Their Problem is Ours too... Update June 15 (with prototyping timeline v2 , experience map and reflection on the experience during refinement)
My idea is to create awareness and educate young people on the problems girls around the globe face. I want to create a conversation across the world where we share stories about gender equality based on our experiences, and start brainstorming on how to change perceptions and behaviors.
Provide a short description of your idea
My idea is an online platform. It tackles the problem of gender inequality (and its related negative consequences for girls and women). It addresses the problem by 1) providing knowledge on the situation in different locations as well as examples of initiative and programs, and 2) creating a conversation between young people all around the world that hopefully can lead to collective actions and change in behaviors.
Get a user's perspective on your idea.
I had been in touch with a couple of users and in fact now have a couple of contributors who posted on the platform:
(P.S. Beatrice agreed on posting when the 2 girls she wants to involve will be back from the rural area).
Overall, everyone agrees that sharing information, stories and brainstorming globally is positive and can add value.
Pushpa (Bhaktapur in Nepal) has agreed to be involved in the platform as a key contributor (what I called "ambassador" in my timeline).
Beatrice (Pearl in Uganda) said that there are 2 girls beneficiaries from her program who are at the university and have access to the internet who might be interested in being ambassadors.
A club of students at NYU Shanghai has been following the blog and are planning to be involved and do some of the offline conversations at the end of August when they go back to school.
Based on the questions I've asked to several users, I am confirmed that I will need to develop a more interactive platform that people can access maybe through Facebook (like openIDEO).
Based on my experience and the interactions I have seen that developing some relationships with organizations and having one or two people involved from each organization responsible for posting, commenting but also doing offline activities and sharing with others is really important.
See experience map for more information.
Show us what implementation might look like.
I have been able to develop a few relationships and get some engagement. I am planning to keep working on developing these relationships and getting content on the blog in the next few months.
I then plan to work on looking at different options from the technology perspective while trying to create more interactions between the different contributors.
See prototyping timeline for more information.
In the research phase, I noticed that many stories and videos pointed to similar issues despite different locations. In my book club at school (I'm a ninth grader), I had a conversation with one of my classmates regarding gender issues. We were discussing the book "In the name of God", which talks about the life of a teenage girl in syria. Some of us assumed that the problems described in the book were "far away" and related to the Muslim context. However, my classmate made me aware that this was a problem that she herself had faced here in Brooklyn. This started to make me think that it was more of a global problem. This is what my title points at: it is easy to think that problems are far away from home, but they're not. My title also points to the need to engage both genders in this conversation, as the problems girls face ussually involved boys. Even my sister, when playing waterpolo, complains that the boys on her team won't pass to her bcause she is a girl, and they thik she is weak. (Which is funny, as she is alot faster than all of them when it comes to swimming, and also is a very good player)
Prototype of a logo for the platform
Design for the platform.
Thinking about all the research posts adn stories I've heard, I though that the solution would involve a change in perceptions and behaviors with those who will be grown-ups tomorrow, as they will be the ones making decisions. To create this conversation, I'm planning to create an online platform with two sections:
Here is a prototype of the platform
- the first would be to share drawings, poems, videos, stories, any type of media to describe the current situation and/or how tomorrow will be.
- The second section would be on making that transition; people would talk together through a chat, or even through video communication when possible, and discuss ways of moving from today to tomorrow. I believe that through this dialogue between people, we will be able to create a change.
Update May 12
I've kept trying to connect with NGOs to get them to post. I realize that this is very difficult. I am not sure what is the main problem. I'm exploring various solutions:
Yesterday, it was great to see
Pushpa who had been commenting on the blog for a while had posted a full post!
- sending a specific set of questions to answer;
- finding ways to provide computer access
- creating "ambassadors" / "buddies" ( 2 young people, a girl and a boy) working with NGOs who would be collaborating with me in developing content and conversations.
Friday, I'm meeting with my advisory teacher to discuss ways of involving more students in my school.
Update May 24
As explained in my prototyping timeline, I decided to concentrate on building a few strong relationship with a few individuals and organizations to start building a community and spurr a conversation.
I have now a few contributors:
I am now aiming to be able to develop a sustainable relationship so that the conversation between a few "ambassadors/ buddies" can start. I see them also as connectors. I've asked for example
Pushpa if she could post a question at her university and share the results on the blog (Thanks Luisa for the suggestion!). Beatrice said that there are 2 girl beneficiaries (who are at the university and have access to the internet) who could be in charge of the conversation on the blog.
I met with my advisor Friday and she agreed to have me do a session at lunch, hopefully next week, where I will ask students to answer a question regarding gender equality, inspired by some of the
conversation triggers I developed and Candy Chang' Before I die.
