To answer your question in short, Maya Apa doesn't directly connect young people to SRH services, but in relevant cases, it does refer them to external professionals for expert help!
Maya Apa operates by allowing users to anonymously send messages (via text, voice and/or image) to the platform (via the app or over the web) and then forwarding the queries to relevant experts so they can answer the questions. In some cases, users may be referred to relevant external organizations and professions for further engagement, but that is not the norm.
I hope that answers your question! To find out more about how Maya Apa operates, you can check out this link: https://www.maya.com.bd/content/web/wp/language/en/what-is-maya-apa/
And if you have any more questions, please reach out again!
Thank you for the questions you’ve posed for us. I’d like to answer them in the order you’ve approached:
1) Yes, it is true we are not addressing SRH education directly, but the reality of Bangladesh is that no one really talks about SRH. It is considered an uncomfortable topic to discuss both privately, with families or friends, and publicly, in schools, for example. What KATRINA aims to do is establish a separate non-human-contact based channel where adolescents can get their sanitary napkins at their own convenience at an affordable price; at the same time, we will be providing them with basic SRH information via our information cards, and by linking them to the website of MAYA APA (maya.bd.com), we’re enabling them to know and ask questions about SRH privately and anonymously. Along with that, we have future plans of incorporating small trivia competitions and quizzes in our information cards to test the understanding and uptake of the users.
2) Last week, we prototyped at a school (Elokeshi High School) in Dhamrai, which is a semi-rural region. Because we were time- and resource- bound, we were unable to deploy a dispenser machine, but we tested with selling single sanitary napkin packages (with an information card) via a teacher who’s used to talking to the girls about SRH, and from the feedback we’ve had, the girls are interested towards purchasing the pads at Tk. 10, and they are especially interested in the possibility of availing single pads in case of emergencies from their school. We have not tested in a fully rural context yet, but Tk. 10 for a pad is quite affordable, as the unit cost of commercially available pads is just slightly higher than our price point. Besides, people of Bangladesh are becoming more and more quality-oriented, and the quality of the product we will be providing will definitely be worth the price!
3) As you know, we are planning to prototype and implement in secondary schools around Bangladesh, and a common practice of schools around this region is to have one Aya (cleaner) who is responsible for cleaning washroom and disposing of trash. So, when we implement KATRINA, this Aya will be responsible for cleaning out the disposal bin every couple of days.
I hope we have answered your questions satisfactorily, and if you have any further questions, regarding either our idea or our short prototype run, please reach out to us again.