CREDIT: Rainer Kwiotek

The Friendship Bench provides sustainable community based psychological interventions that are evidence based, accessible and scalable.

 OUR MISSION: Creating Safe Spaces and a Sense of Belonging in Communities to Enhance Quality of Life

OUR VISION: A Friendship Bench Within Walking Distance For All

OUR VALUES: Empathy & Connection; Anchored in Research



BBC world service June 2020.jpg

JUNE 30, 2020

The 'Grandma benches of Zimbabwe'

After years of economic turmoil, unemployment and HIV...



MAY 28, 2020

FRIENDSHIP BENCH; 'community grandmothers' helping the anxious

in Zimbabwe during Covid19



The Friendship Bench programme is an evidence-based intervention developed in Zimbabwe to bridge the mental health treatment gap. Our mission is to create safe spaces and a sense of belonging in communities so as to enhance mental well-being and improve quality of life through the use of problem solving therapy delivered by trained lay health workers. We focus on people who are suffering from common mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, known locally as kufungisisa; translated to 'thinking too much'. 

Why we focus on belonging.

When we feel we belong, we can relax, because we know we are not alone in fighting for our survival, we are connected. And as we are part of others, others are part of us. 
To ensure belonging we must talk with each other, we must create safe spaces where people can open up without fear of judgement. This simple act of expressing ones deep and dark struggles in an empathic and therapeutic environment enables healing and transformation to begin.
To feel a sense of belonging is essential for survival
We are not Conventional. 

our therapy rooms are outdoors under trees and our therapists are elderly Zimbabwean women. These women are city lay health workers who have become known as Community grandmothers.

Dixon Chibanda: Zimbabwe Training Grandmothers to Treat Depression at Davos World Economic Forum

Dixon Chibanda – one of 12 psychiatrists in Zimbabwe with a population of more than 16 million and founder of the Friendship Bench programme – he trained elderly Zimbabwean women to deliver evidence-based talk therapy on benches under trees to bring care and hope to those in need.


25 January 2019

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​Find us: 

4 Weale Road

Milton Park

Harare, Zimbabwe

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