Springster, Girl Effect’s mobile-first platform, has been held up as an example of harnessing the power of the internet as a force for social change in a prestigious new report by global health, development and human rights experts.
The United Nations and the World Health Organization have both welcomed the report by the Guttmacher Institute and global medical journal The Lancet. It calls for a new and bold agenda to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) and pinpoints Springster as one of the initiatives that can help achieve this. One of Facebook’s Free Basics top five sites, Springster is currently live in 66 countries and 17 languages, and last year it reached 15m unique users.
The study, entitled Accelerate progress – sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, demonstrates how sexual and reproductive health and rights are essential for sustainable development.
Despite this, progress has been stymied for reasons including weak political commitment, inadequate resources, persistent discrimination against women and girls, and a lack of willingness to address issues related to sexuality openly.
As a result nearly every single one of the 4.3bn people of reproductive age, worldwide, will have inadequate sexual and reproductive health services over the course of their lives.
The new report addresses this unfinished agenda and outlines what actions are needed in the health sector and beyond to change social norms, laws and policies and uphold human rights.
The report notes that: ‘The explosion of digital media globally, especially the use of mobile phones, is creating new opportunities for information and counselling on SRHR.’
It goes on to highlight organisations and initiatives that are doing just this and includes Springster, cited by its former name Girl Effect Mobile.
‘Some programmes harness the potential of the internet as a source of good information and a force for social change, and as a tool to counter the misinformation and negative stereotypes and behaviours that circulate widely,’ the report states. ‘Girl Effect Mobile is designed to connect girls in developing countries with inspiring stories and advice to increase their self-esteem and ensure their health, safety, education, economic security and rights.’
You can find out more about Springster here.
The Lancet is one of the oldest and most-respected medical journals in the world. Read the full report here and download the excerpt below.