Testing our socio-economic and livelihood outcomes

Can our model improve income, educational attainment, savings, consumption, smartphone accessibility, and financial inclusion?

At Shamiri Institute, we envision a world where young people, irrespective of their location, can realize their full potential. Since our inception in 2018, we have been tirelessly working towards building this future. We provide young individuals with access to affordable, suitable mental health and wellness services.

Our mission was further empowered when the Agency Fund decided to support our cause. They are funding a comprehensive long-term study that will assess the efficiency of Shamiri in improving a broad range of socio-economic and livelihood outcomes. This study will examine three cohorts of past participants who received the Shamiri intervention from 2018 to 2021. The goal is to compare their progress with youths in an active control group.

The need for such a mission is more urgent than ever. Mental health issues are a significant barrier preventing young people from realizing their life's potential. Globally, these problems contribute to around 45% of the total disease burden in youths under 24 years old. In Kenya, where half the population is 19 years or younger, nearly one in two youths reports elevated symptoms of depression and anxiety. These problems correlate with negative socio-economic and livelihood outcomes. The unfortunate reality is that help remains largely unavailable and inaccessible for young people struggling with mental health due to systemic and structural barriers.

In response to these challenges, we developed Anansi, an effective mental health solution. Anansi is a two-pronged approach which includes an evidence-backed mental health intervention and a tiered caregiving model. This model connects lay-providers, trained clinical supervisors, and clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. Our rigorous testing in gold-standard RCTs shows that the Anansi solution significantly reduces mental health problems and enhances social relationships and academic performance.

As we gear up to expand our reach to 1 million youths by 2027, it is crucial to understand the socio-economic and livelihood outcomes of those who have received Anansi. These outcomes encompass income, educational attainment, savings, consumption, smartphone accessibility, and financial inclusion. If we find that Anansi has a substantial positive impact on these outcomes, it could guide further replication in similar contexts outside of our current footprint.

The Agency Fund, known for funding innovations that enhance people's agency over their lives, supports our mission. By building on data and technology and leveraging existing networks, they offer customized support at a massive scale. Their long-term vision aligns with ours, aiming for a vibrant ecosystem of players continually testing agency-oriented approaches, reaching hundreds of millions of people, and sharing insights across thematic and geographic boundaries.

At Shamiri Institute, we are committed to developing and implementing scalable solutions that empower African youth. By combining rigorous social science research with a deep understanding of the educational and mental healthcare systems of the communities we work in, we develop and roll-out effective and holistic interventions at scale. These interventions enable young people and communities to thrive. Together, we can build a brighter future for our youth.

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