PUTRAJAYA: In conjunction with the “Chup! Jom Sembang Seks” campaign starting today, Federation of Reproductive Health Associations, Malaysia (FRHAM), R.AGE and Unicef launched ANA, a WhatsApp-based chatbot for young people to access accurate information on sexual reproductive health and rights.
“The world children grow up in today is very different from that of their parents and with the ANA chatbot, we are meeting children where they are – online – and providing them with information that promotes positive values about their bodies and healthy relationships.
“We want to ensure that when girls and boys go online to search for information about health and sexuality, the searches are helpful and do not harm them,” said Dr Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, Representative for Unicef in Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei.The ANA chatbot hosts 260 questions and can respond in both Bahasa Malaysia and English.
The topics covered include Sexual Reproductive Health Education, Consent, Child and Sexual Abuse, Sexuality and Gender Identity, Teen Pregnancy and Sexual Grooming.
The chatbot also shares steps on making police reports and connects victims to relevant helplines such as Talian Kasih and BeFrienders.
“Comprehensive sexuality education plays a central role in equipping young people with the ability to navigate risk and prepares them for a safe, productive and fulfilling life.
“FRHAM is aware there is a lack of accurate, unbiased, non-judgemental views on SRHR (sexual reproductive health and rights), online or offline.
“In today’s highly connected world, digital technology provides another entry point for sexuality education, although this information may not be correct.
“FRHAM is here to provide accurate information,” said FRHAM’s executive director Nora Murat.
Sexual reproductive health and rights education is a key component to address several social issues, including teenage pregnancy, baby dumping and early marriages, and the ANA chatbot is a tool that will ensure girls and boys have access to sexual reproductive health education.
The “National Strategy Plan In Handling The Causes Of Child Marriage” under the auspices of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development highlights comprehensive sexuality education as a contributing factor to ending teenage pregnancies, which is identified as one of the causes of child marriages in Malaysia.
ANA is available to chat on WhatsApp at 03-5633 7514 and is also available on FRHAM’s website (www.frham.org.my), Unicef Malaysia’s Children4Change blog (children4change.unicef.my) and R.AGE’s website (www.rage.my/jomsembangseks).
“Chup! Jom Sembang Seks” will include a series of virtual town halls to empower young people across the country on the importance of understanding and exercising their SRHR. It will be open to young people ages 13 to 24 years old.
Find out more about the virtual town halls at www.facebook.com/FRHAMOfficial.
In 2017, an earlier version of ANA, a web-based chatbot focused on sex education, was developed by R.AGE, Zeno and Hyperlab after the successful Predator In My Phone documentary campaign by R.AGE, supported by Unicef, contributed to Parliament passing the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.