NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29- United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has launched ‘Oky Kenya’, an adapted version of the world’s first-period tracker offline app, specifically designed for girls living in low- and middle-income countries like Kenya.
The ‘Oky Kenya’ provides girls with appropriate and evidence-based information about their periods in fun, creative and positive ways. Its features include individualized period cycle trackers and calendars, tips, and menstruation information and it also functions offline; designed to work on lower-end smartphones, and is entirely free, without advertisements.
Shaheen Nilofer, UNICEF Representative to Kenya said, girls, have increasingly been searching online for important questions about their menstrual health but are not always accessing the correct information. “One of the main reasons girls are in search of information about menstruation is to dispel myths and misconceptions that often lead to anxiety, fear, and shame,” she said. “I would like to congratulate Oky Kenya for developing an innovative app for Kenyan girls, by Kenyan girls. This will help to break barriers and empower girls to take control of their own health and ultimately life.”
She added that the app will help break barriers and empower girls to take control of their own health and help them to dispel the myths and misconceptions about menstruation that lead to anxiety, fear, and shame. Nilofer added that in many rural settings and informal settlements, especially where there is limited clean water and sanitation, menstruation can act as a barrier to girls’ education, with girls missing school due to lack of access to sanitary products or fear of embarrassment. “Providing information about menstruation is critical for promoting gender equality and helping girls feel comfortable with the changes that they go through while still leading active lives,” she added.
Furthering, its mission to be accessible and inclusive, the app also has a read-out functionality so girls with lower levels of literacy or vision impairment can obtain reliable menstrual health information. Oky Kenya can be downloaded from Google Play in English and Kiswahili in Kenya since it is available in the Google Play Store. Oky is also being customized to other countries, including Burundi, South Africa, and Tanzania.
The information provided by the Oky Kenya app helps to remove these barriers and promote gender equality in education. This, in turn, can have a ripple effect on wider society, as educated girls and women are more likely to participate in the workforce, make informed decisions about their health, understand their options for family planning, and contribute to their communities.
UNICEF supported the adaptation of Oky to provide information about menstruation tailored to the Kenyan context, in partnership with LVCT Health, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education.