This is the story of the Awesomity Lab, a mobile application to address unwanted pregnancies among teenage girls.
The Awesomity lab is a team of IT enthusiasts who are very passionate about finding solutions for the society. So in 2015 when it happened to take interest in the issue of rising teen pregnancies. They started thinking about the possibility of developing a mobile application to somehow reduce them. At the time the team was only of 5 guys and even though they knew that they could develop the app.
You might have been wondering. Guys developing a mobile app for girls? This is exactly what was stopping them to start for some time.
“We felt that as guys we didn’t truly have a complete appreciation of the subject so somehow we ended up putting the idea on hold for 18 months” they are explaining to us.
Then Fileille joined the team in December 2016, and they didn’t waste any more time bringing her up to speed on the idea. She took interest in it immediately. She was just the force that they needed to set the project on sail.
“I was impressed that a bunch of young IT guys had taken interest in such a serious topic and wanted to help young girlsavoid unwanted pregnancies. It was really amazing. I jumped on it immediately and we started developing a Mobile application that would primarily provide vital information about sexual and reproductive health(SRH),” Fileille adds.
Soon afterwards they got another unexpected boost that increased their momentum and motivation for the project. Fileille was scrolling through her twitter timeline one day and she came across the innovation-accelerator (iAccelerator) programme that invited applications from young people with creative solutions to promote sexual and reproductive health. She encouraged the team to enter the project into the competition.
“This has helped us to develop the application fully and right now weare in the final stages of development. We have a prototype that will be ready to test come October this year,” agrees the whole team.
The application, which we named “Umbrella“, provides information to help girls and women of up to 40 years track their menstrual cycle. The platform also has digital content both in English and Kinyarwanda that educates them about general aspects of SRH.It includes content that demystifies some myths about sex and reproductive health that have actually been attributed to increase the unwanted pregnancies in teens.
Further plans are being developed. They plan to launch Umbrella on smartphones first then later introduce USSD codes so that girls and women, especially in rural Rwanda, can access the platform using feature phones. Umbrella users on smartphones will be encouraged to make a monthly donation for using the platform and the funds raised will be used to maintain Umbrella and provide girls in Rural Rwanda with a free sanitary material.
“It has been exciting for us to use our skills to develop an application that has the potential to positively impact the lives of Rwandan girls so that they can reach their full potential. We hope that in future as we take lessons – from Umbrella – we will be able to do more to help girls make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.”
More at the official website.