Although Rwanda has made great strides towards a complete recovery from the horrors of the 1994 genocide, the country’s key sectors like health and education are still way below the required standards.
A significant number of children in the country do not go to school and the few that are lucky to access a classroom don’t get the required quality of education.
Consequently, a lot of Rwandan youths do not have even the most basic knowledge of reproductive health.
It’s needless to say that this apparent deficit has immensely contributed to the growing number of early pregnancies and the continued spread of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS among teenagers in the east African nation.
Nevertheless, two young Rwandans hope to change the status quo with their new web and mobile app that gives teenagers access to information related to reproductive health.
The app, Tantine, is a platform that offers adolescents, young adults and parents full access to reliable, professional information on reproductive health via their Android mobile phones, tablets and computers.
The app is a creation of 23-year-old Muzungu Hirwa Sylvania and 21-year-old Uhirwa Sylvie, both of whom are medical students at the University of Rwanda.
Sylvania has volunteered for several public health projects in the country and is a certified human rights activist, while Sylvie is fascinated by the act of helping the vulnerable members of the society.
She is also a strong advocate of women empowerment and believes that caring for adolescents is caring for the future of the nation.
The two are currently working with a team of professional medical doctors and psychologists to deliver reproductive health education, mentorship and counseling services to Rwandan teenagers.
They are also working with volunteers to distribute Tantine tablets to people living in refugee camps in Rwanda.
“We thought of bringing those tablets and establishing a center where they [young people] can come and access the internet,” Sylvie told The Morning Call in a recent interview.
Experts in childhood development say teenage pregnancies in rural Rwanda remain a serious problem despite the numerous interventions by the government and non-governmental organizations.
These pregnancies have largely been attributed to lack of awareness on the risks involved. But with simple and reliable inventions such as Tantine, the future looks bright.
by Fredrick Ngugi