Developments and successes
During the pilot phase, SOS Children's Villages in Malawi introduced Rafiki to several parents within the community. While already achieving a 97% satisfaction rate during the pilot, 'the enthusiasm among caregivers in Alternative Care and parents from the Family Strengthening program to access and interact with Rafiki was huge', says Mazin Elamin, Regional ICT4D Coordinator. "The Malawi Rafiki implementation team had the brilliant idea to use Rafiki during the mothers' gatherings and discussion groups in the communities. Each mother prepares her own set of questions to be asked to Rafiki, gets the feedback and discusses the answer within the group. This way, the wider group of parents in the community had the chance to interact with Rafiki and gain support in the areas of care and general challenges that they are facing."
Expanding access and topics
To expand access and cover more topics, the organization initially provided access to Rafiki for all caregivers in Alternative Care. Additionally, they plan to leverage the installation of the new Digital Village project (community hubs) to offer broader access to Rafiki. Furthermore, the organization aims to include topics such as nutrition and HIV based on user feedback, as these issues are significant concerns in their communities and throughout Malawi.
A powerful learning tool
The success of Rafiki demonstrates the effectiveness of these efforts. One mother praised the tool as a powerful and useful learning resource that would assist mothers in taking better care of their children. She noted that the topics covered were extensive, encompassing various aspects of their work and more. While Rafiki's responses were generally good, there were some instances where answers seemed somewhat generalized. Another mother shared that Rafiki was a valuable and helpful app that she depended on for guidance in various care areas and issues, saving her time before seeking assistance from social workers, especially when her children exhibited unwanted behaviors.
Looking ahead, the Rafiki team in Malawi aims to implement community hubs in areas lacking access to power and IT resources, thereby expanding access to Rafiki. They also plan to engage content experts in HIV and Nutrition to develop relevant content and broaden Rafiki's reach to include all caregivers in Alternative Care and more parents in the community. Furthermore, they intend to incorporate content related to youth matters in Rafiki, based on input from workshops where youths have contributed their questions and expressed specific interest in obtaining answers to them.
Click here for further information about Rafiki.