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July 14, 2016

Coady graduate develops smartphone app for sex education


Mallah Tabot’s mother had six children by the time she was 26 years of age.
 
That reality was a big reason why Tabot, a 2011 graduate of two Coady certificate courses*, is so passionate about helping young Cameroonians make safe, healthy choices when it comes to sex.
 
In July 2016, the Google Play store will introduce the Ndolo360 app for Android smartphones, which offers a wealth of age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health advice. It comes after a year of design, testing and input from youth over the age of 14. The word ‘Ndolo’ means love.
 
“We are super excited,” says Tabot, whose advocacy work with youth has won several awards, including the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, presented by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.
 
“Teenagers were telling me that they were getting information about sex from close friends, who were often just as uninformed as they were. And searching on the Internet often brought them to porn sites, or to information that made little sense in our African contexts. So we’ve customized the app based on their needs.”
 
Talbot has been getting great feedback from colleagues on social media.
 
“We've been working on this for the past 7 months or so and there's a lot of hype about it already from people who've had an encounter with it in some way. We are also working on the IOS version for Apple smartphones.”
 
Tabot and her app developer Emmanuel Nganyu will launch the app at the upcoming International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa. They have also submitted their project to the United Nations World Summit Awards competition, which recognizes digital innovations that make a significant impact on society.
 
“I’m so proud to present this as an innovation that recognizes our everyday struggles as young people,” she says. “Open, honest sex education with a swipe on your phone.”
 
You can follow her project on Twitter @Myndolo360. Or visit the website at http://www.ndolo360.org/
 
 
*Mallah Tabot graduated from two certificate courses:  Advocacy and Citizen Engagement; and Community Development Leadership by Women.