One day, when Providence Iradukunda was still in high school, she spotted a stain of blood on the skirt of her schoolmate. She was shocked and yet ashamed of what happened to her. That particular schoolgirl had her menstrual period unexpectedly, and Iradukunda realised that this could also happen to her. My thoughts revolved around the method our teacher had trained us about – counting days of the menstruation cycle,” narrated Iradukunda. “It was challenging and some students would forget the days due to being busy with other stuff.” By then, Iradukunda was also a trainer through Youth Estimation for Peace and Development, an organisation she founded, and among other programs, taught young girls to avoid pregnancy and embrace menstrual hygiene. Providence Iradukunda Born in Cyanika Sector, Burera District, the young innovator found out that her organisation was helping a few girls compared to many that needed help. Yet during the time, teenage pregnancy cases were also soaring in the land of thousand hills. According to her, many girls were trained but still had challenges tracking their menstruation cycle the natural way. Those who tried to use it were also still not sure of how accurately they could track their cycle. The girls hence still held that fear of getting their menses abruptly. With all that in mind, as a telecommunications student, she started thinking about the solution to that problem. Iradukunda was able to develop an idea of an electronic device, but she couldn’t nurture it further than that because of her limited skills for proper implementation. In 2021 when she started college at IPRC Kigali, she started consulting different people as well as conducting research for her project. Outward look of My Dice - a smart menstrual tracking device made by Providence Iradukunda After a couple of months of hard work and dedication, she was able to manufacture “My dice”, a smart automated menstrual tracking device that helps women and girls to track their menstrual period. She named it “My dice” because to her, it is a sweet name and named it after “urunigi” which is also used traditionally to track menstrual period. Iradukunda revealed that when a user has a regular menstruation cycle, she can upload information into the device’s saver and it can remind her about the days she will have her period as well as her fertility status. “When you are irregular,” she continued, “You can still test in the morning and it can show you when you are likely to have your period, can get pregnant or not; all according to your body temperature and other factors.” The device is programmed and contains different electronic equipment that helps it provide accurate information. Journey to victory: TVET Youth Challenge 2022 Iradukunda first pitched her project at a competition organised by IPRC Kigali. By then, she wasn’t confident and people weren’t listening to her. Who would listen to a first year student bringing in a project? That was unusual, according to her. She said it sort of discouraged her but still believed in her project though it was still a prototype. “When I first made ‘My dice’,” narrates Iradukunda, “I enclosed it in wood, and the wires inside were unaesthetically displayed on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB). It was also big, almost the size of the box of a phone.” The innovator revealed that she later partnered with YouthLab, an organisation that helps start-ups, which gave her space where she was able to better design the device into a lovely and smaller packet that would be carried in a purse. When she finally took it to TVET Youth Challenge 2022, the project won five million Rwandan francs. Its uniqueness “When you are counting your days on “My dice”, you can know there are changes hence act accordingly,” she said. The device contains buttons for resetting and importing data. When you are irregular, you can upload your information and use your fingers to measure your temperature and other things, and match them with initially imported data. Then it shows you the results.” Unlike most tracking devices, ‘My dice’ can be used without a smartphone. It is interactive and can directly interact with the users body anytime. Since it’s not required to be connected to the internet, privacy isn’t an issue which makes users not vulnerable to hackers. It’s also affordable, it costs Rwf15,000. Future plans With financial means from the awards, Iradukunda seeks to conduct extensive research to improve her device, equip it with a better outlook and technology and share it with beta users for testing so that it can officially be put on the market. In three years, she sees herself running a company that distributes these devices to pharmacies and other places. The young innovator advises fellow girls to be confident and be guided by their passion instead of what others, especially men, show them, as well as to avoid those who promise them miracles and understand that they have these miracles in them. “They should follow what they love and make money and earn a living from it,” she added.