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SmartME and Health[e]Living: Integrating training for community workers and an app for adolescents

Combining 2 high impact strategies: life skills & SRHR information sharing for adolescents and blended learning for community workers

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Tell us about your vision for this project: Share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years

By 2022, we have grown along with the rapidly increasing smartphone adoption and internet coverage in Sub-Saharan Africa. Starting in Uganda, but with the possibility of upscaling to other East African countries, we aim to directly train 570 community workers who will train at least 57.750 young people, of which at least 25.095 will continue learning, whenever and wherever, using the SmartME app, distributed by the community workers. See Table 1 Estimated outreach.

Who will implement this idea? Or what’s your strategy to implement in the next 6-18 months?

Uganda: Country representative Health[e]Foundation(0,5 fte) o Needs assessment and research for SmartME o Evaluation of Health[e]Living course o Organization of pilot workshops Local coordinator of partner The AIDS Support Organization(0.5 fte) o (Recruitment for) needs assessment and research for app o (Recruitment for) evaluation of Health[e]Living course o Coordination and recruitment for pilot workshops The Netherlands/Europe: Project manager Health[e]Foundation(1 fte) o Coordination and communication between partners o Translation of needs assessment and research to app design and content App developer(1 ft) See Table 2

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

With the exponential increase of smartphone adoption and internet coverage, especially among youth, we should start now with the development of the app for adolescents so we have a functional product, adjusted to local needs and preferences, when smartphone adoption and internet coverage is booming. As this is now still relatively low in rural areas in Uganda, we will pilot in urban areas. See Infographic app brainstorm for the results of a brainstorm session with community workers.

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

Health[e]Foundation is a horizontal organization with 2 directors, 4 project managers and 1 IT manager. If insights are uncovered that lead to changes to the strategy or processes this will be discussed in the team. In case of mayor changes, the Board will be involved. Health[e]Foundation is dedicated to support a digital agenda for innovation in global health, which translates in exploring opportunities to increase the use of eHealth and mHealth solutions in our education programs.

How long have you been working on the project?


What year was your organization or group started?


How many full time staff are needed to implement your idea?


What most attracted you to the UNFPA Young People's Sexual and Reproductive Health Challenge?

With Health[e]Living we have been training community workers to improve young people’s life skills and SRHR, aiming for healthier young people, healthier adults in the future and stronger parents of future generations. Our dream is to combine the blended learning program for community workers with an app for adolescents. Being part of a cohort of innovative organizations and partnership with UNFPA, including potential connection to funder networks will open up doors to make this happen.

Share the URL for your Business Model Canvas Here

Opportunity Areas – Select those that apply

  • mHealth
  • Other

What specific problem(s) are you trying to address? (300 character limit)

Uganda struggles to fulfill the educational needs of youth causing high dropout rates, high HIV and teenage pregnancy prevalence. Young people face peer pressure to have sex and coercive/transactional sex is common, while knowledge about safe sex and family planning is lacking(Banks&Sulaiman, 2012).

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address? (500 character limit)

In which region in Uganda to pilot the app: considering smartphone adoption and internet coverage among youth. Exact content of the SmartME app and how to be presented. Find a balance between on- and offline content/features: the app should not use too much storage or data when downloaded, with connection between SmartME app and the e-learning app for the community workers and how to realize in-app interaction between youth, community workers and health services. Funding needs to be sought.

Who are your end users? (1000 character limit)

With this project Health[e]Foundation aims to empower community based organizations (CBOs) to offer sustainable life skills education programs to members of their communities. In the first year we aim to train 2 groups of 30 community workers and educators in Central and Eastern Region in Uganda with the Health[e]Living blended learning program. The program increases the development of knowledge, skills and values in the community workers. Each of them will transfer their knowledge and skills by reaching out to at least 35 young people (10 - 24 years old) and introduce the SmartME app to them. For the adolescents, life skills and SRHR education (via training activities and app) will strengthen existing knowledge, positive attitudes and behavior to prevent risky behaviors, negative attitudes, myths and misinformation. In the first year, a pilot version of the app will be launched and key users will be identified to develop the app with a maximum input of the target group.

