Known as Yeheli.lk in Sinhala and English, and Thozhi.lk in Tamil, this platform is positioned as Sri Lanka’s only personalized and interactive advisory service for individuals to connect with qualified virtual advisors or confidants. Developed and operated in partnership with several leading organizations in fields such as women’s empowerment, health and online safety, it is a free trilingual service with a web portal and an Android app. Yeheli creates a safe and trusted space to learn about and discuss a range of topics which may be too sensitive to be discussed with family and peers, such as: abuse, sexual health, contraceptives, relationship issues, domestic violence, etc.
Through field research carried out with the GSMA in 2017, it was revealed that one of the key reasons for the evident gender gap in mobile data usage in Sri Lanka is women finding the internet “not relevant” to them. Yeheli is thus a digital intervention to address some of the most pressing issues faced by women due to strict cultural norms, thereby encouraging them to use internet to enhance the quality of their lives.
Yeheli offers a digital, anonymous, scalable platform that overcomes constraints to provide conventional solutions for the user’s specific need. The platform is user friendly as simplicity (for the user, expert and administrator) is achieved through carefully designed software, based on extensive UX research. The user can ask questions, in a language they prefer, at the click of a button, whenever they want, though a mobile phone/computer and receive personalized answers to the device itself without having to be physically present in front of an expert. Where the issues are complex, several experts can contribute to the same question, without having to go to several experts to get their opinions for different aspects of the problem, e.g. – sexual assault, require medical, psychological and legal advice. Experts can use the simple interface created for them to answer the questions at their convenience.
As the number of user queries increase, the system allows recruitment of experts through an online application process. Yeheli is also in the process of creating Sri Lanka’s biggest volunteer network of professionals in legal, psycho-social and medical fields.