Urukundo Initiative, the friendly, safe and trustworthy platform that informs youth about sexual and reproductive health
Founded by 4 young Rwandans, interested in bringing reliable information to adolescents and youths, regarding their sexual and reproductive health, the startup Urukundo Initiative existed since 2019. It offers through its board game ”Urukundo” a user-friendly, safe and reliable platform that provides access to factual information on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Please introduce yourself
My name is GIRANEZA UWANTEGE Christelle. I’m the co-founder and marketing director publics relations officer at Urukundo Initiative.
What is the story behind your startup?
The origin and inspiration arose from the research we conducted in different schools in Huye District – Rwanda that served to understand the root cause of surge in number of teenage pregnancy among adolescent together with students from Jefferson University, where 81.7% was found to have information gap around Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.
Later on, we developed URUKUNDO Life Skills Board Game, a friendly, trustworthy, evidence based and inclusive game that avails sexual and reproductive health information with the focus of upbringing a healthy thriving generation free from teenage pregnancies, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.
The affection which adolescents misunderstand thus engage in risky sexual practices, the love that parents have for their children and the love we have for young adolescents and their families gave us an inspiration name ‘’URUKUNDO’’ which means “LOVE” in Kinyarwanda.
Who are your target customers ?
We target adolescents and teenagers aged 13-19 years of age living in Rwanda and sub-Saharan Africa.
What problem are you solving?
According to WHO about 17 million adolescent girls give birth every year and most of these births occur in low- and middle-income countries. As per Rwanda Demographic Health Survey, teenage pregnancy rate increased from 4.1% in 2005 to 6.1% in 2010, 7.3% in 2015 and about 5% in 2020.
Currently 1 in 5 Rwandan adolescent girls start child bearing before their 19th birthday. These numbers are projected to be worsened by COVID19 pandemic. Young people in Rwanda report an information gap around Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) up to 81.7% evidenced by our grass root research.
With the use of gamification (ULSBG), we are providing Sexual Reproductive Health information, in a friendly, evidence based yet inclusive way thus tackling problems that arise from engaging in risky sexual behaviors including but not limited to teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDs.
What are your challenges?
COVID-19 Pandemic affected our enterprise in various way. First in line of complying with government measure to prevent the spread of infection we were unable to forge many partnerships with various organizations in order to extend our market. Developing URUKUNDO Life Skills Board Game Application has been a challenge due to lack of game developer in the Team and insufficient funds. Being students have limited our full time participation in the company.
What is your vision for your startup? What does success look like?
Our vision is to become on the leading global providers of innovative health related solutions, we always strive to work hard in order to reach where we want to get. Our success is to live our dream where URUKUNDO Initiative will be one of health related innovative company addressing various global challenges.
Have you met someone who inspires you since participating in NHA?
The person who inspired us the most during the program was Senam Beheton.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
It is injustice, we want to live in world where everyone should have equal right and opportunity.