Jenga Africa connect | share | build Thu, 15 Apr 2021 22:41:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Jenga Africa 32 32 97403511 The Campaign Sun, 08 Mar 2015 00:01:31 +0000 40 SECONDS, THE CAMPAIGN- 3mins ]]> 0 101 Sheilla Akwara on Jambo Radio, Kenya Sun, 08 Mar 2015 02:35:55 +0000 Sheilla Akwara shares her story on the 2nd biggest radio station and how she is now helping others

In August 2019, Sheilla Akwara represented Jenga Africa on one of the most popular stations in Kenya. It is widely listened to especially in rural areas as its programmes are transmitted in Swahili, the national language of Kenya. The talk was majorly on Sheilla Akwara’s story and the recurring theme was corporal punishment and the beating of children.

At the end of the discussion, the message was to not pressure children into what they do not wish to become, for example, if they want to become scientists or artists, they should not be pressured to become doctors or lawyers if this is not their desire. Parents or caretakers should also not beat children senseless as this is bordering on child abuse. We should counsel the child on why he/she is being punished and give them the benefit of the doubt.

“It is important for parents to also listen to the child and find out from the child what truly happened. The general assumption is that children are always guilty and always naughty, and so they are generally not given room to speak. Give your children a chance to explain themselves if they are being accused of something.”

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State House High School Sun, 08 Mar 2015 19:31:09 +0000 We visited State House High School to empower and inspire the students.

One of the elements of a school visit is getting to engage with students after a mentor session or a talk. The students had so much hope for their future and were eager to connect with us.

“Young children should never have to worry about their finances whilst at school, and Jenga Africa looks forward to giving sponsorship opportunities to these students in the near future, once we launch our school clubs.”~ Sheilla Akwara


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Serare Primary School Sun, 08 Mar 2015 19:59:54 +0000

“This has got to be one of the most amazing schools I attended when I was young. Going back to empower students was a true honor” ~ Sheilla Akwara

One of the critical areas Jenga Africa focuses on is schools and JA visits schools yearly to educate, inspire and encourage children. We are currently working on a school programme aimed at counselling children, focusing on the 3 pillars of JA.

Jenga Africa visited Serare primary school in Kenya to advise, encourage and educate students on depression and suicide. Serare Primary school is a day and boarding school located in Ngong, Kenya. Using her personal testimony, Sheilla Akwara shared her story on how she struggled with depression, and how she managed to overcome her many troubles.

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Jenga Africa to host mental health event Mon, 09 Mar 2015 00:51:16 +0000 The Star newspaper reports on Jenga Africa event happening in 2020.

The event will highlight the issue of depression and suicide in Africa

Please check our events page for updates.

Partnership Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya Mon, 09 Mar 2015 02:46:32 +0000 Jenga Africa attends partnership meeting in Nairobi, Kenya – hosted by the Ministry of Youth.

The Problem with the Word Mental Health. Mon, 09 Mar 2015 02:57:21 +0000 The problem with the word mental health is the many incorrect definitions and meanings it has. Many people shy away from this topic because there’s an assumption that an individual with mental health issues is insane or mad. This insane and mad person is then linked to violent acts and behaviors; the society shuns them and are often afraid of them. What this means is that all mental health issues are then lumped into one big bucket, where a depressed person can easily be seen as a danger to the society. An individual who is suicidal faces an even worse experience, and they rarely open up because they don’t want this “negative” label and perception placed on them.


