These descriptions of Friendship Bench can be used in any publication or broadcast as needed.
Short description of FB
The Friendship Bench programme (FB), developed in Zimbabwe and anchored in research is a scalable and sustainable community-based psychological intervention used for the treatment of common mental health conditions such as anxiety & depression, known locally as kufunigisia (thinking too much).
The FB intervention is delivered by lay (community) health workers who have been trained in basic problem-solving therapy, an evidence backed form of cognitive behavioural therapy. On the ground this means you see CHWs (called 'Grandmothers') sitting with clients on wooden park benches placed in safe spaces outdoors, where they talk clients through a structured 6 step process of how to identify problems, find workable solutions and then the provide the encouragement and reassurance needed to get clients to take the action steps necessary to achieve their goals .
Guided by their values of empathy and connection the Friendship Bench is creating safe spaces and belonging in communities, they envision a world where a Friendship Bench is within walking distance for all.
Long description of FB
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is an independent international humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency medical aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters or exclusion from healthcare in more than 60 countries.
Every year MSF sends around 3,000 doctors, nurses, logisticians, water-and-sanitation experts, administrators and other professionals to work alongside over 25,000 locally hired staff. Together they run medical projects in more than 60 countries around the world.
In emergencies and their aftermath, MSF provides essential healthcare, rehabilitates and runs hospitals and clinics, performs surgery, tackles epidemics, carries out vaccination campaigns, operates feeding centres for malnourished children and offers psychological support.
When needed, MSF also constructs wells and dispenses clean drinking water and distributes materials like blankets, plastic sheeting and other basic necessities.
Through longer-term programmes, MSF treats patients with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, sleeping sickness and HIV/AIDS and provides medical and psychological care to marginalised groups such as street children.
MSF was founded in 1971 as the first non-governmental organisation to provide both emergency medical assistance and bear witness publicly to the plight of the people it assists. MSF is an international network with branches in 23 countries.
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