Last updated 9 months ago
The Ministry of Health Zanzibar through Integrated Reproductive and Child Health Programme (IRCHP) received funds from United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA) for the purpose of strengthening Sexual Reproductive Health (SRHR) Youth Friendly Services, Family Planning, Emergency Obstetric Care and human resource for health. Particularly, the ministry wanted to build a youth friendly platform to help gather timely feedback on service availability vs. service quality, at the SRH Youth Friendly Services (YFSCs) facilities.
C-Sema was assigned by the ministry to gather information from youth on preferred platform, develop that platform and create demand for said service / platform, through both social and mainstream media. This progress report highlights achievements and challenges encountered so far and provides detailed information on the remainder of deliverables.
To be sure what type and what features that platform must have, we conducted information gathering sessions with youth to hear their thinking.
Information gathering session. The information gathering session was attended by youth from different YFSCs including KMKM, Raha Leo and Ministry’s staff from the Ministry of Health and IRCH department.
About the platform. WhatsApp was preferred by youth based on information gathering sessions. Specifically, young people wanted a platform with chatting features and content & use encryption abilities to provide a safe space for users’ content and identity protection. A WhatsApp Bot was developed to exactly fit youth request.
What is a WhatsApp Bot? “A Chatbot is a text-based dialogue system, which allows you to chat with a technical system. It has a space for both text input and output, over which you speak in everyday language with the computer system behind the Bot.” MessengerPeople dot com
The WhatsApp Bot was assigned a name #Mrejesho, simply ‘feedback.’ It comes with a main menu and sub-menus, specifically with features to allow seamless feedback and generates data with a visual dashboard to track trends on the bot.
To use the service, WhatsApp users can save the number (0779 109 990) to their phone contacts, then text the word ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to begin. The bot will then respond via a series of prompts, covering key queries and information - and ideally, dispelling some of the rumors and misinformation around the SRH topics.
Feedback and pre-launch session with adolescents and youth on the WhatsApp Bot.
The aim of this activity was to give an opportunity for youth (main users of the platform) and ministry staff especially from the IRCH department (the platform manager) to familiarize with the platform by testing. The youth and Ministry staff were able to test, ask questions and rise concerns that were responded to by C-Sema.
Below are some the issues raised by participants:
Most of these comments and questions from youth regarding the #Mrejesho platform asked during and after testing were responded to except a select few that we are still navigating through.
“Will the system ask us to update after sometime like ordinary WhatsApp does?” This was responded to that; it will not need an update and if it does it will be up to the admin to respond and not users.
The content on masturbation is missing information on the consequences of masturbation, what part of genitals should and should not be masturbated and why? (Bi Mwana from the Ministry of Health is ready to provide content to be added)
Are we limited to only 4 listed main contents or are there possibilities to expand topics? This was responded that, the user can ask anything on #Mrejesho comment space regarding any other SRH topic and it will be responded to anonymously by the platform administrator.
#341, the information on "Wanawake hufikia kileleni kupitia njia ya uke tu." is controversial, it needs more and clear elaboration, youth may think of other way. This is currently being worked on.
Since #Mrejesho is the main content of the system, it was suggested to be merged from the other list and stand alone, be clearly seen since most would like to directly go to the #Mrejesho page and not the other content.
#430 about Mimba/Ujauzito is missing information on signs and symptoms of pregnancy and lastly, when you go to the #Mrejesho profile on setting, there is a map of Zanzibar, this map should be able to direct you to the Youth Friendly Service Canters available in Zanzibar.
Handing over the #Mrejesho Bot Mobile Phone. C-Sema after launch session, worked on the comments and handled the mobile phone to the Ministry of Health so that they can proceed managing the platform and technically responding to day to day youth concerns raised in the platform.
Challenges we faced during this exercise. Zanzibar specific data on youth SRH services was hard to come by; and therefore, creating contents for the platform was a big challenge.
This story was compiled by the Childline Zanzibar media team.