Kenyan incubator Nailab and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have showcased the four startups that took part in the iAccelerator programme over the last four months, focused on aiding young people in accessing credible age appropriate information on sexual reproductive health.
Disrupt Africa reported in August four social entrepreneurs had been selected to take part in the iAccelerator programme in Nairobi, after Nailab partnered the UNFPA in a bid to pair startups with expert mentors, provide them with business management and development training, and allow them access to seed-capital of KES1 million (US$9,800) each.
The four innovations – Imara TV, Sophie Bot, Jump Arena and Deaf Elimu – have now completed the accelerator programme, and have validated and developed their solutions. Through training, mentorship and focus group discussions with youth, they have been able to make their solutions relevant to the issues facing young people.
Imara TV is an online crowdsourced, youth-generated video platform on human development and sexuality that utilises YouTube to disseminate accredited content. Meanwhile, Sophie Bot is an artificial intelligence system fed with information on sexuality and sexual reproductive health that answers young people’s questions.
Deaf Elimu is a web and mobile based application that enables deaf people to search for specific and untranslated vocabulary and content on sexual reproductive health in Kenyan Sign Language (KSL), and Jump Arena is a mobile game that brings to life sexual and reproductive health information through gamification.
It is estimated that young people under the age of 30 years old make up 75 per cent of the Kenyan population, but many of these young people do not have access to accurate information on their sexual and reproductive health. The four solutions were designed to reverse this trend with a focus on content generation and dissemination, game learning, and peer to peer learning.
The solutions, in the four month pilot period, have been accessed by 73,895 young people between the ages of 15 and 21 years old.
“The value of such solutions is that we will see direct impact on behavior change of our young people through the creation of self based controls and understanding of their sexuality and sexual rights,” said Sam Gichuru, Nailab founder.
“It is our fervent hope that the young people of this nation will immensely benefit from these platforms translating to healthy lives and fulfilment of potential,” said UNFPA deputy representative to Kenya and officer in charge Gift Malunga.