Shamiri: Improving Character Strengths, Wellness, Social Functioning and Academic Achievement in Kenyan High School Youths​
TWCF Number
Project Duration
June 1 / 2020
- July 31 / 2022
Core Funding Area
Character Virtue Development
Amount Awarded

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Christine M Wasanga
Institution Kenyatta University

Shamiri means “thrive” in Swahili. To help youth thrive in East Africa, the aptly named Shamiri Institute develops and deploys evidence-based interventions that improve the lives of children and adolescents. By promoting gratitude, purpose and the fostering of a growth mindset, the Shamiri program seeks to improve adolescent mental health. As part of the Global Innovations for Character Development initiative, this project will evaluate the Shamiri program, a four-week intervention delivered by lay workers. In previous evaluations, Shamiri was shown to appeal to Kenyan adolescents. It also reduced depression and anxiety, while improving peer social support and academic achievement. Building on these findings, this project will undertake a rigorous evaluation of the three character strength components of the program. In doing so, it will identify the effect of each individual strength on adolescent mental health, social and academic outcomes. Led by Dr. Christine M Wasanga, the research team will conduct a randomized controlled trial based in schools. The study has four arms: gratitude, purpose, growth mindset, and active control (study skills). The target sample size is two thousand high school students recruited from low- and middle-income neighborhoods in and around Nairobi. The project is a collaboration between the Shamiri Institute, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Project Resources
Most of the world's population of young people live in lower-and middle-income countries (LMICs; (Weine, Horvath Marques, Singh, & Pringle, 20...
Immatures' social development may be fundamental to understand important biological processes, such as social information transmission through...
In cross-cultural psychological treatment research, investigators must ensure that protocols for addressing risk are culturally tailored and f...
Treatments for youth mental disorders are a public health priority, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where treatment options remain lim...
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