Ma3looma Egypt: Using Facebook to talk about sexual and reproductive health
By Chantal Foyer
While the legacy of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution is still contested, one outcome is clear: it has made Facebook the most popular website in Egypt. And when they get to Facebook, Egyptians spend more time on it than on any other website.
OneWorld saw the immense opportunity to use social media to talk about sexual and reproductive health with young people, so that early on OneWorld's Ma3looma project harnessed the popularity of social media there. What started as a project based on a dynamic website on sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as an SMS-based question-and-answer platform quickly took to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Ask.fm with overwhelming success. The Ma3looma Facebook page has reached half a million likes today and is attracting more by the day.
The Ma3looma website provides articles on sexual and reproductive health, as well as on lifestyle, such as diet and relationships. The idea is to make the former more acceptable by using the latter. The Facebook page acts as a portal to the website by linking to specific articles and by engaging with young people through 'Fact of the Day' posts and edu-taining YouTube videos [in Arabic].
Last month, Ma3looma asked users what they thought of the Facebook page. Of the respondents, 91 per cent rated the page as good, very good or excellent, and when asked what they liked about it, 36 per cent pointed to its coverage of sensitive issues. Ma3looma also asked Facebook fans what they would like to see more of and nearly half of respondents wanted more medical information. Ma3looma posts about five times a day, and 85 per cent of respondents to the questionnaire want to see even more posts.
The OneWorld and Ma3looma teams are happy to see that there is a real thirst for information on sexual and reproductive health and rights in Egypt - and beyond. In fact 41 per cent of Ma3looma's fans come from other countries in the Arab world, such as Iraq, Libya and Tunisia. There are more Ma3looma fans in Baghdad (44K) than in Alexandria (30K).
Also, the male/female ratio among Ma3looma users is almost 1:1, compared with an Egyptian Facebook average of 1.77 males for every 1 female. This shows that despite the sensitive nature of the content, many girls and women openly like the Ma3looma Facebook page and share and engage with the posts.
Check out the Facebook page and watch this blog for news on the Ma3looma.net re-launch. The new website will be branded in a more youth-friendly way, make the content more accessible from the home page and also make it mobile phone friendly, as most page views both on the website and on Facebook come from smartphones. For a preview, here is the new logo:blog comments powered by Disqus