Using Audiopedia to Empower Rural Women in Nicaragua

Empowering Rural Women in Nicaragua

This February we kicked off our latest project in the Masaya region of Nicaragua. Our partner organization for this project is Pro Mujer, one of the largest women's organizations in Latin America. This non-profit organization offers women financial inclusion, health and education programs. Since its foundation in 1990, Pro Mujer has reached more than 2 million women in the region.

We believe that economic empowerment (e.g. through microcredits) should always be combined with health education in order to sustainably improve the situation of rural women. Only women who are in good health have a real chance of gaining financial independence.

Our partner Pro Mujer shares this vision with us. Health education is therefore a fundamental part of the organization's prevention strategy. For this reason, Pro Mujer is bundling financial services such as microcredits and savings groups with the provision of health services at the respective point of service. The organization has already provided over 8 million medical treatments for women.

Field officers play a central role in the organization: they use their motorcycles to reach out to remote regions in order to offer basic health education to groups of women. 100 of our solar-powered Audiopedia players will help to scale the effects of their work. The players can remain in the respective groups until the next visit of the field officers, so that the women have time to listen to the content stored on them repeatedly. The next time the field officers visit, open questions can be clarified and certain topics can be discussed together.

During our stay in Nicaragua we were able to visit several of Pro Mujer's women groups in the region. We also provided training to 30 field officers in the use of our solar-powered Audiopedia players and the application of our methodology. The players will mainly be used in very rural areas, where neither electricity nor internet are available.

An important finding from this project trip: In more suburban regions of Masaya, over 80% of the women with whom Pro Mujer works now have a smartphone - and use WhatsApp. We will of course take this into account in order to distribute our information even more efficiently. That's why Pro Mujer now regularly sends text modules from our Audiopedia content to these women via WhatsApp.

Domestic violence in particular is a major problem in Nicaragua - there is an important focus here when it comes to content selection. During the project trip we also learned from our partners that in many places in Nicaragua up to 40% of women develop cervical cancer. The reasons for this include the high level of promiscuity even among married men and the lack of menstrual hygiene. Pro Mujer is therefore particularly committed to diagnosis (via Pap test) and early treatment of this disease. Our existing content is therefore supplemented by additional in-depth information on this topic.

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