Qtalk, an online counseling and social app serving thousands of LGBTIQ+ Nigerians, will be discontinued unless a modest fund drive succeeds.
In the year since it launched, Qtalk has helped thousands of LGBTIQ+ Nigerians consult safely on their Android phones with professional therapists, legal practitioners, and medical doctors who offer their services pro-bono.
It is an Android app that was developed by NoStrings Development Initiatives, a non-profit Nigeria-based LGBTIQ+ digital and media advocacy organization.
In Nigeria, homosexuality is criminalized with penalties of up to 14 years in jail and even death in some parts of the country. LGBTIQ+ Nigerians endure harsh conditions and suffer many forms of discrimination with no legal protection whatsoever. They have to watch their backs every day in order to survive.
They often worry about their safety and fear they will be outed if they seek legal or medical support in person. The Qtalk app was introduced to provide them with free, no-risk support services.
Judging by feedback from users, Qtalk has proven itself to be a useful tool for the LGBTIQ+ community.
“Qtalk is a game-changer for me as a queer person living in Nigeria,” one user wrote. “I have been longing to access professional help, but finding an affirming LGBT therapist has been almost impossible. But with Qtalk, I can now do this conveniently and safely from anywhere. I am truly grateful for it.”
Another Qtalk user wrote: “The whole idea is ingenious. I commend the developers of the app. As a gay man, connecting and socializing with others like you is essential and very important. The conversations in the chat rooms are decent and health. It is very different and I have learned so much. I love the app.”
Since its launch, about 2,500 LGBTIQ+ Nigerians have accessed services via the app, asking questions and getting answers about health, blackmail, family rejection, legal problems and relationship issues.
The counselors provide pro-bono support 24/7. A selection of LGBTIQ+ Nigerians’ questions and counselors’ answers have been published as a monthly series.
On the downside, sustaining the app has been challenging, since its survival depends solely on donations and grants. To this point, the support from partners and donors, including generous individuals, has gone into periodic maintenance and upgrades.
But now Qtalk has run out of funds to continue, which is the reason for this fund drive. Donated money will be collected by NoStringsNG’s fiscal partner, the St. Paul’s Foundation (a U.S. tax-exempt charity), which will pass along the funds to NoStringsNG.
Right now, we need $450 to pay for hosting to keep the app running for a year.
In addition, to reach more members of the LGBTIQ+ community, we are seeking $600 for a social media publicity campaign on Facebook and Instagram.