Adolescents in Sierra Leone getting protected through a new Game Application
Photo by Jacob Wilson Save the Children April 2020
“My Sexual Health and Rights” is a new smartphone Game Application developed to protect children and adolescents in Sierra Leone launched by Save the Children. This is the first Game Application in Sierra Leone produced with all contents developed by young people and adolescents through the Danish TV Project. It provides information that will help them understand issues around puberty, teenage pregnancy, menstrual hygiene, sexually transmitted infections, sexual health and rights for safer choices around sex and personal hygiene related to corona virus.
Abibatu* age 16, living in Connaught Community a densely populated slum, shared her view after playing the first version of the Game Application:
“From the App, I have learnt that whenever I missed my period, I should not be afraid and I should tell my Mom or go to the health center because it maybe something else and not pregnancy”
In Sierra Leone, online misinformation on sex and sexuality is contributing to high risk behaviors by adolescents and young people leading to high rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in urban communities. Talking about sex is taboo in families and communities because sexual education is not taught in schools. The game application aims to fill this gap by offering reliable information for adolescents and young people to help them make the right decisions that will protect them from infections and pregnancy.
This unique and innovative approach was led by adolescents and young people. They were responsible for identifying their challenges, came up with solutions that are in line with their needs. As a result, they have been able to create a tool that frankly talks about sexual reproductive health that is adolescent and young people friendly. This game application can be accessed online or offline through smartphone or tablet; the most common and accessible channels of communication for youth.
In order to innovate and better understand the information needs of young Sierra Leoneans, adolescents and young people from the project’s operational communities and Limkokwing University conducted research and gathered content in four slum communities to inform messaging, features, type of avatar, colours and music, thus making it culturally specific.
Photo by Jacob Wilson Save the Children May 2020
With the increasing rates of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone leading to closure of schools, child-friendly messages on COVID prevention and spread have also been included to promote positive behaviors such as good hygiene practices and social distancing to mitigate its spread.
Launching the Game Application, Heather Campbell, Country Director of Save the Children Sierra Leone said “This Game Application is an exciting new approach that will improve young people’s knowledge on sexual reproductive health and COVID-19, particularly those living in vulnerable high-risk communities. It’s so important that in today’s climate of widespread mis-information that youth have access to reliable and accurate information that comes from their peers in a format they can enjoy and appreciate because nar den sabi mak den use am”.
She further stated “Save the Children is committed to complementing government’s efforts to achieve results for children by ensuring that we continue to work towards their survival, learning and protection. With this Game Application adolescents and young people will be empowered to make informed decisions not only in terms of health choices but also gain the confidence to engage their peers and take positive steps to stay safe during this pandemic.”
The Game App will be rolled out in Save the Children’s operational communities and shared with partners.
Note to Editors
In September and December 2019, the creation of an Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) Mobile App started with forty (40) adolescents/young people. Amongst these, 20(8 male and 12 female) were from the project’s four operational communities i.e. Aberdeen, Cockle Bay, Murray Town and Connaught. 20(15 male and 5 female) were students from the Innovation Hub of the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and Lulu Lab IT Consultancy Company based in Denmark led the process of development.
More information on Save the Children in Sierra Leone
Save the Children has been implementing programs to improve the rights and situation of children and adolescents in Sierra Leone since 1999, with a current portfolio that spans across the health, education, child protection, governance, water sanitation, and livelihoods sectors. Since 2015, Save the Children has been using a comprehensive holistic model to address adolescent pregnancy and early marriage, which includes increasing adolescents' access to accurate, gender-equitable, and youth friendly SRH information and services.
About the Danish TV Project
The Danish TV Project also known as ‘Mek wit ok bot Mammie en Daddie bizness” seeks to increase access to accurate Sexual Reproductive Health information and services among young people in and out of school. The target population is 1750 (50% girls) adolescents in the slums of Freetown on their sexual and reproductive rights and how to avoid sexual exploitation and unwanted pregnancies.
For more information on the Game Application contact:
Save the Children Advocacy and Communication Department
71 Sir Samuel Lewis Road Aberdeen Freetown, Sierra Leone