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Prof. Dixon Chibanda

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. 


Jiteh Shah (CHAIRMAN)

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. 


Kanini Mutooni (VICE CHAIR)

Kanini Mutooni is a Managing Director at Draper Richards Kaplan, a Venture Philanthropy institution investing in global early-stage entrepreneurs creating impact. She is also a Senior Adviser for Toniic, the global action network for impact investors with over 300 asset owners representing over $16b in investible wealth.Prior to this appointment, Kanini was the Director for Investment at the USAID-funded East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, a $65m, 8 country initiative to attract investment and increase trade in the East Africa region.

Kanini is a UK Chartered Accountant with a record of exceptional leadership gained in East Africa, Europe and the United States. She is the immediate former Board Chair of The Global Innovation Fund, a $250m investment vehicle supported by the UK, US, Canadian, Australian and Swedish Governments. The fund focused on investing a range of capital for early-stage innovations in emerging markets with a focus on Food and Agriculture, Healthcare, clean energy and Fintech.

Kanini has worked at Board level in leadership positions at investment banks in London and US, such as Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Dresdner Kleinwort Benson. In 2014 she was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader for her exceptional leadership in business and global entrepreneurship. She is currently Chair of AMREF Health Innovations and she continues to be a Senior Advisor providing strategic advisory support to a number of Africa focused impact funds, such as the $150m African Agriculture SME Fund and Union Bank Privee’s (UBP) listed global equity impact fund.She is currently the Chair of the Investment Committee of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, a pan-African $250m challenge fund focussed on investing in early-stage agriculture and food SMEs.She is also visiting lecturer at the University of Capetown’s Bertha Center for Social Innovation.


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Patrick McCosh (TREASURER)

Patrick McCosh is a Bulawayo born Chartered Accountant with a Law Degree. He qualified with Deloitte and has worked in Australia and the United Kingdom. He returned to Zimbabwe in 1998 and worked as Finance Director, and later CEO, of the largest tour operator in the country. He moved on to work as Finance Director for public listed companies.  


Patrick’s passion is Sailing and he has won Bronze in the All Africa Games. He has also coached junior sailors for many years. He is married with two children.  Patrick is Chairman of the Newlands Residents Association and is now an enthusiastic supporter of The Friendship Bench.


Elizabeth Puleng Tswana (SECRETARY)

Elizabeth Puleng Tswana holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) with the University of Zimbabwe and a Masters in Human Rights, Peace and Development degree with Africa University.

She has worked for the Ministry of Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission on a vast number of human rights thematic issues.

Elizabeth has carried out human rights Consultancy work since November 2020. Her most recent accomplishment has been successfully carrying out an inclusion assessment on the rights of persons with disabilities to participate in political and electoral processes in Zimbabwe.  She provides useful guidance and advice for the successful implementation of Friendship Bench activities. 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, travelling and reading financial literacy books.


Karen Webb

Karen is the Deputy Executive Director for the Organization for Public Health Interventions and Development (OPHID), based in Harare, Zimbabwe. OPHID is a local organization supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) to implement the National HIV Care and Treatment Program in over 315 public health facilities across Zimbabwe.  She has over 19 years’ experience in public health and development program design and evaluation in sub Saharan Africa.


Karen is a passionate advocate for innovation and implementation science in public health programs and the pragmatic adaptation of evidence-based interventions like Friendship Bench at scale. Academically, Karen holds a Bachelors degree (honours) in psychology, a Masters of Science in Public Health and is currently completing her doctorate in Epidemiology and Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.



Dr. Elizabeth Berghuis-Mutubuki

Elizabeth is a Scientific Researcher at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands. In her role, she is part of the health economics team, assessing the impact of COVID-19, where she leads the health effects program. She holds a PhD in Health Economics attained from Vrije University Amsterdam. During her PHD she focused on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of treatments in low back pain. As a post-doctoral researcher at the Amsterdam University Medical Centre, Elizabeth was involved in the development of guidelines for physiotherapy practice using new research methodologies. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health with a specialization in Health Economics and Health Promotion from Karolinska Medical University (KI) in Stockholm. During which she investigated the health care seeking behaviour of caregivers of children with disabilities in Zimbabwe.

Elizabeth has worked as a physiotherapist in diverse physiotherapy practices in the Netherlands, and owned her own physiotherapy practice. She also worked as a Health Economics Consultant for the Royal tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam and researched into institutional arrangements for health financing in African countries, as part of the Rebuild programme on Universal Health Coverage. Elizabeth is passionate about equity in access and effectiveness of health care. She enjoys photography and is an avid reader.



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Julia Pettengill

Julia Pettengill is the Executive Director of the Schooner Foundation, a Boston-based private foundation that seeks to advance human rights by leveraging funds where there is the greatest need and opportunity. In her role, she oversees the vision and execution of the Foundation’s strategic direction and grant-making in social Justice, global health equity, education, livelihoods and environmental initiatives, domestically and internationally. Julia comes from a diverse background in international development, nonprofit work, capacity building, and fundraising with a strong focus on sub-Saharan Africa, where she grew up. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and currently serves on the boards Network of Engaged International Donors, Friendship Bench, and co chairs the advisory council for HEAL Initiative. Previously, Julia served as a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Pediatric Leukemia and Lymphoma Steering Committee, and co-chaired the Dana Farber Cancer Institute's pediatric patient and family advisory council.




Thomas Chataika 

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.


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Mandisa Ngwenya 

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. 


Celia (Smit) Whelan

Celia holds the International Certificate in Wealth and Investment Management & the Certificate in FSA Financial Regulation, both with The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments in the UK.


Celia has a broad background in Consulting, with most of her background spent specialising within the financial services industry both in Zimbabwe & abroad.


She began her career with Ernst & Young Harare in Audit where she gained wide experience during her articles. She then spent 7 years in the UK continuing her career in Consulting, building on her experience in Risk & Regulation within the Financial Services arm of Deloitte London. Celia consulted to some of the largest global banks (e.g. Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland & National Australia Bank) in England, Scotland & the Netherlands.

Celia’s experience covered various areas in risk & regulation (e.g. Basel II, Solvency II, SOX, etc.). She also gained experience performing Section 166 reviews on UK clients on behalf of the Regulator, the UK’s FSA which is where she developed her international regulatory knowledge.



Patrick Kariwo

Patrick Kariwo’s as Managing Partner is responsible for business development and relationship management with our valued clients. He has worked in the HR industry for more than 15 years now with specific experience in Recruitment, Personal Effectiveness Training and Career Guidance. Patrick’s early professional career entailed sales and marketing stints before joining Zimbabwe’s leading Recruitment agency, The Valcol Group in 1997. His tenure of 7 years eventually saw his introduction to recruitment.

During the period 1995 until 2008, Patrick managed a parallel career with the national broadcaster where he performed in the roles of television newscaster and radio presenter. Patrick has steadily built on this experience through regular presentations on the Speaking Circuit as a Motivational Speaker / Conference Facilitator and Trainer in areas that focus on Appearance, Communication and Personal Development



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