Originally Published on Your Story.

Girl Effect and WhatsApp announced the launch of ‘Bol Behen’, an AI (artificial intelligence) enabled Hinglish chatbot on the Meta-powered chatting platform, in India to address the queries of adolescent girls and young women regarding general health and sexual wellbeing. Developed by Girl Effect, the chatbot is available 24×7 and provides a safe space for girls and women to improve their knowledge and understand the content on sensitive topics such as sex, relationships, and reproductive health. Built on the WhatsApp Business Platform, its users can access the bot by simply sending a ‘Hi’ to the number +917304496601 on WhatsApp, or clicking on the link https://wa.me/917304496601.   Bol Behen, which means ‘Speak, Sister’ in Hindi, caters to adolescent girls and young women in the Hindi belt of India who typically use low-end smartphones with limited internet bandwidth.

With over 400 million users, WhatsApp is the most preferred mode of personal communication and conversation in India. Girl Effect believes that through the WhatsApp bot, more girls can be reached in an environment they consider to be private and safe.

Kanishk Kabiraj, Girl Effect Country Lead for India, said, “WhatsApp’s technology offers us the opportunity to forge closer links between girls and the health services they need, providing content that solves her concerns and encourages her to access healthcare, through connection with curated and vetted providers. This will help us to deliver more seamless, personalised healthcare journeys in the future – for example, leading to girls booking appointments, getting reminders and sharing feedback all within Bol Behen.”

The chatbot was first launched in India on Facebook Messenger in 2020 and could enable more than 100,000 conversations with over 1.6 million messages received. Through in-bot quizzes, Bol Behen was able to shift knowledge and attitudes around key sexual and reproductive health topics.

Bol Behen is inspired by its predecessor Big Sis, which was developed by Girl Effect for providing adolescent girls in South Africa with non-judgmental advice on sensitive issues, including sex and relationships, on platforms and channels they know, trust and love.

Girl Effect is an international non-profit that builds media content catering to adolescent girls and women. They have developed chatbots, chat shows and TV dramas for millions of girls across Africa and Asia.

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