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Amisa Rashid

Founder and Executive Director, Nivishe Foundation

Bold Question: What if we could build community resilience through mental health interventions?

Path to Metis: Amisa Rashid is passionate about global mental health and integrating it with community-based mental health approaches. She a young African Muslim woman who has a background in counseling psychology and the Founder and Director of Nivishe Foundation, which focuses on building community resilience using community-based mental health interventions and approaches and trauma-informed programs for social cohesion with our headquarters in Kibra.

Nivishe Foundation through community-based approach has impacted over 5,000 women and over 10,000 youth with programs providing training, workshops, counseling services, and creating safe spaces. This includes mental health clubs that involve forming partnerships with schools to work with teachers, pupils, and parents to provide a holistic intervention. This has led to a 40% in increase in those seeking mental health services at the grassroots level. As an all-inclusive organization, Nivishe offers psycho-social disability programs, including mental health services through sign language, serving 200 individuals with hearing impairments since it launched.

In 2019, Nivishe was awarded a grant by the Youth Engagement Society and she was nominated for the National DIAR Awards (Diversity and Inclusion Awards and Recognition) for youth in leadership among other awards and recognition with the latest one being recognized among other 100 most influential young Africans in 2021.Through her work at Nivishe Foundation, she was the only Kenyan among 10 other young leaders globally selected to participate in the 2021 Orygen Global Youth Mental Health Advocacy Fellowship for young leaders who are passionate about youth mental health and want to create change in the mental health landscape of their country.

Additionally, understanding the power of conversations for social changes and focusing on mental health awareness and advocacy at the grassroots level, through Nivishe Foundation she has partnered with a community radio stations in informal settlements like PAMOJA FM in Kibra, Koch FM in Korogocho to educate, inform, and engage community members on mental health and other societal issues, using simple, understandable local language as part of our community-based mental health approach. Until now the community radio talk shows has garnered a listenership of almost a million of listeners tuning in weekly, with 40% of the listeners reaching out for further mental health services.

Amisa partnered with the Deputy minister of Youth and ICT in Kenya to start a fellowship for community leaders on being community-based mental health champions. The first cohort call for applications had 800 applications, showing the need for such an initiative. Amisa hopes to increase the scope of her work by learning more about effective and sustainable mental health innovation, especially in simplifying mental health concepts and also breaking down the context of Health and socioeconomic injustice so that individuals at the grassroots level can be able understand them, which will hopefully create a more informed society who can are able to voice and address their own issues to policy makers and through public participations.

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Amisa Rashid
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