Our happy, little start-up family met at the hackathon #Hack4Girls that took place in Copenhagen on November 2017. This eye-opening 36-hour event was organized by UNFPA, Maternity Foundation, Atea Future Growth, Microsoft, Save the Children, Whywoman, Red Cross and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark to support refugee girls and women. The challenge was to come up with a tech-based solution to educate refugee girls and young women in Sub-Saharan Africa on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). We quickly discovered that the need for an innovative solution is huge. Not only in Sub-Saharan Africa but also way beyond the African continent. At the time, we decided to make a game because we think learning should be fun! Our solution offers a fun, visual and simple learning game that ticks the various boxes set by the #Hack4Girls jury to ensure a high-quality, viable and feasible solution.
Because of the great interest from the organizers of the event and various NGO’s, our game-team decided to use our passion for techvelopment to continue developing our idea. A few weeks after #Hack4Girls, we enrolled in the Proof of Concept-program at Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship and started working on the first prototype of our game. Having already established contacts and good relations with organisations working in Kenya, we decided to choose this beautiful country as our destination for the initial user tests. What a journey that was! Sunny weather, warm sand, giraffe kisses, fields of zebras and last but not least - lots of welcoming, happy faces met us across Kenya while we were testing our game-levels on pregnancy and contraception. We received great, honest feedback from many girls and boys from various backgrounds in both rural, urban and slum areas of Kenya. This made us a lot wiser on how we can meet the educational needs of the youth in Africa. We are very thankful for Riziki Kenya, Periamma and Help Mission Development Services who welcomed our user tests and co-creation into their classrooms - without you, we would not have been able to continue our journey!
Beyond testing in Kenya, our team was invited to present our prototype and first results at the Techvelopment Roundtable organized by UN Women, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Maternity Foundation. The event, held in March 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, afforded us an amazing day of testing our app with Ethiopian girls from various backgrounds. We co-created content, visuals and ideas for other game-levels with the girls - and of course, we had the amazing opportunity to present our work and participate in the roundtable discussion on how we can bring the techvelopment agenda into action. The Roundtable was hosted by the Embassy of Denmark in Ethiopia, UN Women, ITU, Yazmi and Maternity Foundation, and well attended by tech start-ups, NGO’s, Ethiopian government representatives and the African Union.
From our experiences in East and West Africa, we learned how both boys and girls, as well as their communities, can truly benefit from using digital tools for empowerment. This brought Lulu Lab to life - an impact start-up founded by Sally and Matilde.