2017-18 Global MINDS Fellowship Program

Photograph of Global MINDS group in Africa

Over the course of one year (May 2017 – April 2018), Fellows worked with and supported Kenyan Community Partners to generate, test, evaluate and disseminate disruptive solutions to complex mental health system challenges.

This inaugural Summer Institute took place in Machakos Town, Machakos County, Kenya from May 21 to June 3, 2017. The Fellows were welcomed by keynote speaker Michael Njenga (Executive Director, Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in Kenya [USP-Kenya], and Board Member, National Council for Persons With Disabilities in Kenya) who inspired all through his call-to-action to promote and advocate for a more inclusive and rights-/values-based mental health system in Kenya, and globally.

Four complex challenges were identified by three of our Community Partners (CREATEKenya, USP-Kenya, and the Machakos Level 5 Hospital). These complex challenges evolved and were shaped through further consultation with Community Partners, field visits to key community sites, discussions with local decision makers and other stakeholders, and mentorship and coaching by Faculty Mentors. By the end of the two weeks, a community-oriented and contextualized narrative of the complex challenge had been developed and a disruptive solution was ready to be proposed. On June 2nd, 2017, teams pitched their solutions in front of an audience of 40-50 individuals, made up of judges, Canadian and African faculty and staff, Community Partner representatives, local community members, local Kenyan media representatives, and Kenyan government liaisons. All projects were eligible to receive seed funding of up to $5000 CAD.

Throughout their Fellowship Program year, teams worked to further build upon and refine their projects, through online participation in webinar sessions related to core content areas, and team meetings with Community Partner representatives and Faculty Mentors. As well, teams identified opportunities for potential synergy and collaboration between projects. In the latter months of the Fellowship Program, teams worked to develop their plans for sustainability and scalability, and knowledge mobilization activities.

We would like to also thank eCampusOntario for their support of the 2017 GMFP.