A new way to prevent HIV among young people

Youth test on their phones

With support from Germany, South Africa’s largest youth development NGO has launched a new cellphone-based platform to incentivize behavior change and prevent HIV infections. At ‘’ young people can earn points, and ultimately attractive rewards, while learning how to navigate love and life.

loveLife, South Africa’s largest youth development NGO, and German Development Cooperation are set to change South Africa’s health and social landscape with a unique offer: It’s an innovative, digital cellphone-based program that promotes youth development and addresses the HIV/ AIDS pandemic by using incentives to change behavior. On behalf of the German Government, KfW Development Bank is providing 2 Mio. Euro, equaling approximately 27 Mio. Rand, to support this worldwide novelty.

On 21st July, loveLife and the German Development Cooperation unleashed iloveLife, designed for young people between the ages of 10 to 24. iloveLife is an interactive digital platform that equips young people with important tools to help them navigate love and life. Ultimately, the platform is about driving behavior change in order to promote sexual and reproductive health.

In South Africa, 80 percent of people accessing the internet are doing so exclusively through mobile devices. Already over 50 percent of young people in low income communities own mobile devices, and the numbers are growing. As a web-based software program, was specifically developed to be accessible to everyone, not just people with smartphones. LoveLife’s new mobisite perfectly aligns to German Development Cooperation’s approach to pilot innovative and inclusive projects, thereby especially targeting the youth.

‘Over the past 16 years we have done innovative work with young people in order to bring down HIV infections, but we need to work hard to remain relevant, we need to find new ways of doings things. With mobile technology, we literally hold the future in our hands - a safe, healthy, and inclusive future, powered by the energy and idealism of young people’ said Grace Matlhape, Chief Executive Officer of loveLife, at the launch of the platform in Johannesburg.

How it works launch event

This revolutionary mobile- based incentive system rewards young people for life affirming empowering, and healthy behavior. Completing self-assessments and knowledge quizzes, as well as reading and sharing articles are all online activities that earn valuable points while gaining and spreading knowledge about ‘burning issues’ in adolescents’ lives. With enough points, users can then enter competitions on the mobisite to win rewards, such as clothing store shopping vouchers, cellphone airtime and food vouchers. A high number of points can be gained, for example, by taking an HIV test. The platform also indicates the nearest health facility, no matter where in the country the user is located and links him or her with loveLife’s psychosocial counselling service.

By offering a home to young South Africans that rewards them directly, iloveLife becomes a healthier option to the negative forces that can drag young people into risk and HIV infection.

More information:

August 2015

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