Amisa Rashid

Nairobi , Kenya

Amisa  Rashid

As a master’s student in Public Policy at Strathmore University in Kenya, Amisa blends academic study with her work as a counsellor and mediator specialising in community building and trauma healing. She was born and raised in Kibra, one of the largest informal settlements in Kenya and home to the marginalized Nubian community to which she belongs. As a child, she witnessed both inter-tribal war and post-election violence in her community. Today, the areas of Kenya she works in are often politically unstable: young people are used as tools of violence at grassroots levels, while women and girls deal with gender-based violence. 

Amisa’s ambition is to bring about a paradigm shift in mental well-being and quality of life by mentoring women and girls to pursue leadership positions, both within the community and in other organizations. To help reduce conflict and violence, Amisa founded the Nivishe Foundation, a youth- and women-led organisation that aims to build community resilience through mental health- and trauma-informed resilience programs. Since 2019, the Nivishe Foundation has been able to impact over 3000 women and over 10,000 youths in this way, creating safe spaces in communities and leading to a 40% reduction in incidents of violence. 

In addition, Amisa is a professional mentor and mental health consultant with Akirachix (which empowers women to be creators, drivers, leaders and decision-makers in STEM) and a professional mentor with Kamilimu (an all-gender mentorship program with students from various universities). In 2018, she also co-founded the Daawah Sisters Counselling Centre, providing weekly counselling services and mental health workshops at a local mosque for women and girls in the Muslim community. 

Amisa has received a lot of public attention, national and international, for her good work. In 2021, she was named African Youth of the Year and was among the 10 young people chosen globally to participate in the Orygen Youth Mental Health Fellowship. 2020 saw her nominated for the 35 Under 35 youth awards and the DIAR Youth in Leadership Award. In 2019 she was a recipient of the Zuri Award in Healthcare, which recognizes and celebrates women doing exceptional work in their communities. This year, she has also been a guest speaker at the Global Education Summit, as well as the Johns Hopkins’ Africa Business Conference on empowering the next generation of African leaders to foster economic development. 

If she wins the Prize, Amisa would use the funds to scale up her work at Nivishe Foundation. This would allow her to reach other communities while continuing to focus on the mental wellbeing of young women and girls in the Kibra slums. All these initiatives will be carried out by providing increased access to information, resources and development opportunities, as well as rapid mental health therapy sessions and reproductive health and counseling.