KEY INDIVIDUAL(s)

Ruth Nabembezi

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM
THIS CASE STUDY

Youth
Health Practitioners/professionals
Communities
Researchers

KEY CATEGORIES

Health Education

Youth

CONTACT CTIN

CASE STUDY

Ask Without Shame: Supporting youth in sexual and reproductive emergencies via mobile tech

TYPE OF ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE

NAME

EMAIL

WEBSITE

Ask Without Shame

info@askwithoutshame.org

STATUS

COUNTRY

FOUNDING DATE

Live

Uganda

2015

N/A

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CASE STUDY

Ask Without Shame provides accurate emergency sexual health information to youth in Africa through mobile technology. This is done through an Android app, WhatsApp, calls, and SMS. Medical experts and counsellors are available 24/7 to assist users with the right information regarding sexuality at the fingertips of every youth from the age of 12 to 35 years without judgment or shame. Ask Without Shame aims to reach one million youth in East Africa by 2018, scale Ask Without shame in other African countries five years from then and eliminate sexual taboo Africa by 2050.

WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM AND APPROACH?

In Uganda, Embarrassment and fear prevent the majority of adolescent girls from seeking information about sexual reproductive health and services. Just like any other sexuality topic. The subject of menstruation, however, is too often taboo and has many negative cultural attitudes associated with it, including the idea that menstruating women and girls are ‘contaminated’, ‘dirty’ and ‘impure’.

This false information tremendously stigmatizes girls and causes psychological pain. Women and girls in rural settings and in particular girls in schools suffer the most from stigma. They often end up suffering in silence and believing that something is wrong with them while staying disempowered.

Ruth Nabembezi is the founder and CEO of Ask Without Shame. Ruth grew up in an orphanage home in Uganda. Her parents and sister passed away because of AIDS. When Ruth’s sister developed severe skin rashes, the neighbours in her village believed that she was demon-possessed and was taken to a witch doctor to be cleansed but she eventually died. Ever since Ruth developed a strong frustration for people in Uganda not having the right information in regard to sexuality.

After Ruth joined the Social Innovation Academy (SINA) and started working on the problem of shame and stigma when it comes to sex education. The idea of a Sex-Education-App and text message service for information without shame emerged. So far Ask Without Shame serves thousands of youths globally.

Ask Without Shame provides emergency sex education via mobile phone to Ugandan adolescent girls, young women, and other youth. They provide accurate information at the fingertips of every user via an Android App, WhatsApp, Hotline and SMS service. It is a free and anonymous service to answer questions regarding sexual matters without judgment or shame.

Medical experts are available 24/7 to assist youth with the right information, whatever emergency they are facing and whatever question they have regarding body changes, HIV, STDs, sex, contraception, and pregnancy.

Success

Since the launch of Ask Without Shame in 2015, the multi-platform has responded to over 250 000 questions with over 5000 active users per month and have also trained over 900 peer educators for youths over 85000. extracted from Ask Without Shame)
Because our founder Ruth has been able to transform her own difficult past into a strength, she won the African Women Award in the category of “Young Change Maker”, she won the Queen’s Young Leader Award and was nominated for the BBC Outlook Inspirations Award. Ask WIthout Shame also won the appsafrica Innovation Awards in the category of “Social impact”. All this happened in 2016. (extracted from startup) . How the app has helped African youth

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NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.