What's happening in Community Engagement

Measuring a moving target webinar:

This week we held an event highlighting the challenges of adaptive and design-integrated ASRH programming. You can see the recording, speaker notes, information about the speakers and the topic, as well as a number of helpful resources shared by the speakers during the call in this thread.

One of the key highlights was around how human-centred design and adaptive implementation can work in complimentary ways - how design can guide the research and project design, and adaptive implantation and learning practices can guide the implementation phases, to lead to rapid iteration through learning and insights. While there are challenges with measuring and evaluating interventions that are consistently iterating and improving, the essence of the program should remain true to the original theory of change.

The other interesting thing that stood out to me, was when speakers touched upon and would make for interesting follow-up was the idea of having internal project success metrics to measure how adaptive a project is. We talk quite a lot about how we need to develop mindsets, in addition to practices, and a culture of curiosity and learning to do HCD well, and these points were suggesting that it would be an interesting and important shift to actually hold implementers, designers, and evaluators to account. A great quote from speaker Matthew Wilson, A360 Director at PSI on this:

“Measuring outcomes is obviously important, but wouldn’t it be powerful if the ability to learn and adapt was a measure of success explicitly valued by donors and implementers?”

Adolescent Insights learnings and event:
We’re about to launch two reports with our observations on the generation and use of adolescent insights in HCD+ASRH programs. We are hosting a community-wide event to complement this launch and realized that this can be a technical topic and therefore should keep the full event at a fairly high level. This will be taking place May 31st and will discuss the value of insights in the HCD process as one of the key value-adds of HCD in ASRH programming and what it takes to do it well.

We do want to continue deepening this work by having more in-depth conversations with HCD+ASRH experts and so decided to test out a “Learning Circle” event for practitioners who have experience with the use and general of insights in practical program settings.

To help shape this, we reached out to a few members of the community to get their thoughts on the following questions, to help us frame what a meaningful and valuable conversation could look like. We asked:

  • What aspects of the generation/use of adolescent insights in the context of ASRH programming need to be further explored and reflected on?

  • What do you think will most benefit the field of practice with regards to insights in the context of HCD+ASRH? (We think it would be nice to have a learning circle which is practice-focused vs. just theory)

  • What are some next steps in terms of work that experts in the field can do to develop this learning area further?

We’ll keep this thread updated as we keep developing this out!

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Hi all,

As we start to share updates from our work at the Secretariat, I thought it would be helpful to share a little bit about who I am, not just as the Sr. Community Manager at the HCDExchange, but as Liz the human. I hope some background will help to provide context for how I approach things, my gaps, and where I’m coming from.

How it started

I’ve had a divergent path to get me to where I am today, but through line has always been a commitment to improving sexual and reproductive health. :male_sign: :female_sign: :infinity: My experience in this work comes mainly from working on menstrual health management (MHM) projects.

It started in Tanzania, partnering with a local non-profit to increase education on menstrual health, and access to menstrual health products for girls in secondary schools. :drop_of_blood: During this time I was running a small social entreprise that was working on solving last-mile distribution gaps and reusable pads were my favourite product in our basket. This non-profit had an incredible ability to create safe-spaces and open discussions, and I was privileged to hear firsthand how critical this education and these products are for girls to reach their full potential, which is something that I had previously taken for granted. :pensive:

After doing this in Tanzania for nearly 4 years, I switched to work directly with an MHM social entreprise called AFRIpads, the largest producer of reusable pads on the African continent. I worked selling their kits to international NGOs in Ethiopia :ethiopia: Tanzania :tanzania: Somalia and Somaliland :somalia: mainly who were either doing large-scale distributions in either schools, or camps for either internally displaced people or refugees. The real passion in this work came from going to the field and working with these partners to integrate our MHM curriculum into their projects, and facilitate training-of-trainer sessions with project team members.

How it’s going

I have been working for the HCDExchange since February of 2021, joining as the first community manager on the project. I became the Sr. Community Manager in June! :partying_face: My role is to create the opportunities and infrastructure for meaningful engagement within the Community of Practice. This looks like a lot of events, a lot of conversations, setting up partnerships, and managing this Forum!

It’s a learning process :thinking: in a few ways - first, because I’ve never been a community manager before (but I have been able to pull a lot of skills from my business development and partnerships life!) and secondly, because we are a continuously evolving project with a continuously evolving group of members with changing needs and desires.

I also oversee our youth engagement work stream, managing the Youth Engagement Officer and get to work closely with our Youth Leadership Hub, to collaborate on bringing our youth engagement opportunities and events :calendar: to the young professionals in the Community, and also sometimes a mentor for Associates. Being a mentor is one of my favourite elements of my role, mainly because it’s super energizing working together with such incredibly switched-on young people.

I think this is probably enough for this post! I’ll talk next time a bit about my values and why this work is so important to me personally. Thanks for reading! :grin:

The Secretariat has been in full-on planning mode these past few weeks. As some of you might know, the HCDExchange project has been extended into a second phase of the project, which began April 1st. Over the past month, we’ve been wrapping up our final report from the first phase, and digging into bringing our phase two proposal to life. It’s been busy, exhausting at times, and also very exciting and inspiring to look back and reflect while also looking ahead.

How have we done all of this over the course of only about 5 weeks, you might ask? Well, given the importance of launching a second phase, we found this a compelling enough reason to get the full team together for a strategic planning retreat. This is the first time team members have been brought together in-person since the re-launch of the HCDExchange! :partying_face: Important outcomes of this retreat are a new Theory of Change, and our work plan. The Theory of Change is a really great depiction of why we exist and what it is we are hoping to achieve with our work - our raison d’etre. To have full transparency with the Community of Practice, we’re going to be sharing this publicly very soon!

As a small sneak peak into our focuses, here are the two main outcome areas that we are working towards over the next 18 months or so:

  • Increased awareness of the role and value of HCD in AYSRH among practitioners and institutional level actors
  • Increased organizational capacity to apply HCD + AYSRH

What this means in practice is us working to widen and deepen engagement with new and existing community members with meaningful opportunities and experiences, partnering with institutional actors to accelerate the adoption of quality HCD in AYSRH, and a lot of testing, validating, iterating and documenting on the resources that we are putting out of the next couple of months.

We’re also investigating the long-term sustainability of the Community of Practice, looking at different options for funding or revenue to keep the HCDExchange alive and bright in the long-term, so you might see surveys or community asks to share your thoughts on how this future might take shape.

We’re so excited to keep moving forward on this journey together with all of you!

HCD Insights in AYSRH

We are all hands on deck to bring the adolescent insights reports to life, and host what should be a really great event in a few weeks!

With the launching of the two upcoming reports just around the corner, we’ve been working on how to complement these resources with other opportunities to engage with the content, for those who aren’t necessarily report people. The webinar on May 31st, should give folks a high-level of what is in the reports, hopefully to pique your interest in the reports, but also share some of the key highlights. We’ll also be sharing some blogs, and breaking down some of the report content in this section of the forum, and sharing a summary deck of the key highlights as well, so definitely keep an eye out for those!

We’ve also been having some internal debates about the framing of the adolescent insights learning area. The main questions being, is it just adolescents or is it also youth? We’ve realized that sometimes we get caught up on the terminology when really we just mean young people. Most of the projects that we’ve been looking at are AYSRH (adolescent and youth), with the focus on young people aged 15-19 or 15-24, but typically also have some divisions for older adolescents and youth within their programming. You’ll noticed that as we frame the upcoming event, we’re not really saying “adolescent insights” anymore, but “HCD insights in AYSRH” - hoping that it feels more clear. TBD on the official name change of this learning area though!