Jamii Dashibodi: Stay smart, Make informed decisions
Jamii Dashibodi is a web based integrated dashboard and platform providing access to disaggregated comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health information related to knowledge, practices, and attitudes of adolescents and youth aged 10-24.
The period of adolescence (10–19 years old, “youth” defined as up to 24 years old) represents a critical window of opportunity when young people are forming their own attitudes, values, and beliefs and learning to make independent decisions. However, the period of adolescence is also a time of vulnerability and many adolescents experience threats to their sexual and reproductive health. Unintended pregnancy affects the lives of millions of adolescents in Tanzania.
Tanzania has made significant progress in control of the HIV epidemic in the country and impressive progress towards meeting PEPFAR’s 90–90–90 country targets. However, there is still a lot to be done especially, among young people. Many adolescents and youth engage in risky sexual behaviors such as not using condoms and having multiple sexual partners. Comprehensive knowledge about HIV is low with no consistent HIV education programs in schools and communities. With growing technologies and young people’s inquisitive and exploratory attitudes, digital platforms like Jamii Dashibodi are a more attractive platform to engage and reach out to adolescents and youth, providing an opportunity to get real time data and young people’s voices on issues around HIV. IT is hoped that Jamii Dashibodi and programs like it will have long-term consequences on health, education and livelihood outcomes, improving the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and youth is fundamental.
Approximately 31% of Tanzania’s population young people aged 10-24, and the country is plagued by adverse sexual and reproductive health indicators including a teen pregnancy rate of 27% and unmet need for contraceptives rate of 23%. It is estimated that 4.7% of adolescents (aged 10-19) are living with HIV in Tanzania, that 6% (15-19) and 10% (20-24) experience sexual violence, that 12% of adolescents have had sexual intercourse but only 9% (15-19) have reliable access to contraceptives. Despite the long term consequences, most parents have limited understanding and communication with their adolescents about SRH needs and HIV/AIDS issues. There is inadequate comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and services easily accessible to adolescents and youth. There is also a growing adolescent population engaging in risky sexual behaviors without protection and access to diagnostic services and treatment, and HIV testing environments are considered unfriendly to adolescent needs. These challenges in combination will make sustaining the progress of the 90- 90–90 strategic country targets achieved difficult.
Jamii Dashibodi (JD) A web based integrated dashboard and platform that enables access to disaggregated data on comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) issues around knowledge, attitudes and practices of adolescents and youth aged 10-24. The platform is aimed at assessing and improving knowledge, practices, and attitudes of young people on various themes such as growth and sexual maturation, sexually transmitted infections/diseases, contraception, gender-based violence and issues around parenting that facilitate the protection as young people. The web-based platform has a built in tool that collects data from adolescents and youth as they access the platform while improving their knowledge on SRH issues around the themes mentioned.
Data is collected through a tool known as ‘Jitambue challenge’ which is Swahili word meaning assess yourself, the platform also has peer to peer interactions and chat with mentors as the other area of interaction. The peer interaction and chat with mentors is an opportunity for adolescents to interact with mentors who are specialized on SRH issues and can answers questions raised by adolescents, any other issues/queries for attention, issues around vulnerability, or personal stories that they want to share including seeking referral information. Currently, the most active tool is Jitambue challenge which can be accessed both online and offline by in school and out of school adolescents as well as youth.
A human centered design approach was used to design, develop contents and features of the dashboard, whereby team members conducted formative research using focus group discussions and survey with youth and parents in Mlabani ward within Ifakara Town council, These groups provided an in-depth understanding of SRH issues, root causes and solutions to the problems and how Jamii Dashibodi could be a resource to address their problems.
Outcomes & Impact
The main goal of Jamii Dashibodi is to improve SRH knowledge, practices and attitudes of young people and increase appetite for data use among stakeholders and service providers by bringing out real time data and voices of adolescents/youth. As a result of grant and mentorship from DLab, Jamii Dashibodi was able to achieve the following;
The platform was piloted in Ifakara town council and it is now ready for scale up. We are progressing to a mobile application called Jitambue. The platform received 3,600+ visits in the past 5 months. It stimulated discussion around SRH issues within school health clubs. Jamii Dashibodi has helped teachers to understand specific SRH needs among their students and enabled them to provide support to students. For example, it was revealed that the sexually transmitted infection theme was very sensitive and that most students in the school did not have comprehensive knowledge of it so teachers requested support from doctors in the nearby hospital to come and deliver straight talk sessions on STI’s.
Jamii Dashibodi has generated interest from District and community leaders who have in turn provided the project with support to pilot the innovation. With the innovation generating data and information on knowledge, attitudes and practices on SRH, it provides the community and district leaders with an insight on adolescent’s needs and gaps that need to be addressed. It allows stakeholders to design interventions that directly impact those gaps observed by the data and can encourage support from implementing partners in their districts. Meaning, changed attitudes towards participation of adolescents in expressing their views in terms of knowledge, attitudes and practices in SRH issues.
Anitha Martine, a team lead and founder of Jamii Dashibodi, is a statistician, researcher and policy analyst. She has benefited from a $22,000 grant and capacity building from the Data for Local Impact (DLI) Innovation Challenge window four. Visit http://www.ditra.co.tz for more information about the project.
Dlab aims to engage, support, and connect Tanzanian innovators, developers, and solution providers to each other and to opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives. Women and Children group aims to reach the most marginalized and excluded groups, particularly teenage mothers and support community-based adaptation initiatives to stop gender-based violence and discrimination.