The Youth Advocates of Zimbabwe’s (YAZ) helpline has made strides in reaching out to marginalised individuals who belong to different groups of society.
Speaking at an Event at Holiday Inn in Harare which ran under the theme, unleashing the power of data in health service delivery, Tatenda Songero, YAZ Executive Director talked about the YAZ helpline and how it works.
By Pearson Mbendera
The Helpline is an ICT drive (Calls, SMS, social media, mobile application) and community approach that aggregates information to increase the availability and use of data to meet the urgent and complex needs of the Zimbabwean populace on integrated HIV and other developmental services.”
He also talked at length about the work they are doing and the areas they have reached and also spoke problems YAZ is facing in ushering help to the young.
“We can do SMS and social media interactions with anyone across the country. We are not restricted to any geographic. It’s not that we are not there, its a question of resources that limit our capabilities.”
The system is designed that many get helped without meeting any YAZ personnel in person, with everything done via the various communication tools at their disposal ans not face to face.
YAZ use the Ureport software and some other software that is designed internally. The software can send about 1000 messages and because of the texting service, YAZ can reach out to some disabled people who cannot talk.
However, they still face a lot of problems with regards to funding and human resources, but on the technical side, sometimes they are faced with network issues as some remote areas with troubled youths do not have good network reception.
The good thing is that their service caters for all network service providers, and it is free, using a reverse billing method in which anyone seeking help is not charged for the call or message he or she makes to YAZ, but YAZ will be the one paying for it.
Considering that not all Zimbabweans have access to mobile phones, YAZ has some community ambassadors who have occasionally availed their phones to the youths so that they can contact the YAZ helpline and get the help they seek.
For assistance send an SMS, Call or whatsApp 0774 469 107 or visit their offices are open from 8am to 6pm everyday and closed on weekends.