A minimal approach to maximum impact

First, we develop (and test) interventions. Second, we disseminate (and refine) interventions. Third, we scale intervention to maximize impact

our three steps to impact

Develop, Disseminate, Scale

To provide youths, in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, with data-driven tools that improve their life outcomes, we have adopted a three-step approach that ensures that our tools are effective, sustainable, and can reach as many youths as possible


We rely on rigorous social science research as well as a deep contextual knowledge of the communities we work with to develop tools for young people. We test our interventions in small pilots. Those that survive the pilot phase are tested in gold-standard randomized trials with extensive follow-up (often lasting many months and years)


Once interventions successfully go through gold-standard field experiments, we refine them and work within the local communities and existing structures to disseminate them to the real-world. During dissemination, we test out different scaling and sustainability models as well as measure implementation outcomes


Finally, we ask ourselves: how can these tools reach as many youths as possible? The final stage of our process is scaling successful tools in a sustainable fashion. These efforts are informed by findings from the dissemination phase and a commitment to sustainability and amplifying our impact in the lives of young people

see how this model informs the development of our world-class youth mental health treatment

Our model in action: Developing Project Thrive!

Because youth depression and anxiety account for ~45% of the global burden of disease on youths (and prevent youths from fulfilling their potential), we set out to design a mental health treatment for these problems. Our team knew from the offset that in order to be effective, our intervention had to circumvent the existing barriers to youth mental health treatment: 1) the length and cost of traditional therapy, 2) the lack of mental health experts, and 3) the societal stigma that limits help-seeking. See (on the right panel) how our three-step model informs the development of this intervention.

  • Develop: Our team used social science research, our knowledge of the Kenyan cultural context, and multi-cultural collaboration to develop the Shamiri ("thrive") intervention for youth depression & anxiety. Shamiri was tested and refined in a pilot trial and in a large-scale gold-standard trial with many months of follow-up.
  • Disseminate: After showing that the Shamiri intervention reduced youth depression and anxiety, our team developed a dissemination model (called Project Thrive!) that embedded the Shamiri intervention within the existing caregiving model. This model is being tried in three counties in Kenya.
  • Scale: Findings from Dissemination are informing how we will scale-up the intervention to youths across Kenya.