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Myths about sex-ed made her develop her app

Parents are increasingly realizing the importance of discussing reproductive health with their children in line with the world’s progress, shedding sometimes flawed traditional beliefs. In recent years, such conversations were taboo.

It was difficult for parents to openly talk to their children about how babies are made, the dangers of promiscuity, etc. Instead, they resorted to myths like children being born from the stomach.

It is not that parents didn’t lack love for their children; they feared that providing such information would lead them astray. However, not informing them posed risks as children, lacking proper knowledge, could easily be misled and fall into traps.

Gisubizo Abi Gaelle, not only was she not informed by her parents in her youth, but her teachers also failed to enlighten her, leaving her confused.

As an adult, realizing the gravity of the information she missed, Gisubizo founded Dope Initiatives, aiming to educate children about reproductive health through games.

Her organization has thrived, such that on the evening of December 8, 2023, Dope Initiatives was one of five projects awarded at the Hanga Pitchfest, securing third place and 15 million Rwandan Francs.

Gisubizo started the initiative after realizing that growing up without reproductive health education led her to rely on rumors from peers or elders, sometimes leading to dangerous situations.

She says, ‘I was told that I couldn’t get pregnant during the day, only at midnight. They said showering after sex would prevent pregnancy.’

Gisubizo highlights how the lack of reproductive health information significantly contributes to the high rate of teenage pregnancies.

According to the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) statistics, from July to December 2022, 13,000 girls under 19 experienced early pregnancy.

Gisubizo remarks, ‘Between 2020 and 2022, the number nearly doubled. It’s heartbreaking. Just one lie can ruin a child’s life.’

Noticing the rising issue of teenage pregnancies, she developed a tech-based game called Keza Game Quiz, where youth can find answers to their questions on this topic in a friendly manner.

The game is tailored to different age groups, providing appropriate lessons for those from 15 years downwards and upwards.

Available in Kinyarwanda, French, and English, this computer program poses questions and awards points, offering correct answers where needed.

Since its launch in September this year, Gisubizo has collaborated with 23 schools, and as of now, 9,200 individuals in these institutions have used the program.

She explains, ‘We focus on schools, especially in rural areas where children might not have access to smartphones, by installing the program on school computers.’

Currently, Gisubizo aims to help children aged 10 to 24, stating that the program is available on Play/App Store, in schools, and elsewhere.

By 2024, she aims to extend the program to 70 institutions and plans to raise over 50 million Rwandan Francs to expand the lessons offered and distribute the program across Africa, where the issue is also prevalent.

This will include using artificial intelligence technology to provide instant answers to questions debunking misinformation.

Sub-Saharan Africa particularly faces the highest rate of teenage pregnancies globally, with 12 million girls aged 15 to 19 giving birth each year.”

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