Ask about Sex via Text: Teenagers 'Learn About Living' in Nigeria

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Feb 03, 2008

Can I get HIV after having sex for the first time? So goes one of the ten thousand SMS messages that teenagers in Nigeria have sent to Learning about Living.


Learning About Living is a project by One World UK, Nigerian NGOs, the MTN Foundation, and the Nigerian Department of Education using computers and mobile phones to teach Nigerian teenagers about sexuality and HIV/AIDS prevention.

The program includes an interactive e-learning tool with cartoons and sexual health tips based on the national Family Life HIV/AIDS Education (FLHE) curriculum. It is aimed to teach sexual health and prevent HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence and now has an innovative mobile component. The MyQuestion service, launched in late 2007, is a free question and answer service that teenagers can contact by free 3-in-1 text message, by email, and a toll free voice number.

Because it is an anonymous and electronic service, it removes the stigma and judgment that teenagers fear when asking for information. By the second day of launch, the service had received more than 1,000 text messages.

Uju Ofomata, project manager of Learning About Living says: "Anyone who wants proof as to the need of this project should come and take a look at the questions we got in. In two moonths flat, we got over 10,000 questions coming in from young people, very real questions dealing with their everyday lives. It is obvious from the questions that we received how very much young people want this information...At the end of the day their lives may be saved."

MyQuestion's text message option, though available only on the MTN network, is free. The short code provided for MYQuestion is 38120.

Learning about Living also includes a competition service called MyAnswer that educates young people about AIDS, HIV, and sexual health by giving them a chance to win prizes.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br> <b><i><blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options