Beatrice, I discovered
World Pulse which is a platform that aims to create a dialogue between women in different countries. It's success is a great inspiration for me. I am going to look more at the design and structure as I try to design the next version of the platform. My advisor at school suggested I start a club to get other students to help me designing the new platform.
Explain your idea in one sentence.
A global network where young people can share what they believe gender equality is and should be.
What is the need you are trying to solve?
1. Create awareness about gender roles and equality/inequality around the world, showing that there might not be so many differences around the world.
2. Educate young people about issues related to gender inequality.
3. Engage young people to start changing their ways of thinking and behaving when it comes to gender issues.
Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?
Young people from 12-20 years old.
Measure of success:
1. Number of comments
2. Number of active contributors (both girls and boys)
3. Number of offline conversations shared on the blog
4. Development of "parallel" actions in different countries, by different groups
5. Stories of change posted on the blog
If people start sharing ideas, stories, and collaborating together, then I will know that some change might happen. I know it is difficult to measure but I was very impressed when listening to this video on Global Pulse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRaD8qaJ6MI. Both Leena and Beatrice explained how important it was to be able to post a story. They also said how a comment, even as simple as "beautiful story" had a huge impact.
Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?
I think that if I can build a strong relationship with at least 2 organizations on the ground, I should be able to manage the conversations on the platform.
In 10th grade in my school, we are supposed to do a year-long project, and I've discussed with my advisor the possibility of developing this idea for my project.
I might need some technical help for the development of the platform, but I believe that if I work with other students from my school and with the ambassadors to understand their needs and constraints, we can design the user interface. I need also to see also how much is already available and we might be able to develop the platform.
Where should this idea be implemented?
In schools and organizations working with young people in low-income urban areas everywhere around the world
How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?
I am planning two types of prototyping:
1. Create a platform (maybe using a blog) inviting other teenagers to participate. I hope to have people in my school or in my sister's school. It'd be great to have some teenagers in other countries to post. Maybe some of the organizations that posted could join.
For example, the YP Foundation: http://openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/spending-the-day-at-yp-foundation-in-delhi-building-potential-of-low-income-communities-with-student-volunteers
or the club in Kathmandu; http://openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/different-local-problems-similar-mindsets
1. I wrote to these 2 organizations and the YP Foundation expressed some interest. I hope that some of the kids in their program participate.
2. I created a blog: http://theirproblemisours.blogspot.com/
Please check it out and if you are between 12 and 20 or know someone between 12 and 20 which wants to share stories, thoughts and dreams about how they perceive gender roles and gender equality today, and how they would like them to be tomorrow, please let them know about the blog!
2. Create a video based on interviews of people answering the question : "what is gender equality? Where is it today? Where do you want it to be tomorrow?" I'll ask people personal stories illustrating their claims.
UPDATE MAY 18:
Despite their interest and the fit between their work on my idea, the YP foundation has not been able to participate to the blog I created as a way to test my idea of creating a global conversation
However, Pushpa from the Bakhtapur Youth Club has been very active and Michael Iyango from Power Women has just published a post.
I have also been in touch with a few other organizations which expressed interest and willingness to participate.
At this point, I haven't done the video because I have put more effort sharing information on the blog and developing connections and relationships.
UPDATE MAY 26:
Pushpa has done an offline conversation and kept commenting on the blog.
Beatrice Achieng Nas reached out to me expressing interest in being involved in the platform. She is now a contributor and she agreed in selecting 2 girls working with her organization to be ambassadors on the platform.
I will do a second offline conversation at my school next week.
Update of the prototyping timeline.
UPDATE JUNE 15
Pushpa (from Bhaktapur, Nepal) is still involved.
Beatrice Achieng Nas has just put me in touch with 6 young people working with her organization (Pearl) and I reached out to them. I hope to get a reply soon.
I did a second offline conversation in the cafeteria of my school. While everyone thought it was a great project, only a few people engaged with the idea and wrote down their thoughts. It is frustrating to see so little engagement. Yet, that only makes me want even more to get people to talk as I believe it is the only way to bring about change.
I also think that because I am only a High School boy, they feel that it is not such an important thing. This is why it is important for me to get a few organizations like Bhaktapur Club and Pearl involve.
While I think I could work on the design of the platform (making it more interactive, more user-friendly), I feel that a key point is the social aspect of it and having a few active contributors is crucial. The proof is that Pushpa's latest post led to a lot of comments and discussions.
What might a day in the life of a community member interacting with your idea look like?
Where: through word of mouth (e.g. friends at school or in club, or organizations they are involved with), through the organizations involved as contributors on the platform or through the internet.
When: talking with friends about the issue of gender equality; during a workshop
Benefits: young people will develop a broader awareness and will also start thinking of ways to change behaviors. This might happen either when involved in the offline activities, reading or hearing about others' experiences and efforts, and of course, through commenting and posting.
For more see experience map