Stepping Stones International (SSI) in partnership with UNICEF, USAID and Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence, Digital Natives officially launched their new mobile application, ‘Youth Spot,’ on July 14, 2022 at Fairgrounds Holdings. The event was graced by dignitaries and guests including the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communication, Knowledge and Technology, Dr Kekgonne Baipoledi, Kenneth Sklaw, Deputy Health Office Director of USAID, UNICEF Deputy Country Representative, Alexandra Illmer, Botswana Digital and Innovation Hub Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tshepo Tsheko, Miss Botswana 2021, Miss Palesa Molefe, as well as popular musicians Samantha Mogwe and HanC.
Stepping Stones International Executive Director, Lisa Jamu said: “Our changing world integrates technology into every aspect of life including health, business and social life. SSI and our partners wanted to create a ‘spot’ where youth could access articles, monitor their mental health, participate in social chats and reflect on their lifestyle. As a consortium through the Youth Spot mobile app, we are actively contributing to SDG goals 3, 4 and 9 which promote good health and wellbeing, quality education as well as fostering inclusion through innovation for the betterment of the young people of Botswana. We look forward to working with various government ministries to roll out Youth Spot to the nation.”
The revolutionary app is one of the first of its kind in Botswana and engages young people between the ages of 12-24 years. It was developed by youth from Digital Natives and a youth advisory committee, tested by youth and will be managed by youth. “Youth Spot” leverages the youth’s increased adoption rate of smart phones to promote healthy behaviours with features that could be used for upliftment, mood tracking, adhering to medical treatments, financial literacy including entrepreneurial and workplace skills as well as positive interaction with a supportive community of peers. “Youth Spot” motivates young people to research and read articles, peaking their curiosity about careers and business.
Acting PS for the Ministry of Communication, Knowledge and Technology emphasised the importance of expanding the internet and reaching rural areas so that young people can be connected. Dr. Baipoledi noted that the youth application is in line with the Ministry’s strategy as Youth Spot brings knowledge to the youth by using communication and technology.
Miss Botswana 2021 and former SSI participant Palesa Molefe said: “In my phone I have many apps for various functions to help me in my everyday life, but I realised I didn’t have an app for my mental health; and yet, mental health is a very essential and critical part of our wellbeing as human beings. This app gives you the opportunity to sit down with your emotions, identify your emotions and how you feel. Most of the time we make terrible decisions because we are unaware of what we are feeling but if you have something that guides you emotionally like that app, you are able to make sound decisions and logical steps to not only managing your emotions but your everyday life.”
The Youth Spot is available for download from the following link: app.steppingstonesintl.org as well as on android platforms and will soon be available for iOS users.