Explain your idea. (500 character limit)

We integrate 2 approaches: blended learning for community workers working with adolescents and a life skills and SRHR information app for youth. The Health[e]Living program offers a comprehensive approach to life skills and SRHR education for community workers to strengthen their outreach activities to young people. The app SmartME makes information accessible anytime, anywhere. Via interactive tools young people are challenged to develop decision making skills, values and norms. See Fig. 1&2

What is your value proposition? (500 character limit)

We combine two high impact strategies: blended learning and information sharing. With the training program we empower community workers with knowledge and skills to provide adolescents with accurate information and life skills. The app facilitates and enhances access to SRHR information and personalized services for the adolescents. Training in combination with the app boosts the integration of knowledge and information, a global trend, and fits the world of the youth.

What's different about your idea compared to current solutions? (500 character limit)

The combination of the two approaches makes this idea different: (1) community workers facilitate face-to-face life skills and SRHR education for young people and (2) young people are introduced to a life skills and SRHR information app empowering them to access SRHR information anytime, anywhere. By introducing this app the community workers engages with the young people in a casual and fun way promoting dialogue, exchange of ideas and the establishment of a relationship of trust between them.

What are the key reasons why end users would turn to your organization over another?

  • Convenience / Accessibility: Making products accessible

What would success look like for your end users? (500 character limit)

Young people have access (1) to country-specific comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights information (as promoted by UNAIDS) via the SmartME app accessible wherever, whenever and with whomever. They will be empowered (2) to make healthy informed decisions and to protect themselves and others against risk-taking behaviors, which will improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes (3) such as a decrease in STI infections and unintended pregnancies (Haberland & Rogow, 2014).

How would you measure the impact your idea has on your end user(s) ? How will you measure the success of your program? (500 character limit)

Number of community workers trained Number of adolescents reached Number of adolescents enrolled in the SmartME app Anonymous user data to measure how the app is used Baseline survey to measure knowledge and attitude of young people before enrolment in the app and measurements at certain milestones in usage (f.e. after being enrolled for 3 months, or after having watched a certain amount of videos, reaching a certain level in a game etc.)

What strategies will/are you testing to acquire end users? (300 character limit)

To harness sustainability Health[e]Foundation works with local partners to build upon and strengthen existing structures for health and education. Community workers with strong connections to young people in their communities reach out to them via word of mouth and engage them in the program.

Key partnerships - Who will you partner with to make your idea work? (500 character limit)

We have strong ties to our long time local partners: The AIDS Support Organization Uganda, working in HIV prevention and improving the quality of life of persons, families and communities affected by HIV/AIDS and Hope Orphans and Community Development Association (HOCDA), a Community Based Organization working with vulnerable and marginalized groups in different communities. For app development we work with Industry62 - a digital design company, specializing in digital services with impact.

What is your organization’s name? (150 character limit)


Tell us more about you: (750 character limit)

Health[e]Foundation, a nonprofit based in The Netherlands, was founded in 2003. With blended learning, a successful training method to provide large-scale education for health and community professionals, especially in resource-poor settings, Health[e]Foundation offers efficient solutions to the challenges of creating and implementing global health education programs. Health[e]Foundation is experienced in training community workers on life skills and SRHR education for young people. To be able to engage young people and community workers into the development and implementation of the app, we aim to tap in on the strong networks and relationships of trust our partners have established over the years with the communities they work with.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Women-led organization
  • International/global organization

Where will your idea be implemented? (200 character limit)

Pilot country will be Uganda. After the pilot we would be eager to expand to countries such as South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, etc., where we have strong partnerships with local organizations.

What do you need to get started? (500 character limit)

Financial: implementation of Health[e]Living blended learning program, app development Intellectual: research on existing mHealth solutions and SRHR information apps, local need assessment Human: project manager in Amsterdam, local project manager and collaboration with partners

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • It is still in planning phase and does not exist yet.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organization Location (200 character limit)

Health[e]Foundation is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and we have local country coordinators based in Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa.

What is your organizational status?

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Early Stage Innovation: I am exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.



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