The Life app by KaiOS has made quite an impact in its first year. Released in February 2019 in select African countries, Life is now among the top five most downloaded apps in Nigeria and Uganda, and ranks 14th in Rwanda*. Users in these countries can access a directory of free resources curated for first-time internet users to improve everything from their digital literacy to their health.

Let’s look in more detail at how this initiative is impacting the lives of KaiOS users around the world.

*Data throughout the article gathered through KaiOS internal research department by surveying and interviewing KaiOS users in various countries.

Impacting even more lives with Life

Not only is the Life app now available worldwide, but we’ve also worked to provide content in various languages and included audio content to accommodate low levels of literacy.

The app can be downloaded from the KaiStore for free onto any KaiOS device. Soon, Life will come preloaded on certain devices, like the Digit 4G device by Jazz in Pakistan.

Most content is available in English, but certain materials have been translated into various languages, including Swahili, Arabic, French, Spanish, Urdu, and even several regional African languages, like Kinyardwanda.

To support users with limited literacy, we worked with Audiopedia to provide nearly 30 lessons in audio form. Short audio snippets educate users about nutrition, sexual health, family planning, substance abuse, safety at work, etc.

We’ve also partnered with Viamo to make legal aid, health, financial education, and agricultural information available in audio form. Users in Rwanda can listen to information in their local language, Kinyarwanda, about their legal rights and learn about their legal options.

Increasing digital literacy with Digital Skills content

As many KaiOS users are first-time internet users, it’s crucial to help them improve their digital literacy. Through the Life app’s Digital Skills content, newly connected consumers can learn how to manage their online privacy, conserve data, use social media, and access resources online.

Life’s Digital Skills content was developed in collaboration with GSMA’s Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT), a resource for mobile operators who want to train their retail sales staff on how to introduce mobile internet to first-time users.

Screenshot of Digital Skills in Life app

Accordingly, the Digital Skills section of Life focuses on the basics of getting online. Through easy-to-follow tutorials, users can learn how to use important tools, such as Google Maps, WhatsApp, and YouTube on their smart feature phones.

Modules are designed not only to educate consumers about how to use certain apps but also why. For example, consumers will learn how to save on SMS and voice call fees by using WhatsApp for communication.

Other Digital Skills modules connect users with trustworthy news sources and educate consumers about internet scams. For the newly connected, these materials are invaluable. In just a few clicks, they can learn how to protect their privacy and identify suspicious news or messages.

Helping families with books and educational content

Screenshots of Worldreader

Thanks to our partnership with Worldreader, we can offer thousands of free books through the Life app. Additional educational resources also improve literacy rates in underserved communities by providing free self-guided lessons.

In emerging areas, books may not be widely available. The Life app library provides free educational entertainment and brings families together. Many surveyed users shared that they use the Life app to read books to their children.

“[In the education section] they give quite a variety of information…It’s all free information, you don’t have to pay for it. That’s the most amazing thing” – Ugandan mother and Life app user

Improving literacy rates is a key step in helping communities thrive. According to Worldreader, “illiterate people earn on average 35% less than their literate counterparts.” Several studies also show that affordable technology in early education prepares children for future career opportunities. Free literacy-building resources on low-priced KaiOS devices make self-guided lessons accessible, which, in turn, supports local consumers.

Providing free health information

The app’s Health section provides a wide variety of resources that allow users to manage their personal health through expert medical information.

Sexual and reproductive health

Life’s Health section assists women in managing their sexual and reproductive health by providing links to resources such as period-tracking apps and expert medical advice.

Pregnant women can access neonatal tips for caring for their unborn child as well as their own bodies during pregnancy. Once they give birth, they can turn to the app for advice on keeping their infant healthy.

Our partnership with Girl Effect brings their Springster content into the Life app.

“Springster is our mobile-first safe space that digitally connects marginalized and vulnerable girls in over 50 countries to online content designed to equip them with the knowledge, confidence and connections they need to navigate the complex choices of adolescence.” – Girl Effect

This content guides young women through puberty by answering questions that developing girls may be too embarrassed to ask their parents or teachers.

“I used to be so shy and never wanted to ask about my body and why things were happening during puberty, but then I read Springster and it feels like I have a friend, a big sister and I’m not facing this all alone.” — Girl Effect user

Nutritional information

After surveying Life users, we found that people wanted to know more about the food they consume. Over the past year, we’ve added several additional nutritional resources to the app.

  • Explanations of how certain types of food affect the body
  • Food dictionary with photos and nutritional information for local produce
  • Nutritional videos that discuss the importance of eating well, provided by MT2
Users can watch short videos within the app that provide healthy eating tips or address specific conditions, such as diabetes.

Empowering women with education and autonomy

Screenshots of Future and My Life, Mr Rights in Life app

By educating users about gender equality, the Life app strives for women empowerment around the world. Not only do we provide content that aids women in gaining body and financial autonomy, but we also connect users to female-centric programs.

Resources provided by CARE allow women to take control of their finances with free financial education materials. The Gender Equality section also contains materials that encourage female entrepreneurship.

We worked with Girl Effect to bring in My Life My Rights — a collection of resources to help women understand their personal rights, identify potential domestic abuse, and get emotional support from qualified counselors.

Helping rural farmers manage their agricultural business

Through a combination of localized farming information from iCow, Wikipedia, and local sources as well as farmer-to-farmer conversations, the Agriculture section of the Life app helps small farmers improve their businesses.

Wefarm provides useful farming tips, crop management advice, local weather forecasts, and a wide variety of agricultural resources. It also facilitates farmer-to-farmer conversations through free SMS messaging, allowing farmers to share advice.

Thanks to our partnership with iCow, farmers have free access to courses that cover agricultural business topics such as rainwater harvesting, natural pest control, livestock welfare, and many others.

Join us in changing lives for the better

We believe in enabling communities around the world by making mobile internet and trusted, life-changing resources accessible to all. We’re proud of how the Life app is serving that mission.

If you’d like to help us provide life-changing resources to users around the world, please fill out this form to suggest content and we’ll be in touch shortly.