institute is innovating interventions to help adolescents in Kenya leverage character strength as a tool for flourishing.

By Templeton Staff

Lack of access to robust mental health care is a roadblock to the success of young people in Africa, says Templeton World Charity Foundation grantee Tom Osborn, CEO of the Shamiri Institute. "People say 'Africans don't get depressed. I can't be depressed because I am an African,' but the truth is there is depression in Africa. Mental health is stigmatized in Kenya and many communities around the world. For example, in my tribal mother tongue, there is no direct word for depression," he shares in this Stories of Impact video. Yet, statistics show that 1 out of every 2 Kenyan adolescents struggles with anxiety and depression. Osborn co-founded the youth-led Shamiri Institute to help address this need. 

In Kiswahili, "shamiri" means "thrive." The Shamiri Institute aims to provide at-risk, low-income adolescents with "a chance to really achieve their life outcomes" and flourish. Its evidence-based, data-driven interventions are designed to help teenagers nurture and draw upon character strength. At Shamiri, a growth mindset is emphasized. Says Osborn: "Rather than thinking about their personal traits and attributes as being fixed, we try to train young people to think about these attributes as being valuable things that they can change through effort." 

In Kiswahili, "shamiri" means "thrive." Through character-strength-based interventions, Shamiri Institute hopes to help give at-risk youth a chance to flourish.


The Shamiri Institute hopes to shape the future of mental health in Kenya and beyond by making care affordable for all; personalizing care to an individual’s needs and circumstances; and integrating its programs with existing systems of caregiving and community life. A grant from Templeton World Charity Foundation is helping Shamiri scale up. In this episode, you'll get a glimpse into Shamiri Institute's programs, and hear more from Osborn. The video also features other leaders from the Shamiri team, as well as some of the program participants.

To learn more, watch the video with the above player.

Discover the podcast related to this episode.

Learn more about TWCF-funded research project featured in this episode.

Templeton World Charity Foundation’s “Stories of Impact” videos by journalist and senior media executive Richard Sergay feature human stories and critical perspectives on breakthroughs about the universe’s big questions. The inspiring narratives and observations in these award-winning videos portray the individual and societal impacts of the projects that bring to life TWCF-supported research.