It’s an uncomfortable affair to have a proper conversation on sexual reproductive health (SRH) with adults, it’s even more uncomfortable to have it with the youths. Now imagine how difficult it is, for persons in the Deaf community… I’ll give you a sec…. See? It’s a mountain of a problem that requires a mountain of a solution.
Firstly some of the SRH terminologies do not exist in the Deaf vocabulary e.g. vasectomy, and those that do exist are not taught to trainers as the curriculum is too shallow and only teaches basic communication. Therefore those in the Deaf community haven’t had it easy accessing SRH information but two member of the community Hudson and Alfred want to change this.
Hudson (became deaf at 4 years) while Alfred was born Deaf, were both privileged enough to attend a formal education setup upto college level, on matter sexuality they pretty much had to learn like any other youth. By themselves, peers or the internet. There are several solution out there that supports the larger community like Sophie bot and Jump Arena but there is none or any functional solution that supports the Deaf. Well, not until a few months ago when Hudson and Alfred teamed up with UNFPA, Ministry of health and the Nailab to develop Sex Elimu.
Sex Elimu is a solution that will enable Deaf youth or sign language practitioners search for specific SRH information/words in Kenyan Sign Language (KSL), learn crucial topics on sexuality through video content. User can access this information through an App or a website. Through video content they start by teaching popular SRH vocabularies mainly for the practitioners. Then proceeded to answer popular question on SRH through the topic section targeted to the Deaf users. When you get the app you quickly discover how technology can solve what is otherwise a big problem in a very simple way, and for sure it’s starting to pick up well, the app has 243 download in 2 weeks with users across KE, UK SA and India but as expected almost all of them are on WIFI. Which poses growth challenge in marginalized areas.
“There are limited sign language that covers Social Reproduction Health (SRH) and sometimes we have to create the signs ourselves, which adaptability depend on the community acceptance” Hudson. It also requires a substantial amount of time to complete a topic and upload it on the app especially with hired equipment. You also need medical practitioner input to create these topics.
An NGO that conducts education on social reproduction health could really help this solution take off with little assistance. The team says they are willing to engage with the Nursing association, medic hospital associations alongside any other interested party to get this solution to more Deaf persons.
Get the app here https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Deaf+eLimu+Plus or access it via their web at https://www.deafelimuplus.co.ke/