Background

YoungAfricaLive (YAL) was born out of the discovery that in a country with the biggest HIV/AIDS pandemic in the world, one of South Africa's largest mobile portals did not hold a single piece of information about the pandemic; where to get tested; how to practice safe sex and how to avoid getting it.

This discovery sparked an idea at Praekelt Foundation to build a mobile platform that is entertainment-oriented, fun, interactive, and provocative. A platform that would not simply state the facts and "lecture" young people about the do's and don'ts, but rather create a space where young South Africans could talk about hot topics that affect their daily lives: love, sex, relationships, gender and cultural issues, as well as HIV/AIDS.

Developed by Praekelt Foundation, the portal was christened YoungAfricaLive and was launched on 1 Dec, World Aids Day 2009. It is supported and hosted by Vodafone Live.

About YAL

YoungAfricaLive consists of a combination of regularly updated, dynamic stories and live chats and a series of permanent content pieces.

The permanent content covers the essential facts around HIV and AIDS; as well as helpline numbers and contact details for referral organisations who can support YAL-users in times of need. Under the dynamic content section, daily news & celebrity stories are posted and users can ‘like' the story or leave comments.

Guest bloggers write about their experiences with love, sex, dating, cultural dilemma's, gender stereotypes and other relevant issues. In addition, live chats with doctors and relationship experts help create a true dialogue between the portal and its users.

For more on YoungAfricaLive, please visit:
Introducing YoungAfricaLive

And on the Annual Youth Sex Survey we run on YoungAfricaLive, please see our:
2012 Survey Results
2011 Survey Results

Objectives

1) Share information & Educate:

Make crucial health and lifestyle information available via the mobile portal and reach more than 30 million South Africans every month. The aim is to educate young people in Africa about HIV/AIDS and other sexual health issues in a fun, engaging, interactive, gender-sensitive, and entertaining way.

2) Generate Discussion

Through a gender-specific blog (i.e. a male and female writer will write daily blogs from their gender's perspective) where portal visitors can comment and have their voices heard, on topics such as HIV/ AIDS, health, relationships, sex, sexuality, love, and gender issues.

3) Promote HIV testing

Through easy-to-use portal information and linkages to VCT (voluntary counseling and testing) centres. If we conservatively say that 20% of the South African population are HIV-positive, that means 20% of the users on this mobile portal will be HIV-positive, but might not know their status and might continue practicing risky behavior and putting themselves and their loved ones at risk of infection. It is therefore crucial that we use this platform to, through interactive discussion, create enough peer pressure that young people will test themselves for HIV.

The Results

Between 1 December 2009 and 29 November 2012, we've seen tremendous results in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya, with:

  • Total page views: Over 78,000,000
  • Total comments made: Over 2,725,000
  • Total unique visitors: Over 1,262,000

YoungAfricaLive is the proud recipient of the 2011 Mobile Marketing Association's (MMA) Regional, as well as Global Gold Awards, in the category "Social Impact".

YoungAfricaLive received an honorable mention at the 2011 Prix Ars Electronica, in the category "Digital Communities".

YoungAfricaLive was also a finalist in the 2012 AfricaCom Awards, in the "Changing Lives" category.

Thanks

Thank you to our mobile network operator partners. Without your support we would not be able to offer this life-saving content, to your customer base:

  • Vodacom South Africa
  • Vodafone Tanzania
  • Safaricom Kenya

Many thanks to our content partners including:

  • Traffik
  • Matchboxology
  • iTeach
  • Cell-Life
  • Mindset
  • MTV Shuga
  • UNICEF
  • Afroes
  • Childline
  • SoulCity
  • HIV 911 (Info4Africa)
  • Homeboyz and Koch FM Radio in Kenya
  • HIV-Free Generation
  • and our Live Chat specialists, "Dr. Eve" and "Aunt Sadaka".

Get Involved

  • If you are an NGO with existing youth-orientated content (especially video clips) in topics such as love, sex, relationships, HIV/AIDS, gender issues, sexually transmitted diseases, cultural practices, etc. ...
  • If you are a mobile application developer with experience in developing games, quizzes, ringtones, or other fun stuff on mobile ...
  • If you represent any of the mobile operators in Africa or other developing territories, and would like YAL on you mobile portal...

Please send an email to marcha@praekeltfoundation.org - we'd love to partner with you to broaden the scope of YoungAfricaLive.