University students develop App for social challenges

By Lisbeth Kageni I kageni@uonbi.ac.ke

University of Nairobi students have developed a mobile phone app through which they can access relevant information to address their challenges. 

The app dubbed RADA was developed by 12 students with the help of the university’s Centre for HIV Prevention and Research (CHIVPR), UNESCO, and Sexual and Reproductive Health Alliance (SRHRA). 

 The app guarantees privacy, confidentiality, and anonymity for the users and tackles issues such as mental health, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortion, substance and alcohol abuse, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV and Aids.

The students noted that these issues have led to school dropouts and needed to be addressed urgently. After designing and developing the app prototype, the students, who had little or no knowledge in IT, were trained to code by UNESCO.

The content was developed with the assistance of CHIVPR, UNESCO, and SRHRA, and validated by relevant stakeholder s, including the Ministry of Health through the Department of Reproductive Health, the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), JHPIEGO and the National AIDS and STI Control Council (NASCOP), among others.

 During this process, it was apparent that the app needed to address other relevant issues beyond the health domain, and therefore content on security, socio-economic matters, including job opportunities, were added.

The final android phone app was launched on June 13, 2019, during the Nairobi Innovation Week. Today, with the support of UNESCO, RADA has been disseminated to all University of Nairobi campuses and to four other universities, namely Kenyatta, South Eastern, Masinde Muliro, and Pwani. Currently, counseling services are available to University students but this will change soon to accommodate all young people of appropriate age.

The app is available to everyone who is able to download it from the play store at no fee.

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