Adolescent-friendly technology helps girls facing menstruation during COVID-19

Utilizing online platforms to discuss menstruation

Vania Santoso - Communication Officer (Youth Engagement)
Oky promotion
Instagram Griselda Hameline/2020
27 May 2020

COVID-19 has affected people in many aspects of their lives. For girls and women, this includes menstruation.

Based on a U-Report poll with 5,842 female respondents conducted from 28 April to 8 May 2020 by UNICEF in Indonesia, 1 out of 6 girls and women has experienced difficulty handling their menstruation during the pandemic. More than half (55%) said their menstruation cycle becoming irregular was an obstacle.

To cope with their challenges, most respondents said they prefer finding information on the internet (50%) to other options such as doing nothing (22%), asking parents (18%), health officers (6%), and friends (4%).

Based on these findings, UNICEF and the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network Jejaring AMPL is utilizing online platforms to discuss menstruation, including Oky, the period tracker and info application developed by UNICEF.

“Oky is like our digital (menstruation) journal so we can track and predict our next period cycle,” said Clarin Hayes, an influencer and medical doctor during an Instagram Live discussion with UNICEF in May 2020.

Instagram Live with Dr. Clarin Hayes
Instagram MKM Indonesia/2020
Instagram Live with Dr. Clarin Hayes

“Who said a period is a girl’s topic only? Boys need to know!”

Griselda Hameline

“Whatever accurate information we need, we just need to open this Oky application!” she added, referring to Oky’s quiz and encyclopedia feature, which includes a myth-buster.

In Indonesia, UNICEF has also supported an online competition featuring writing, photography and videography about menstruation during the pandemic, open to secondary school students and the public.

Griselda Hameline, one of the participants of the photo competition from SMPN3 Cisauk school in Tangerang, Banten, highlighted that Oky helps girls to be more confident and ready for their period through a fun experience.

She also urged boys to install this application. “Who said a period is a girl’s topic only? Boys need to know!”

Andre Nathaniel from Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, who participated in the writing competition said the same in his own words: “Girls experience, boys understand.”

He wrote about the importance of boys contributing to a good support system by being respectful and giving the right solutions that can help girls instead of adding to their fears or burdens.

In another online engagement, UNICEF conducted a webinar in collaboration with the Indonesian Red Cross (IRC) in East Nusa Tenggara province.

“It is a relief to know that Oky does not use internet quota once installed because the internet connection here is not that stable,” said Nadia Riwu Kaho, who is one of the resource persons.

Guido Fulbertus, Chief of IRC in East Nusa Tenggara, stressed throughout the webinar that menstruation is a natural process for all girls and women and should not be considered taboo.

“As a parent with a daughter, I also feel challenged to learn more about menstruation so I can give her correct information to prepare her as she gets older,” said Yudhistira Yewangoe, UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office in Kupang.

The webinar discussion involved adolescents with disabilities, with support from interpreter Rita Sari Boling from the deaf community in Kupang.

Webinar with Rita Sari Boling as Interpreter
UNICEF Indonesia/2020/Vania Santoso
Webinar with Rita Sari Boling as Interpreter

This led to a discussion about how the application could become more accessible for users with disabilities. So far, Oky is enhanced with the text-to-voice feature on each page, but it still needs another person to help users understand where each menu is positioned.

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To see the full results of the U-Report poll on menstruation during COVID-19, go to: http://indonesia.ureport.in/opinion/4173/

Download the Oky Application in Bahasa Indonesia in Google Playstore: http://bit.ly/unduhoky

More information about the Oky Application: https://okyapp.info/