Many years ago, in our Tanzanian culture, youths used to talk with their aunts sensitive/very private issues including SRH, because it was somehow a shame to speak to their parents these issues. However, that taboo is now fading, therefore, youths obtain SRH information from various sources such as online portals or brainstorming with their friends. These information are usually partially correct or incomprehensive or even worse; inappropriate. The information from online portals is most of time not user friendly interms of language barriers and cost and this denies many youths their right to comprehensive and age appropriate SRH information.
Research shows that many youths don’t feel comfortable to go to SRH Service Delivery Points due to either the unfriendliness of the services provided or poor attitudes of the SRH service providers.
So, our team came up with eShangazi (Electronic Aunt) a chatbot that provides information, education and advice on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) via Facebook Messenger to all youths and their respective influencers.
eShangazi Bot is facilitated by various SRH experts in accordance with the laws, policies, guidelines and standards of Sexual Reproductive Health service provision that is set by our Tanzanian Government. Moreover, eShangazi is using Swahili language which is the language that is understandable by many people in Tanzania, this is also supported by the National ICT Policy (2016) of Tanzania, that encourages the development of digital local contents and the use of Swahili language.
eShangazi came into implementation because teenage pregnancies in Tanzania is a huge problem and the Tanzanian Government in liaison with Ministry of Health and Welfare has seen an importance of tackling this problem. (Adolescent pregnancy among 15-19 years has increased from 23% (TDHS 2010) to 27% (TDHS, 2015/2016.) i.e. Almost 2 out of 5 teenagers has begun child bearing before they 18 years of age(TDHS 2016)!
Knowing that many youths have access to Facebook and Tanzanian Internet Service Providers offer free access to various social networks, Facebook amongst, we believe, we will have a massive impact to these youths and the Facebook Messenger Bot seems to be just the right and perfect channel to inform, educate and advice these youths about SRH.
eShangazi is always ready to serve youths and their surrounding community anytime, anywhere with confidentiality, secrecy and privacy. We believe if youth access the right information about their body changes, they will be able to make right-minded decisions regarding thier “SRH” and their lives in general.