Being is thrilled to announce that the Science for Africa Foundation (SFA) and the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care, using UK aid through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), are joining the Being Initiative’s global partners. Being aims to improve the mental wellbeing of young people aged 10 to 24 in thirteen priority countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, Romania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Vietnam.

Launched in October 2022, Being is hosted by Grand Challenges Canada (funded in part by the Government of Canada) and was developed in partnership with Fondation Botnar and United for Global Mental Health. Being is a collaborative initiative working to improve young people’s mental wellbeing by funding research and innovation that address the early drivers of young people’s wellbeing. The initiative values and invites partnerships from organizations, including those in the mental health and global health ecosystems, committed to evolving the current approach toward young people’s wellbeing.

“As we work to support the mental health needs of young people, particularly those most impacted by mental health challenges, we know the importance of harnessing the power of invaluable partners committed to young people’s wellbeing, and we’re thrilled to be joined by SFA and NIHR. As a collaborative initiative, the support of new and existing partners is vital to achieve our goal of improving young people’s mental health and wellbeing globally,” said Nicole Bardikoff, Associate Director, Global Mental Health at Grand Challenges Canada

SFA Foundation will play a crucial role in supporting Being’s objectives by managing longitudinal research programmes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to understand and predict the long-term effects of stressors (such as COVID-19, urbanization, and emergency circumstances) on young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Dr. Alphonsus Neba, SFA Foundation Deputy Director of Programmes, emphasized the importance of this partnership, noting the anticipated impact of the available resources. “This partnership is a game-changer for mental health in Africa and beyond. With the support from Grand Challenges Canada and other global partners, we can expand our reach and make a meaningful impact on the lives of millions of young people in low- and middle-income countries.”

The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care, using UK aid through the National Institute for Health and Care Research — who joined the initiative in late 2022, has supported Grand Challenges Canada‘s Global Mental Health program since 2019 for innovations that enhance community-based mental health care for young people in LMICs. The learnings acquired through Grand Challenges Canada’s mental health program have been crucial in developing Being. 

“We are delighted to support the Being mental health initiative alongside our global partners. Mental health is a critical challenge worldwide, and investing in high-quality, locally relevant research is vital to finding and implementing sustainable solutions. Being is taking a coordinated and strategic approach, engaging with people with lived experience, healthcare professionals and policymakers to improve access to services and support. Working together as funders, we can help address the shifting global disease burden and support the development of responsive health systems.” Said Dr. Inesa Thomsen, Head of International and Open Research Policy, UK Department of Health and Social Care.


For more information:  

Debora Aguillon  

Associate Communications Officer, Global Mental Health, Grand Challenges Canada  

[email protected]   

About the SFA Foundation:

The SFA Foundation is a pan-African, non-profit, and public charity organisation that supports, strengthens, and promotes science and innovation in Africa. The SFA Foundation serves the African research ecosystem by funding excellent ideas in research and innovation; enabling interdisciplinary collaborations and building and reinforcing environments that are conducive for scientists to thrive and produce quality research that generates new, locally relevant knowledge. SFA Foundation is proud to partner with Rwandan Ministry of Education, NCST and AUDA-NEPAD to support the launch of GC Rwanda as part of the African governments’ national launches of Grand Challenges. 

About the National Institute of Health and Care Research’s (NIHR)

The National Institute of Health and Care Research’s (NIHR) mission is to improve health and wealth through research. Globally, NIHR funds high-quality global health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The portfolio builds Research and Development capacity and capability in LMICs and the UK through equitable partnerships. The NIHR – funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care – supports research in developing countries that are eligible to receive Official Development Assistance (ODA). Working closely with the global health research community, we commission and invest in applied health research and training that responds to the diverse needs of LMIC communities, anticipates the evolving global burden of disease and addresses health system priorities. 

About Being

Innovating for Young People’s Wellbeing 

Being is an international mental health initiative working toward a world where young people feel well and thrive. We’re working together with young people to improve their mental wellbeing through research and innovation. By focusing on mental health prevention and promotion, Being aims to create positive, lasting change in local communities and beyond. We’re hosted by Grand Challenges Canada (funded in part by the Government of Canada) in partnership with Fondation Botnar, The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care, using UK aid through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the Science for Africa Foundation, and United for Global Mental Health.