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App launched to help local girls track their periods

Young girls are scared to tell their parents they have started menstruation because the response is that they have started playing with boys.

In a quest to make young girls’ menstruation cycle better and more understandable, the New loveLife Trust in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched the Oky App on Friday last week at its youth centre in Orange Farm.

The Oky App is a menstrual health and period tracker designed for young girls to navigate their cycle while they are educated about staying hygienic.

Nothando Chamane speaking about how the App has been helpful for her

Period conversations are often silenced and girls end up being afraid to talk about it or ask for help. This is what the App was created for, to be their friend that makes them feel that menstruation is normal for females.

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Dr Sufang Guo, Chief of Health and Nutrition at UNICEF South Africa said, “The Oky App is so powerful because it was co-created by girls for girls. This digital tool empowers girls and can have multiple positive impacts, from better physical to mental well-being.”

The aim of the App is to address the pressing issues around menstruation, such as school absenteeism and lack of access to sanitary products.

Developed with input from young girls, the app stands as a beacon of empowerment and education.

It also promotes the use of mobile technology for health information and services among adolescent girls while improving the target population’s overall digital literacy and skills.

According to Thili Livhadi, Gauteng Provincial Manager for loveLife, the issue around lack of knowledge when it comes to menstruation comes from lack of communication from home.

Young girls are scared to tell their parents they have started menstruation because the response is that they have started playing with boys.

LoveLife ground breakers doing a ice breaker dance for the girls.

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“It is important as a parent to involve yourself by opening the conversation. For, fathers contribute by buying sanitary towels and giving your daughter. Through that you are breaking the silence and they will start to feel comfortable to talk about their challenges,” said Livhadi.

He concluded by saying, “If you do not start the conversation, someone outside will start it and it will not be grounded with pure intentions.”

Nothando Chamane, one of the learners who attended the launch and has already downloaded the Oky App spoke about how it has helped her and made things much easier.

“I have been using the App for three weeks now and it is very helpful in tracking my next period. I love the animated features there and I am able to journal my days leading up to my period.

Learners from Aha-thuto S.S attending the Oky App launch

“I like that you can choose a language of your choice,” said Chamane, a Grade 11 learner from Aha-thuto Secondary School.

The App is available for downloading and it works offline. This is not just an App but it is a movement towards breaking the stigma surrounding menstrual health and powering young girls to take control of their bodies.

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