About Inuka Coaching
A social enterprise on a mission to make wellbeing accessible to everyone
Besides watering plants, we're on a mission to make wellbeing accessible for everyone. And we only just got started.
Every year, more than 1 in 5 people in the world experiences depressive and anxious complaints to such an extent they affect how they take care of themselves, their jobs and their families. Yet, more than 50% in high income and 90% in low income countries never seeks any support. This is due to stigma, high cost of human quality care and lack of professionals.
There are many tech innovations such as chat-bots, ai-tools, apps and others, but adherance and enagement rates are low, and often poorly researched with the risk of doing more damage than help.
Inuka combines the power of human connection with the affordability, scalability and accessibility of technological innovation in our digital coaching platform Inuka. Our aim is to lower the barriers to find and give support, and so reach the 1 in 5 who struggle every year earlier, so escalations, lasting problems and negative effects for society can be avoided, and individuals and society can thrive.
Innovating for better mental health & a fairer economy
Our priority is impact, not just in mental health and wellbeing but also in how we run ourselves and share profits with those less fortunate. We do this via the Inuka Foundation, which is on a mission to make inuka accessible for free to the most vulnerable, with projects in Kenya, Palestinian territories, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands and Uganda.
No empty promises here: we hard-wired this into our DNA as Inuka Foundation has over 10% ownership of Inuka Coaching so we will always share with those most vulnerable.
A world where everyone gets support for what works for them.
Our vision: a world where everyone gets support for what works for them, right when they need it. Where working on your fysical health is as normal as working on your mental & spiritual health. And where challenges in life are seen as part of a life well lived and a possibility for personal growth and connection rather than something to be ashamed for.
Once upon a time, in June 2015, current Inuka co-founders Robin van Dalen and Dixon Chibanda met for the first time in Canada. Robin was working for Philips Healthcare at the time, researching what could be done with technology to increase access to mental care.
Dixon was one of the 13 psychiatrists in Zimbabwe for a population of 16 million people, and decided to come up with a radical solution to make mental health accessible to everybody in his country. His solution was to train community members – and in particular grandmothers – on problem-solving therapy to make mental health more accessible. This training was designed to effectively help people deal with a large range of issues, such as depression and anxiety complaints, poverty, domestic abuse, work stress, and medication adherence. With a solid Randomized Control Trial (RCT, the gold standard in science) he showed his innovation was effective, and published this in one of the world’s best medical journals, JAMA.
At the time Robin just had come out of her own depression and was looking for a way to give back. Dixon and Robin shared the same vision: to make such proven interventions more widely available via a digital platform. Not only in Zimbabwe, but everywhere. And so they started building the platform and did a pilot study. This study proved that the digital version of The Friendship Bench shows similar results.
Fast forward 6 years, and Dixon has become a global recognized star with his global TED-talk (4 million views!) and WEF appearance next to Prince Harry and CEO of HSBC, became an associate university professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine, helped over 30.000 people across the world.
Meanwhile, and awesomely, Inuka has spun out of Philips to become an independent social enterprise and customers like Tommy Hilfiger Europe, Flynth Accountants, PwC, the National Police & healthcare organizations that allow us to become more independent and follow our still big dreams.
The Inuka Foundation has projects across the world, funded by donors such as Grand Challenges Canada, Johnson & Johnson Foundation and Achmea foundation.
We are super grateful to work in a fantastic and diverse team of passionate and capable people. We work mostly remote with flexible offices across the Netherlands, Turkey, Kenya and London, and are growing fast. We are always looking for partners to scale our impact – so do not hesitate to reach out!
We are like a real friend. We listen, we care, and speak the (sometimes difficult) truth.
Scientific yet practical
With our method, we ensure measurable results for everyone.
Together, we discover what works for you.
Inuka for businesses: The engine for all our Impact
We support employee wellbeing via a simple, cost-effective digital coaching solution that empowers behavioral change. Using our proven Inuka Method, which combines 1-on-1 coaching sessions with wellbeing scans to track progress, most employees see measurable results within 4 sessions. Via our Inuka Academy we offer rigorous training, certification and consistent coach quality with our Coach Quality system.
Inuka foundation: for the most vulnerable.
Inuka foundation’s mission is to make mental health support accessible to vulnerable groups who are not able to access quality mental health support due to the lack of professional services, the high levels of stigma and the high costs of care. Our foundation achieves this through private and public partnerships that reach poor and vulnerable populations through mental and healthcare programmes, events and activities.
We work together with our partners in different ways. Firstly, by supporting the scale-up of our main foundation partner Friendship Bench in Zimbabwe and beyond by adapting the platform to their needs. Secondly, by making the Inuka platform available for free or at cost for existing mental health organisations, who can use it to reach more people and different target audiences with a digital service. And thirdly, by making Inuka coaching sessions accessible for free for the most vulnerable populations via our own projects.
The idea of the foundation having shares is to ensure that always part of the profit and value increase that is generated by Inuka is shared with the most vulnerable that cannot be reached by a business model. The Inuka foundation is the vehicle for this.
We are interested in further partnering with other organizations throughout the world who share our vision – reach us at [email protected]
Some of Inuka's social impact projects:
- In 2019-2020 we worked on the Achmea Foundation Programme together with our partner the Friendship Bench, this was concluded in 2021. The research, with 173 participants, showed that Inuka is feasible and acceptable as an intervention to the Zimbabwean low income populace, and preferred over WhatsApp for its anonymity, yet mobile data restraints make the WhatsApp-integrated version of Inuka highly attractive to reach scale. We build both a whatsapp integration as well as adapted the existing web-app to the needs of the Friendship bench, so they can use it going forward. The Friendship Bench is in process of publishing the paper.
- The Inuka foundation supports the Friendship bench in Zimbabwe by providing free access to Inuka Coaching platform which they can use to reach young populations via whatsapp at scale. The Friendship Bench aims to deploy inuka to >10000 people by 2023.
- In 2020 we partnered with Healthy Minds Foundation, a charity based in Nigeria to provide over 200 Nigerians with psycho-social support through Inuka’s mobile App. The programme consisted of a mental health awareness campaign, free mental health coaching sessions and referral support.
- Support strongminds, a well-known NGO in Uganda to reach more people during the covid-crisis using Inuka’s digital platform.
- End 2021 we started a project to provide mental health support to Kenyan nurses funded by Johnson & Johnson Foundation. We start with supporting 4000 nurses but aim to scale to a total nurse workforce of 70,000, who are dealing with unprecedented mental and emotional strain following the increased workload due to Covid-19 patients and also low wages, limited governmental support and resources.
- We have also recently been approved by Amnesty International’s due diligence process to provide coaching to 200 of Amnesty International’s Youth & Peace in Action members in 2022.
- End 2021 we won a 2-year tender together with KIT and Jazoor to deploy Inuka in humanitarian settings, starting in the Palestine Occupied Territories.
We're proud of our partnerships & memberships
Learn more about Inuka Coaching
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How Inuka works
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