Training and Supervising Lay Providers in Kenya: Strategies and Mixed-Methods Outcomes

A study in Kenya trained ordinary people without mental health backgrounds to deliver a school-based program helping teenagers with anxiety and depression. The training, primarily led by undergraduates, was successful and received positive feedback, showing that this approach could be practical and effective.
The Shamiri Intervention is a four-session program
A total of 13 lay providers underwent a 10-hour training session
Supervision meetings were held twice weekly
The overall satisfaction rating of the training was 6.46/7.00

The Challenge

Mental health is a critical area that needs attention worldwide. However, there is a need for cost-effective and efficient ways to deliver mental health interventions. Training lay providers (people without formal mental health training), is a promising approach, but more research is needed to understand the best training and supervision procedures.

The Solution

The Shamiri Intervention, a four-session, school-based program, was developed to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in Kenyan teenagers. The delivery of this intervention was through trained lay providers.

The Study

The study aimed to document the training and supervision procedures of the Shamiri Intervention and collect feedback from the lay providers.

The Procedure

A total of 13 lay providers underwent a 10-hour training session. The training was primarily led by undergraduates, and supervision meetings were held twice weekly. The session recordings were assessed for fidelity and quality of services.

The Results

The results were encouraging. The fidelity and quality measures were rated very good to excellent. The lay providers' quantitative ratings of the training were also overwhelmingly positive, with an overall satisfaction rating of 6.46/7.00. Most of the comments about training style, content, and personal interactions were positive.

In Conclusion

The study provides preliminary evidence that a brief, undergraduate-delivered training can prepare lay providers to deliver effective mental health interventions. The study also emphasizes the importance of considering the local context and continuously collecting and addressing lay provider feedback in future research.

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Research Informs Our Work

See below on how research guides us every step of the way:

Science can help us shape the future

The goal of our research is to develop interventions that can help youth actualize their life outcomes, identify which interventions work and why, and develop and test novel and accessible approaches to dissemination and scaling in order to maximize our impact.

Open science

Open science allows us to collaborate and share our work with the world. Our data and publications are open access.

Multicultural collaboration

Multicultural and interdisciplinary collaboration amplifies the communities that we serve.

Contextualized research

Research is not done in a silo. It is done with and for communities. Context matters.

"Culture brings us together, and allows us to remain successful across many generations of Shamirians. It is what makes us unique."

Tom Osborn
Founder & CEO | Shamiri