We know that suicidal issues have many causes, from:

  • Environmental factors
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Biological factors

Yet – even though we have the three categories above, mental health is majorly viewed from a bio-medical lens, with most solutions leaning towards a medical approach. We speak of psychosocial support in Africa – however, this normally comes with some form of prescription, even when there’s a difference between needing support and having an illness. In Africa, mental health is attached to a lot of stigma such as:

  1. It stems from witchcraft
  2. It’s a sin
  3. It’s punishable by law, so people don’t want to speak as they are afraid of being arrested
  4. It’s in your mind
  5. It means one is mad or insane and is dangerous or can hurt others
  6. It’s an attention seeking behavior
  7. And so many others

Underreported Numbers

All the above makes one not want to speak up, and so numbers become unreported and underreported. Because of missing data, the extent of the issue is not clear, so the solutions cannot be wholly accurate. Many families shy away from reporting any incidents of suicide as they’re afraid of the communities’ judgement and perception. If we don’t clarify the word ‘mental health’, then we cannot move forward and address this topic in an effective manner.

What is mental health?

Food for thought:

A major reframing of the phrase ‘mental health’ needs to occur for us to be able to address this topic on a societal level. How can we change the way others think and perceive the word ‘mental’?

Send us your answers to

Please make sure to include where you’re writing from.

Jenga Africa’s Timeline… Tue, 10 Mar 2015 02:31:47 +0000 Jenga Africa’s timeline and how it all began…

2017 – June

Founded in 2017; after 20 years of batting depression and suicide ideation, Sheilla Akwara overcame her struggles and formed Jenga Africa to help other young people struggling with the same.

2018 – Dec

On 11th December 2018, Jenga Africa was formally launched with head- quarters in New York, Kenya & South Africa, with the prime purpose of promoting mental health and well-being of young people.

2019 – March

We began our promotion and advocacy work with visits to schools, appearances on radio
and TV, and also working with the United Nations and with various governments in Kenya and South Africa

2020 – March

Accentuated by COVID-19 pandemic, we expanded our outreach to include its impact on mental health, and established partnerships with key individuals and organizations.

2021 – January

We launched one of our mental-wellness bootcamp, where we help young people understand their journeys in life with practical tools that will help in dealing with their mental health

To read more about Jenga Africa’s timeline, click here…

The Introduction Sun, 07 Mar 2021 01:15:11 +0000 Jenga is a Swahili word which means ‘to build’. Jenga Africa aims to build African young people through suicide prevention programmes, harnessing the power of youth, building safe spaces for difficult and critical dialogues especially in schools; help young people to create a vision for their future so they can achieve their goals and aspirations in life.

Jenga Africa is a safe place for critical dialogues and critical thinking, above all, it is a place where we help young people to create a vision for their future, teaching them ways of dealing with difficult situations, and inspiring them through mentorship programmes.

Depression and suicide rates are rising astronomically in young people, and this matter calls for urgent attention and action. Therefore, governments, schools, families and the community at large need to investigate and address the driving force behind this epidemic.

Innovative strategies and solutions are needed to save our future generation and to ensure a healthy human capital. It’s for this reason that Jenga Africa (JA) was formed to contribute to solving this epidemic. Here at JA we focus on 3 pillars that guide our programmes and structures.

1) Mental wellbeing

2) Sports for development [with a focus on mental well-being]

3) Spiritual development [with a focus on mental well-being]

In this year of 2021, Jenga Africa is hosting a wellness bootcamp aimed at raising awareness on issues around depression and suicide ideation amongst young people. For more information on this event and to partner with us, email us at

Learn about the genesis of Jenga Africa here…

Our Programmes… Mon, 08 Mar 2021 01:22:01 +0000

A mental health app that’s like your little accessible pocket therapy. This will provide fun and easy to use ways to manage moods +therapy . This app has the potential to reach young people who would otherwise not receive help by removing the barriers
to treatment.

Jenga Africa’s School Clubs: This is our school initiative program where young people interact with mentors, counselors and access professional services; it is also a
place where young people are equipped with life skills.

Our mental-wellness boot-camps filled with informative sessions aimed at addressing depression and suicidal issues, and challenging youth to be the best versions of themselves.

Wellness Curriculum: We spent over a year developing a curriculum filled with sessions,
instructional practices and activities
aimed at helping young people understand themselves + their lives.