Long Read
9 December 2015

Mobile health project wins award for innovation

Technology is an essential tool in reaching the youth of today. Simavi’s partner Network for Enterprise Enhancement and Development Support (NEEDS) recognised this and started using mobile phones to reach and inform young people in an innovative way. Not only did this approach prove to be an effective tool, it won a Mobile For Good award by Vodafone India on December 3.

The idea for the awarded programme  ‘Stories of Life’ (also referred to as ‘Mobi-Sodes’) came after many young people mentioned that they buy micro SD cards to watch videos on their mobile phones and share these with friends. With Simavi’s support, NEEDS used this insight as the basis for developing educational video clips featuring animations or documentaries about sexuality, gender, menstruation, body changes in puberty, HIV/AIDS and other issues faced by adolescents.

The programme aimed to reach 150,000 young people aged 13-19 and increase their knowledge in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). By reaching out to young people in a positive and direct way, and allowing them to access correct SRHR information on their mobile phone,  NEEDS provides young people with an easy and discreet way to make informed choices.

About Stories of Life

Using short video clips taken on mobile phones (called Mobi-Sodes), adolescents are encouraged to share their life stories and learn from each other. The clips are stored on micro SD cards that can be shared and exchanged. Young people were also involved in the development of new clips on subjects that they felt relevant to their own situation, like gender stereotyping in rural India.

Currently, 30 youth groups have been established in 23 villages in Palajori block of Deoghar district, Jharkhand and  micro SD-cards have been advertised and distributed among participants.  Young people can now access this practical source of information privately and anonymously via their mobile phone, helping them find answers to critical questions related to sexuality and their health and rights.

In addition, 10 Adolescent Research Investigators have been trained to inform NEEDS about their peers’ opinions of the clips and to lead youth groups for discussions on SRHR issues for boys and girls in the villages.

The Mobile for Good Award

The Mobile for Good Award aims to recognise, promote and support mobile innovations for driving social change in India. The Stories of Life App won the award in the health (non-profit) category. We’re very proud of this achievement!

Our partner NEEDS has been very successful in developing and implementing the short video clips in the past 1.5 years. In the years to come further marketing of the video clips will be explored.

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