Menstruation has always been misunderstood worldwide. Bring stigma into the picture, and you’re met with a plethora of misconceptions about menstrual health and hygiene. To battle this, government agencies and development organizations created the world’s first period tracker app for Filipino girls — Oky Philippines.
Menstrual education at your fingertips
The Oky App is developed to be a fun educational tool for girls, which not only provides a period tracking feature but also delves into menstrual and general women’s health topics. Through its encyclopedia feature, girls can learn multiple topics on managing menstruation, consent, gender identity, mental health, nutrition, puberty, and relationships. Under this section, it also does not hold back in explaining the rights against child marriage and rape. It is impressive how the app explained these concepts in a digestible manner and took a proactive stance on reporting cases on such.
In terms of accessibility, the application prides itself on consuming minimal mobile storage space despite keeping period records. These records are secure from other users of the device since the app asks for the user’s password for every login. It is also available for both App Store and Play Store for free. Through these features, the makers of the Oky app hope to reach young women from every corner of the Philippines.
For Filipino girls by Filipino girls
What’s special about the app is that it is tailor-fitted for Filipino girls. The localized period tracker app aims to address critical reproductive and menstrual health issues specific to the Philippines. “The problem with looking up my menstrual symptoms online is that it answers me with confusing concepts that I can’t relate to. So, I only end up with more questions.” a woman in her early 20s recalls her struggles back when she was undergoing puberty.
The app provides culturally sensitive content and responds to common questions that young girls may encounter. It debunks common myths that have been passed down over generations. “Young girls readily have access to information online nowadays. It is for us to provide them the space for destigmatized conversations about their bodies”, a women’s health advocate shares.
A long way to go
While the app’s encyclopedia explains the concept of a fertile window, there is no specific feature in the app to predict when this will happen for those with regular cycles. This, along with a sexual activity tracker, could help prevent unwanted pregnancies among teenage girls. There was no mention of other period collection methods, such as menstrual cups and tampons. To be fair, these are also not readily available locally. Unlike Western apps that have these features, the Oky app misses these windows of opportunities to forward progressive approaches.
This room for improvement did not go unnoticed. A Gen-Z woman shares, “It’s a giant leap to talk about heavy topics knowing how much taboo goes around in the Philippines. Though I wish there was a feature on contraceptives and family planning because teenage pregnancy is a rising trend in the country too.” In Oky Philippines’ launch event, teenage pregnancy was one of the most recurring phenomena mentioned. However, the app still succumbed to the stigma of contraceptive use and overall family planning.
Basing it from its interface, the application is designed to be adolescent-friendly, which may explain the redacted features. Nonetheless, it is still a win for the Oky Philippines to roll out an app that sparks a conversation on a long taboo topic of menstruation. The tracker app still succeeded in creating a space that is friendly to adolescents, particularly on the topic of menstrual hygiene.
Oky’s quest in the Philippines is far from over. At the end of the day, its initiatives go hand-in-hand with improving public spaces to accommodate menstruating women. Sex education in the country has a long way to go as well. These are not solely for Oky Philippines to accomplish; individual Filipinos across all genders have a role to play in championing women’s reproductive health.
Download Oky for Android via Play Store or for IOS via App Store. For more information, check out Oky’s official website at https://okyapp.info/
What else do you want to see in the Oky App? Comment them down below!