The students are following in the footsteps of a young Ugandan lady, Ruth Nabembezi in trying to change the conversation around sex and reproductive health as a topic.
Unlike Ruth’s Ask Without Shame application which focuses mostly on the girl child; Irvin Amukasa, Derick Mureithi, Rashid Beduni, Nicholas Wambua, John Nzau Makau and Beverly Mutindi have created SophieBot which allows access to sexual health information to both the young and the old, irrespective of gender.
Contrary to Ruth who developed the platform and registered her start-up company as a measure to ensure that no one else went through what her parents, sister and relatives went through when they suffered from HIV and AIDS, Irvin and the other five were just curious about the topic as are their peers.
According to Irvin, the team leader and an Actuarial science student at JKUAT, SophieBot is an intelligent system that is fed with verified information on sexuality and sexual reproductive health. The application relays the information to its users through conversations that are driven by text or voice chats.
Unlike Ugandan based Ask Without Shame which uses actual health professionals to respond to questions from individuals, SophieBot according to the founders mimics Artificial Intelligence Apple Program Siri more and sources its answers from 10,000 base questions and anyone with a smart phone can use it. Through their innovative chat box, users are allowed to ask questions using their real identities or anonymously to a community of other users.
In order to get help from SophieBot, one is required to either have access to Facebook, Twitter or Telegram or download and install the application from the Google Store.
Amukasa is not new in the field of innovation; the young lad is also a Safaricom Appwiz 2014 fellow. He came up with a new learning tool referred to as the Ultipedia which had all the materials used in primary education in Kenya.
Another member of the team, Derick Mureithi was also ranked first runner-up in Hack4Farming by an organisation associated with Bill and Melinda Gates. Derick is the Chief Technologist officer in the team while Beverly Mutindi holds the Chief Financial Officer’s post.
The team received a financial breakthrough in 2016 when they were announced as one of the four lucky winners of an iAccelerator programme jointly hosted by Nailab and the United Nations Populations Fund.
The team has set its eyes on ensuring that they demystify the sensitive topics of sex, reproductive diseases and help everyone get the right information about the topics directly through their phones.