The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says it is seeking at least $8.5 million to reach 20 million young people in Africa by 2025 with sexual and reproductive health information through its Tech4Youth program.
Tech4Youth, a pan-African project conceptualised in 2018, is “an open and sustainable innovation platform supporting sexual and reproductive health on four pillars: community, co-creation, access and data,” according to UNFPA innovation and technology lead, Wilfried Rouamba.
The program is active in five West African countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Togo, and Burkina Faso.
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Mr Rouamba, speaking at a Tech4Youth workshop held in Lagos on Monday, said the program has already reached 2.6 million young people, including 8,000 young persons living with disability.
However, funding remains a big challenge.
Africa has some of the highest rates of child marriage and adolescent pregnancy in the world amid an exploding population.
The UN expects Africa’s population to reach 4.3 billion by 2100 or 39% of the world’s total.
If it gets the required support, Tech4Youth will “empower at least 2,700 young girls in and out of school through innovative training and mentoring to improve their digital, creative problem-solving, communication and entrepreneurship skills,” Mr Rouamba said.
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The program is also leveraging natural language processing and artificial intelligence to ensure information is available in local languages such as Fulfulde and Hausa.
Talks are in progress with tech giant Google on some of the tech initiatives, according to Mr Rouamba.
Tech4Youth also seeks to “build at least 50 partnerships, including with the private sector, to scale the platform through an established community”.