Her mobile platform bolsters women in Africa to tackle sexual health taboos
In SA, women and young girls lack access to sexual and menstrual healthcare.
But Asonele Kotu is putting the power back in their hands. When she had her own health struggles, she had nowhere to turn to.
“I remember the time that I wanted to remove my implant, there was no one there to help me," Kotu says.
To make matters worse, she couldn’t afford a gynaecologist to assist her. On the same day, Kotu’s cousin called, seeking money to buy period products. Driven to provide better support, Kotu developed FemConnect.
Through her website, she is giving girls the opportunity to connect with trained peers and seek guidance.
"The whole inspiration was to create a platform to destigmatise access to sexual and menstrual health,” Kotu says.
A dearth of educational and healthcare resources can be dire for young girls.
"This contributes to unwanted teenage pregnancies and STDs," Kotu says.
One of the major challenges is youth being afraid to open up to their caregivers, or having mentors to reach out to and receive informed direction from.
“As a mother raising two daughters, I don't want them to encounter similar struggles," Kotu says.
Her startup is encouraging girls to be comfortable with their dedicated online mentors, who guide them through questions and concerns they may have.
By leveraging the capacity of the internet to reach more people, she also works with couriers to deliver period products such as tampons, pads and menstrual cups to people in rural and disadvantaged communities.
Collaborating with schools and local organisations to uplift women, Kotu has expanded her initiative to Nigeria.
"Young people are now comfortable to speak and learn about their sexual health," she says.
Creating a safe space online, Kotu is advancing the wellbeing of girls, enabling them to lead fulfilling lives.
“I'm redefining access to women's health through technology,” she says. "This is the power of community in Africa."