Difu Simo Mental Health Engagement Project

Judy Baariu

2021 Winner 2021 Winner Science Engagement (Falling Walls Engage)

Judy Baariu is a trained nurse and scientist currently working as a research officer within the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya. She is passionate about promotion and prevention in mental health particularly in low resource settings. Her work currently involves coordination of day-to-day activities of the Difu Simo mental health engagement project, where she also leads participatory videos activities, aimed at mental health promotion. Judy works with the support of the lead principal investigators; Ms. Mary Bitta and Prof. Charles Newton, based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme.

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DIFU SIMO MENTAL HEALTH ENGAGEMENT PROJECT

Kenya

Difu Simo (a Kigiriama phrase meaning “Breaking Free”) is an engagement project in Kilifi, Kenya, which aims to promote dialogue among communities about mental health, to raise awareness and reduce associated stigma. The project has implemented massive mental health engagement campaigns combining expertise of collaborators in health research, film, local culture, and community members. Difu Simo’s approaches include educational forums, songs, dances, poems, as well as culturally sensitive participatory videos created by people affected by mental health problems.

The project is a collaboration between the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Documentary Institute of Eastern Africa, Malindi District Cultural Association (MADCA), and the County Government of Kilifi in Kenya.

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