Big Sis for Girl Effect

Big Sis for Girl Effect

How do you create a space where girls and young women feel safe to ask taboo questions, but also seen by a presence that feels like a friend?

Big Sis is an artificial intelligence-powered agony aunt chatbot that offers girls in South Africa a safe, private, non-judgemental and accurate source of information on topics they do not feel comfortable discussing elsewhere – like sex, STIs and HIV prevention – and points them towards services.

The platform was created by Girl Effect, an international non-profit that builds media that girls around the world want, trust, and need. The team works with girls in South Africa from diverse backgrounds, and with mixed ages and life experiences, to listen to their challenges and how they feel, and builds content that will resonate with them.

Phrases submitted to the chatbot by the girls fuel Big Sis’ AI-engine through a Natural Language Processing model, which can recognise incoming questions and deliver an immediate answer.

In collaboration with the Girl Effect team and feminist researcher and writer, Jen Thorpe, our team developed a new wave of content focusing on mental and sexual health. Our work included writing flows for the Big Sis chatbot, editing flows for a colloquial sensibility, creating website content, developing character profiles for Big Sis’s Chommies (friends) and putting together quizzes for the website.

In 2022,

chats were started with Big Sis and over 1.3 million messages were received by the chatbot. After advice from Big Sis,
of girls intend to access a health service before starting a new relationship (12% higher than those who have not used it).