Our duty to The Friendship Bench ® Programme

As the Friendship Bench Trust we agree to...

Act in The Friendship Bench's best interests; understand the FB purpose and strategy, make responsible decisions, deal with conflicts of interest and loyalty.

Manage The Friendship Bench's resources responsibly; manage risks, budgeting, income generation, funding, property, employees and volunteers.

Comply with The Friendship Bench's governing document and the law.

Act with reasonable care and skill; use our skills & experience, take advice when needed, delegate respectfully and responsibly.

Ensure your charity is accountable; comply with accounting requirements, reduce risk of liability, and be transparent and equitable.


In decision making we shall...


Act within our powers.

Act in good faith, and only in the interests of The Friendship Bench.

Make sure everyone is sufficiently informed, taking any advice you need.

Take account of all relevant factors we are aware of.

Ignore any irrelevant factors.

Deal with conflicts of interest and loyalty.

Make decisions that are within the range of decisions that a reasonable trustee body could make in the circumstances.

In all we undertake as Trustee's we will keep the Friendship Bench purpose in mind, which is to enhance mental well-being and to improve quality of life by providing sustainable community based interventions that are evidence based, accessible and scalable.


Dr. Ruth Verhey (TRUSTEE)

Dr Ruth Verhey  holds a masters in clinical and educational psychology from Germany and a PhD from Stellenbosch University. She is the Friendship Bench’s chief trouble shooter with a meticulous attention to detail. She is actively involved in all Friendship Bench activities particularly developing training material for the program and implementing research.  Her research interest is in integration of PTSD care in the existing Friendship Bench intervention. She is in charge of developing and adapting FB training material and trains trainers, nationally and internationally. She has developed and scaled up the peer-support and income generation component of the Friendship Bench. Ruth lives in Harare and has been with the Friendship Bench for the past 11 years. Ruth is fluent in four different languages and is passionate about Yoga. @RuthVerhey on Twitter

Prof. Dixon Chibanda (TRUSTEE)

Dixon Chibanda is associate professor in psychiatry and Global Mental Health at the University of Zimbabwe and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, respectively. He developed the Friendship Bench program in 2006 as part of his MPH field work and has overseen its’ expansion over the years. He brings his vast knowledge in research and global mental health to the trust. He sits on a number of local and international boards. 

Dixon is a martial arts instructor and is passionate about using alternative interventions such as Balavisx, Tai-Chi and Karate to enhance resilience in young people. Dixon speaks 4 different languages and  lives in Harare. @DixonChibanda on Twitter


Mandisa Ngwenya lives in Harare. She holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology and currently finished her second Masters in Inclusive and Special Education. She  works at the Harare International School (Zimbabwe) as a learning support specialist for the past 7 years. She brings her vast knowledge of local networks and personal experience of Shona and Ndebele cultures to the Trust. She is a non-executive trustee and  contributes an insightful alternative nuance to the Trust meetings. Mandisa is passionate about  how  communities can be involved in supporting children with learning difficulties. 

Jean Turner (TRUSTEE)

Jean Turner (Trustee) brings creativity and color to everything that is Friendship Bench including the board meetings. She provides insight on how best to tell the Friendship Bench story both locally and internationally. She is a graphic designer, artist and media expert and leads in all public engagement activities including the branding of Friendship Bench. She is currently pursuing a counseling psychology degree with the University of South Africa (UNISA). Jean is also involved in the income generating component of the Friendship Bench, which involves designing, marketing, and running group sessions with beneficiaries. Her emphasis is to make everything about Friendship bench user-friendly. She lives in Harare and has been involved with Friendship Bench for 6 years. Jean is passionate about outdoor activity and is an avid runner.


Thomas is the founder of INVESCI Asset Management company and has a wealth of experience managing investment portfolios for retirement funds and high net worth individuals. 


Thomas started off his working career as an auditor with Ernst & Young where he trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. After leaving EY, Thomas worked as an analyst and portfolio manager for Datvest Asset Management where in 2004 Thomas was promoted to Chief Investment Officer.

In 2005 Thomas moved to Johannesburg where he worked for BoE Private Clients as a Senior Portfolio Manager.  While at BoE Thomas personally managed a book of over R2 billion across all asset classes (domestic and international).


Thomas returned to Zimbabwe at the end of 2009 to execute greenfield and brownfield private equity investments in the Zimbabwean economy on behalf of a sizeable South African Company.  After successfully bedding down the P.E. investments Thomas left to pursue his long held dream to set up an investment management company.


On the academic side Thomas is a holder of the CFA charter with the CFA Institute of the USA, which is widely considered as the gold standard in the investment management field.  Thomas is also a Chartered Accountant and is a member of both the Zimbabwean and South African Institutes of Chartered Accountants.


Thomas has spent some time in Lausanne, Switzerland with the Swiss Finance Institute and is a holder of a postgraduate diploma in Financial Engineering and Asset Management (CFAME). On behalf of a Singaporean Group Thomas managed the entire process of acquiring a controlling stake in ZSE listed Zimplow Holdings and INVESCI currently oversees this private equity investment as GP.   As a consequence, Thomas is the Board Chairman of Zimplow Holdings Limited and he also sits on the Board of Governors of Arundel School.


Jiten Shah, a native Zimbabwean has joined the board of trustees of the Friendship Bench and brings with him a wealth of valuable and relevant experience.


Mr.Shah has a Bachelor of Science Accounting and Finance from Butler University in Indiana, USA as well as an Associate’s Degree in Pharmacy from the same university.


Since graduating in 1995 and for the last 20 years Mr.Shah has been a Director at Graniteside Chemicals PLC in Harare, he has held and continues to hold several Trustee positions on family and private trusts since 2009. In addition, Mr.Shah is a member of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and the Pharmaceutical Wholesalers Association.


Mr.Shah is particularly well versed in mentoring, conflict resolution, mediation, guidance/career counselling and negotiating.


Mr. Shah has a keen interest in golf and is a member of two courses in Harare as well as being a member of the Friendly Diplomatic Golf Association and the prestigious Young Presidents Organisation. 

LinkedIn: Jiten G. Shah


Elizabeth Puleng Tswana is a Human Rights Lawyer currently employed at the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. She provides the legal implication of activities Friendship bench is undergoing.

Academically, she holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) with the University of Zimbabwe and is pursuing a Masters in Human Rights, Peace and Development degree with Africa University.

Elizabeth has a passion for human rights, particularly the respect, promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities as well as gender mainstreaming. She enjoys dancing, cooking, African bead making and outdoor activities.

​Find us: 

4 Weale Road

Milton Park

Harare, Zimbabwe

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