Info Ado: Apprendre a Vivre Mali
Due to social and religious norms, prejudices and poor access to information, young people in Mali are largely unaware of fundamental issues related to the their sexual and reproductive health (SRH), gender, and human rights. For example, it is not considered acceptable for young people to communicate with their parents on issues related to sexuality and prior to the InfoAdo program, there were few services in the country providing counseling on SRH and rights issues.
Services provided are not very responsive to the needs of young people, largely due to the poor quality of the services as well as constraints caused by religious and traditional beliefs. Service providers are largely untrained and there is a tendency to judge youth that seek out SRH services.
Girls in Mali are particularly vulnerable, due to high rates of sexual violence and widespread traditional sociocultural practices such as early and forced marriage and female genital cutting.
In addition, the outbreak of conflict in northern Mali in 2012, which forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, has complicated access to health services for many people and left youth all the more susceptible to violations of their sexual and reproductive rights.
What is Info Ado Mali?
Since 2013, Info Ado Mali has been working to strengthen young people's skills and understanding of sexual and reproductive health issues both in and out of schools through an eLearning environment, a mobile phone question-and-answer service staffed by trained counsellors, and community radio programming developed by and for youth.
The interactive eLearning environment, Click Info Ado, was designed by Butterfly Works and provides young people with a safe and dynamic source of reliable SRH information, circumventing cultural taboos that often preclude discussion of such topics.
OneWorld's mobile phone and web-based question-and-answer service, Weleli Info Ado, provides young people with anonymous, accurate and non-judgmental information and services from trained counsellors, extending both the reach and the impact of SRH and gender education. In Mali, the service is managed and staffed by the Malian Association for the Promotion and Protection of the Family (AMPPF).
The community radio component, Radio Info Ado, will allow OneWorld to reach thousands of youth in both urban and rural areas by broadcasting thematic shows on themes such as sexuality, puberty and physical changes, and family planning. The development of these radio programs by and for youth also builds young people's technological skills at a time when these are playing an increasingly important role in various aspects of people's lives, from social interaction to employment opportunities to political participation and influence.
Summing up the importance of these services, Mountaga Touré, Executive Director of the Malian Association for the Promotion and Protection of the Family, said:
"This project offers new technologies that will enable us to tackle subjects that have been very difficult for us to deal with in Mali. These are taboo subjects, and (this project) will enable young people to express themselves on topics that are important to them, but they've been afraid to talk about... The tool you have developed is so well designed, so useful, and so easy to access, that I think that Malians will make very good use of it. AMPPF is ready to invest its skills into this project... I think that young people will get invested in this project because the tools are very modern, very well adapted to the realities of their situation... It's a tool that we could not let pass us by. Even if you left, we would find a way to grab hold of it."
Info Ado Mali is implemented by a collaborative network of actors, including OneWorld UK, Butterfly Works, the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), the Association to Support the Development of Population Actions (ASDAP), ONG Wale, Delta Survie, the African Network for Education and Health (NGO RAES), Projet Jeunes, the Malian Association for the Promotion and Protection of the Family (AMPPF), and the National Ministries of Youth and Education.
Info Ado Mali is part of the My Rights My Voice (MRMV) joint project coordinated by Oxfam in eight countries.
Funding for the project is provided by Oxfam Novib with support from SIDA. The Learning about Living concept was developed by OneWorld UK and Butterfly Works Netherlands in 2007 and similar projects have been introduced in Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, Egypt, and most recently, Cambodia.
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