Cafe Entrepreneurship and Family Planning Hackathon

Project Overview

Identifying innovative ways to reach young people with information, while simultaneously building advocates for sexual and reproductive health, is a key component of quality reproductive health care. Chanan Development Association started Café Entrepreneurship: A Technological Hub for Social Impact to spark a new movement of youth leaders in adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) in Pakistan. Through a two-month incubator, Café Entrepreneurship sourced new ideas for family planning interventions. Youth participated in a hackathon to develop a smartphone app that contained family planning information, with one app selected to develop and pilot. The selected app, “YouFP,” provides information about modern contraceptives, including locations where youth can access services and a youth helpline to anonymously ask questions about family planning over the phone. The use of technology, and smartphones in particular, is increasing in Pakistan, making dissemination of family planning through a mobile app an ideal and scalable way to reach young people.

We are using technology resources to spread the right information among young couples and have access to services. Our information through the app is helping to bridge the gap.

—Chanan Development Association Staff

The Need

Pakistan has 53 million youth between the ages of 10 and 24 who are lacking critical information about family planning. To fill this information gap, Chanan Development Association developed a smartphone app targeted at young people to improve the amount and quality of accurate family planning methods and services information they receive.

Key Learnings

  • Engaging young people in project design and implementation expands the reach of young people who are knowledgeable about family planning because it facilitates the dissemination of quality family planning information by youth, for youth. The Café Entrepreneurship project trained young adults (aged 18 to 25) to develop smartphone apps and educate and connect other youth with family planning services. In the process, these young people were trained on family planning and SRHR, topics that are normally taboo in Pakistan. By engaging young people in the design of the app, the app is likely to be appealing to peer users.
  • Engaging both young men and women in family planning discussions creates challenges for open dialogue and learning. Chanan Development Association faced challenges getting hackathon participants to talk openly about family planning in a mixed gender space. While it is important that both young men and women learn about sexual and reproductive health, the hackathon represented the first time that they were introduced to the topic among a mixed gender audience.
  • Technological solutions to disseminate family planning information are accessible to youth. Over 14 million people in Pakistan have smartphones. Urban youth in particular have quality access to smartphones. However, reaching youth in rural areas is more challenging and requires the development of apps on different computer platforms and languages. In the future, Chanan Development Association hopes to adapt the app for rural users in their local languages.

For us, the most important learning was breaking the taboo [of discussing family planning openly]. From past experience, young people with all these privileges in big cities can search anything, but they are not getting correct information. […] Most of the time, we think people can find out about services, but civil society should bring services and beneficiaries together. People need to get connected. We should use our resources for this.

—Chanan Development Association Staff

Implementing Partners

Location

Pakistan

Categories

Youth, Family Planning/Cntraception

Year Awarded

2016