Best Projects 2022 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs, or informal programs.
Balehe; Discover Puberty
Explain your project in details:
Balehe is an initiative to interactively engage with Kenyan teenagers on matters pertaining to puberty. Balehe is Swahili for Puberty. The main objectives of this initiative is to interactively educate teenagers on changes that happen in puberty for both boys and girls using audiovisual tools through gamification, visualization and VR videos. This is meant to offer an engaging and excited learning platform to discover their bodies' physiology and anatomy. The Kenyan formal education system of 8-4-4 is teacher-based instead of learner-based and bent on mastering instead of understanding concepts. It also emphasizes on annual exams and subsequent grading as a measure of understanding, instead of continuous assessment and random assessments as a measure of levels of understanding. As a result, concepts in schools are not well understood but rather crammed and basic understanding of human health wanting. This means that there is a need for better learning experiences to ensure a more holistic understanding by students, such as the Balehe Initiative. The main activities of Balehe are: 1) Offers educational and medically reviewed articles on puberty: the stages of puberty, the physiological changes in both boys and girls as well as the pathology of puberty, such as precocious puberty and delayed puberty. 2) Engages teenagers through QnA, group discussions, quizzes and one on one forums. This is to address the myths and misconceptions around puberty and address specific concerns that they may have. 3) Offers referral to professional psychologists or medical doctors when needed. 4) Provide audiovisual experiences for learning such as VR videos and visualization quizzes. The innovative approach used is the incorporation of technological advances into puberty education to improve learner's attention and education success. The use of visualization quizzes and VR videos ensures a graphic mastery of the concept of puberty among teenagers.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Good health and well-being(SDG 3) begins with a depth of knowledge of the human body, possible pathologies and informed decision making on health decisions. The educative experience of puberty among teenagers will help them understand their reproductive systems and own their reproductive health decisions responsibly, more so because their knowledge capacity is heightened. This is one of the many ways of empowering teenagers to make well informed reproductive health decisions to reduce the burden of reproductive health related illnesses. Statistics in Kenya show that teenagers and young adults are the age group at highest risk of HIV/AIDS new infections while the contraceptive prevalence rate in Kenya lies at 59% as of 2019. This is the current situation that Balehe is targeting to change. For example, an understanding of the maturity process and functionality of the reproductive organs will quench the curiosity associated with early coitarche in teenagers and embrace contraception. An understanding of the uterus and cervix physiology and histological features will reassure one on the need for pap smear screening tests and alleviate the fear of pap smears seen in young adults today. An understanding of the pathologies of the reproductive system and their graveness will ensure proper preventive measures are adhered to voluntarily to avoid or manage sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. These are some of the long term impacts of the Balehe initiative on SDG 3. The measures to evaluate success of the Balehe initiative are the quarterly coverage rates among teenagers, website traffic in views, VR videos views and comparing this with the set targets.
Sustainability and future plans
The sustainability of this initiative lies in the extensive embrace of modern technology among Generation Z . These are those who were born between 1996 and 2010, majority of whom are currently teenagers and young adults. This extensive embrace of technology is seen in the increasing number of teenagers and children as well with access to their own smartphones in Kenya. Years back, smartphones in Kenya were a preserve of working adults. However, teenagers are accessing smartphones and the vastness of the internet at an earlier and earlier age. Fibre optic connection of internet has also been improving in the recent past even into low income settings in Kenya such as slums. It is therefore sustainable to use resources already at their disposal to continuously and excitingly educate them as they grow into young adults. The main sources of financing for this initiative are client subscription fees, adverts and events at learning institutions. For future growth, we would like to advance the website into a mobile application, create more and more VR videos than we already have and host virtual learning workshops for teenagers. This will be possible after commercialization and revenue acquisition has been successful for about 2 years.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I am the co-founder of this initiative, aged 25 years. I am an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at University of Nairobi, Kenya. I am thrilled about the broadness of the medical field and endless possibilities of the digitization of health. For our patients to make informed health decisions, a clear understanding and knowledge base is required. For this to be achieved, digital tools can be utilized to achieve a better result, such as use of internet and digital learning experiences to convey the same message. It is for this reason that I decided to use audiovisual tools and VR videos for education on health topics such as puberty. Among my strengths are curiosity and neophilia, and i believe that these are the traits informing my pursuit of this initiative and the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition as well.