The Human Development Index reports that 92.4% of Niger’s population lives in multidimensional poverty. In a country where a high maternal mortality rate is one of the many shocks and stresses that challenge the population, Mahamadou Touré Nadia Jean, a young mother herself, developed a mobile app that delivers critical prenatal and maternal health information to Niger’s mothers.
Nadia founded ANAJI Mobile Dev, a mobile and web development company that creates digital health services that can be easily accessed on mobile phones. ANAJI Mobile Dev’s primary product is COACH SANTE, a mobile application that provides expecting mothers with health guidance through the conception, pregnancy, and first years of their child’s life.
As well as providing critical services to Niger’s young mothers, ANAJI Mobile Dev is a social enterprise with a sustainable business model. Right now, COACH SANTE is offered in the Google Play Store for a one-time cost of around 75 cents.
To design the application, Nadia received a grant and guidance from SNV’s YAWWA (Youth, Advocacy, Women, Work and Alliances) project. SNV, with funding from USAID, is implementing YAWWA to support young entrepreneurs like Nadia to tackle social problems and create a culture of social entrepreneurship in Niger. YAWWA identifies young change-makers and youth organizations and connects them with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to transform their localised civic activities into socially beneficial enterprises that can be expanded, scaled up, and replicated. Nadia also received entrepreneurial support and trainings in the financial and administrative aspects of running a business from YAWWA.
Nadia envisioned COACH SANTE as resource to accompany mothers through pregnancy with easily accessible health information, especially allowing first-time mothers to better understand their pregnancies. When a pregnant woman visits a health centre in Niger, it’s common for her to receive a paper card that tracks prenatal check-ups as well as vaccines and the height and weight of her baby. Through COACH SANTE, mothers can track this critical prenatal information in their smartphones or tablets. The application also provides real time guidance through a virtual health assistant that gives information and best practices for a healthy pregnancy and child care, and provides women with updates on what to except month-by-month during their pregnancy.
Women can also ask questions directly to a health agent through the app, especially the questions which they might be uncomfortable asking at a maternity centre. COACH SANTE even allows women to calculate their approximate due dates and sends mothers appointment reminders so they never miss a critical health centre visit.
After the birth of the baby, COACH SANTE remains a valuable partner to new mothers, allowing them to track vaccinations and postnatal appointments, and plot the baby’s height and weight against normal ranges. As the baby gets older, the app also provides health recipes for weening and how-to videos on preparing babies’ first foods.
To develop the content for COACH SANTE and ensure that the app is in line with Niger’s national recommendations, Nadia collaborated with a local maternity centre during its creation.
With the support of YAWWA, Nadia was able to hire the staff she needed to get COACH SANTE off the ground. With 67% of Niger’s population under 25 years old, youth unemployment and underemployment is an acute problem. While young Nigerien men often resort to permanent or seasonal migration to find employment, the young women who remain in villages find limited options to make livelihoods due to social norms regarding women's roles. But YAWWA is supporting entrepreneurs like Nadia to create employment opportunities in new and exciting ways for Niger’s young men and women.
As well as managing ANAJI Mobil Dev, Nadia is helping to spread a growing culture of social entrepreneurship in Niger. At YAWWA’s second annual Social Innovations Fair in November 2016, she competed in the business plan competition (winning third place) and spoke on a panel that explored the challenges that women entrepreneurs face in Niger. She also advises other young women on pursing their own social enterprises.
Currently, Nadia is busy marketing her app to build awareness and scale up its use.