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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 20 million Nigerians currently suffer from various mental health troubles. But between 75% and 95% of persons in low and middle-income countries such as Nigeria are unable to access mental healthcare services. Add the rampant stigmatization of people living with mental health conditions and the taboo that exists around such phenomena in societies like ours, and the bleak setting in which persons in this situation exist is better defined. Esther is well aware of the gravity of this issue. She has firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to see a loved one harrowed by a mental health challenge, having lost her mother to depression. Now she’s on a mission to ensure that succour is within reach for Africans in a similar situation. As an entrepreneur, Esther brings her varied experience across multiple industries to bear on her latest venture. She’s built capacity in several roles—marketing, public relations, business development, and product management. It’s partly thanks to her versatility that a project in the mould of FriendnPal is seeing the light of day. Her current role as Product Quality Assurance Lead with Landell Games, Sweden, enables her to take a technical view of fashioning her human-impact app.
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Her journey to the world of tech has seen her manage diverse teams, including developers, designers and marketers, spanning many African countries. The international outlook this experience supplies comes in handy for Esther’s intention to scale FriendnPal throughout the continent. Her executive skills are also helped by her experience building MaticDrive, another AI startup that’s tailored to meet the needs of the socially disadvantaged. FriendnPal isn’t just a nice-to-have tool. It’s primed to be a personal companion. The app aligns with the cultural sensitivities of its users and even allows them to access mental healthcare services in their mother tongue. It comes with features like localized content and personalized interventions and guarantees user anonymity—something that’s greatly appreciated by individuals living with mental illness in societies that stigmatize people in their state. Working with a team of passionate Africans, Esther is plotting a path for a full-scale roll-out of FriendnPal. They have released an MVP, and intend to launch the app in 5 African countries: Nigeria, Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, and Zimbabwe. The current plan is to eventually establish a presence in 30 African countries.
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Asides from her involvement with mental health concerns, Esther Eruchie isn’t short of personal accomplishments. An alumna of the University of Lagos (from which she obtained a Master’s Degree in International Law and Diplomacy), she is currently a Global Youth Ambassador of Theirworld. She’s also a 1MYAC Ambassador and a volunteer at Revamp Africa, an engagement that has enabled her to promote quality education for young people. Thus far, she’s helped more than 20 young girls and women transition to tech. Esther hopes that her endeavours, including FriendnPal, will inspire young people to make a difference in their communities with the skills they possess. FriendnPal will be available for download on playstore/IOS on the 5th of August 2023. Follow FriendnPal on its social media platforms: Instagram |Facebook |Twitter |LinkedIn
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