Dixon Chibanda is the founder and CEO of the Friendship Bench. The Friendship Bench programme is a brief psychological intervention delivered by community health workers, it was started in 2006 in Mbare, one of Harare, Zimbabwe’s townships.
In his role as PI, he led the Friendship Bench team through the rigorous exercise of a randomized control trial (RCT) which was able to deliver the evidence of the intervention’s effectiveness which went on to be published in the Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA). With this backing evidence he has refined, adapted and scaled the intervention up both nationally and internationally.
Dixon is a key player in bringing various stakeholders from local health authorities, health professionals, national and international researchers and donors together to form successful collaborations. Chibanda’s research interest focuses on the development of interventions delivered by non-professionals aimed at narrowing the treatment gap for mental, neurological and substance use disorders.
He is passionate about connecting with ordinary people in ways that improve their lives using simple but effective programs that can be carried out by non-specialists. He likes to think outside the box as he explores ways of helping people with common mental health disorders. He is a black belt martial arts instructor and is passionate about using alternative interventions such as tai-chi and karate to enhance resilience in young people.