Weerwi in West Africa
Weerwi is a multi-channel solution designed around the use of mobile phones and social networks to inform and support girls and women in understanding and managing their menstrual cycle.
Project start date : 01/03/2021
Beneficiary country : Ivory Coast France Mali Senegal
About the project
Weerwi is a Wolof word for the moon, the month. The mobile app and other Weerwi tools were born as part of Changeons les règles, a programme initiated by Apiafrique in 2017 with several partners to offer reliable, contextualised information to young girls and women in Senegal about menstruation and the menstrual cycle. To take things further, in 2020 Apiafrique set up a consortium with IT4Life, IDInsight, Dakar Institute of Technology and YUX. Weerwi has received support from the Botnar Foundation as part of its Fit4Future programme allowing the creation of:
- a mobile application (17k+ downloads, 33k monthly connections) with a cycle tracker and personalised advice, quizzes, articles and a diary;
- a chatbot (available on the app, website and Facebook page);
- a web series on Youtube (2 million views on the channel);
- specialised social networks (100k+ followers);
- a website;
- a paper booklet for girls without access to internet and for community activities.
Weerwi’s tools are aimed primarily at girls and women aged between 15 and 24 in Senegal and French-speaking Africa. With support from new partners, Weerwi can enter the daily lives of even more young girls and improve their well-being.
Over 2,000 days. That’s the average number of days of menstruation in a woman’s life. Despite extensive research, publications and advocacy on the subject, this natural biological process remains fraught with taboo and stigma. In Senegal and many other African countries, young women do not have access to accurate information, relevant stories and support to improve their menstrual health and related health issues. Most young women only learn about menstruation the day they start bleeding. They go through their cycles with no basic knowledge of the subject and are surrounded by adults – family and teachers, who generally don’t know how, or want, to talk about it. Weerwi empowers girls and women by providing multi-channel access to quality information and by listening to them. Weerwi fights misinformation, offers inspiring and liberating stories, and provides opportunities to speak freely, interact and get personalised advice about menstruation. This way, Weerwi helps to reduce feelings of shame, discomfort and loneliness among young girls and women, as well as the risk of infection and school absenteeism.
Weerwi is the first menstrual cycle tracking application in West Africa. When information is available about the menstrual cycle, it’s often in a language that doesn’t speak to young girls, and isn’t adapted to their media consumption habits or local context. Most of the time, the information is not designed with the user in mind. In addition, the methods of accessing information on menstrual health do not generally take into account the social pressure on the issue and a young girl’s need for anonymity. Nor is it addressed to the large female population that cannot read or write (42% in Senegal). All the Weerwi tools have been designed based on a theory of change and a Human-Centered Design approach. Whether it’s a mobile application, a web series or publications on social networks, everything is designed for, with, and often, by women users. Weerwi’s multi-channel approach makes this solution unique, as it enables young girls to access information and be accompanied in managing their cycle in the way that suits them best (app, chatbot, call centre, social networks).
4 Full-Time equivalents
6 Service providers
1 500 000
Number of beneficiaries since launch