Creating digital safe spaces for young people in Zambia to discuss sexual and reproductive health
Funder: USAID (under the Expanding Effective Contraception Options (EECO) project)
Programme Dates: 2015 – 2017
SmartChoices was the first youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) and family planning online community in Zambia. It leveraged mobile to engage youth around SRHR and generate demand for the Maximum Diva female condom. This online platform provided essential information about family planning, sex, relationships and contraception options to youth, whilst serving as a forum to introduce and promote contraception methods, in addition to testing market demand.
We strived to leverage mobile technology and to test its efficacy as a way to reach and gain the interest of young people around the topic of SRHR and driving interest in the uptake of the Maximum Diva female condom.
At the same time, the programme had to address the barriers of access to reproductive health information among Zambian youth, including cultural stigma and general lack of information.
By delivering content in a fun and engaging way, we enabled learning, sharing, discussion and participation through forums, quizzes and expert advice.
As the digital health partner, we
- Built an expert advice service which allowed the youth to ask anonymous questions in a digital safe space
- Provided essential information about family planning, sex, relationships and contraception options
- Served as a forum for addressing stigma and information barriers
We engaged 400% of our intended target of young Zambians, amplifying their voices and creating digital safe spaces to address harmful social norms.
- 210,000+ 18-24 year olds visited the site
- 22,060+ Facebook visits in less than 4 months, reaching 250,000+ overall
- 135,000+ site visitors in the first 6 months
- 500+ young people expressed interest in accessing family planning products
- 1,000+ young people submitted questions on the ‘Ask an Expert’ portal.