For a very long time, young girls have faced a lot of challenges that arise with Menstrual Health and Hygiene. From the lack of availability of menstrual products to use, the lack of supportive WASH facilities in schools, to the lack of informed knowledge on Menstrual Health Management and facing discrimination from the society. The stress and worry young girls have of not knowing when “it will hit again”, eventually leads to the academic decline of young girls in Tanzania.
In response to this, UNICEF Tanzania partnered with Tai Tanzania, R – Labs and Mingati to localise Oky, a period tracking app for young girls in Tanzania, so that they may be one step ahead. While Oky has been rampant in other parts of the globe, the young girls of Tanzania had yet to access it. The goal is to fashion a child–friendly period tracking app that not only assists in predicting the menstrual cycle but also aids the Tanzanian girl with informed knowledge on Menstrual Health Management and Sexual Reproductive Health.
Oky had its very first user testing on the 12th of May 2022 held during Innovation Week Exhibitions at Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre. Facilitated by Tai Tanzania, Mingati, R-Labs and UNICEF Tanzania, the testing had 18 young girls explore the application, for the very first time. “The app is very interesting and I can find anything I want from the app. It is educative in nature and practical too,” exclaimed Sophia, one of the girls who attended the testing session. The testing was the baseline research that aimed at collecting information from the users on how Oky can be calibrated to suit the young Tanzanian girl. As it was made known, some of the young girls had been using other period tracking apps that did not provide relevant information for them.
The fascination in the young girls’ faces as they explored the app was quite vivid. Not only were the girls elated to find additional informed knowledge within the app, they were also mesmerized by the simplicity of the app as well as the enticing display. “The Oky app is beautiful, it’s amazing and unique compared to other menstrual tracking apps. It can help avoid misunderstanding about our health,” said Careen.
Oky is set to be designed in Swahili, a child-friendly application that not only tracks menstrual cycles but also provides Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) information that is well suited and relevant to the young girl in Tanzania. This project supports our MHH awareness objective, which is to have improved menstrual hygiene practices among adolescent girls as well as improve knowledge on menstrual hygiene among young girls. Through this program, young girls will have access to accurate information on MHH, practices and proper management.