What a year it's been! From gaining B Corp certification to designing, building and scaling 18 solutions in 28 countries, the Here I Am team share some of their highlights of 2023.
Laura, CEO: Evolving Here I Am into a global organisation
At the beginning of this year, we made a commitment to decentralise our workforce, moving it beyond Europe and across the Global South. As the year comes to a close, our team now spans Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda. We learn from each other every day, whether it's a design process or a cultural practice. Everything about our work is better and stronger, and our culture has become richer, deeper, and more interesting. Our new global team is, without a doubt, the highlight of my year. Looking forward to 2024, I am filled with optimism.
Vi, COO: Gaining B Corp Certification
Here I Am was aligned with B Corp standards from day one and gaining Certification Here I Am being a B Corp was one of our top priorities. So gaining the certification this year has been a huge effort and an incredible achievement! Here I Am’s nature is to contribute positively to a better world and our certification reflects our genuine dedication to ensuring that purpose and social responsibility are integral to our operations. 2023 will stay in our memory as the year we’ve achieved B Corp certification.
Justine, Senior Designer: Malala Fund Girls Vision and Girl Effect Champions
One of my highlights this year has been working with the Malala Fund team on the Girls Vision project. For the last few months, we have been co-designing a global consultation approach with them that will allow us to learn about girls’ vision for a quality education all around the world. Being part of a project with such an important focus is an honour and really motivates us to push ourselves to create the most inclusive and rich approach possible. And, like with all the co-creation journeys we go on at HIA (shout out to my other favourite project, Girl Effect's new app project), I have been learning so much from working with young women like the Girl Vision Leads Ayesha, Meti and Tamilore, as well as their Steering Committee.
Kate, Design Director: UNHCR Digital Gender Inclusion and Innovation Bootcamp
UNHCR Innovation Officer Solji Oh describes her best day at work as the Digital Gender Inclusion and Innovation Bootcamp that we partnered with UNHCR to deliver this year — and I couldn’t agree with her more. For me it was a highlight this year because it was the closest I’ve felt to the direct and immediate impact of our work. By collaborating with in-country, refugee-led organisations, we were able to support them to co-create solutions for a range of live issues faced by refugees across 12 global locations. In addition to the privilege of hearing and developing their ideas, our primary goal was to build skills, knowledge and confidence among participants. The success of this also firmly places this project as my 2023 highlight, as the participants were hugely positive about taking the practices back to their communities, to create further impact. One participant labelled the experience as ‘truly transformative’ and another said ‘I believe I will always use it, regardless of wherever I may go to work.’
Flynne, Delivery Manager: CARE International’s Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CVCA) research tool
The first project I worked on at Here I Am was delivering a remote design sprint with CARE International to identify specific design features to digitise relevant areas of the CVCA tool. The tool supports the collection, analysis and use of data on community-level vulnerabilities, risks and capacities related to the climate crisis. This project is my 2023 highlight for two key reasons: 1) Climate change and community ownership are areas close to my heart, and it’s an honour to be able to support such vital issues. 2) It showcased how bringing a group of stakeholders together (virtually) for a structured series of well-facilitated workshops can enable such wide-ranging and important conversations, agreeing on a direction of change and resulting in a low-fi prototype — all in three weeks!
Leah, Senior Delivery Manager: Fatima, Here I Am’s ethical research platform
In 2020 we rapidly launched Fatima, a research platform designed to reach and understand the world’s most excluded people. This year, the Here I Am team have worked hard to define what the next version of Fatima could and should be. We decided our focus should be on creating a user experience that is simple and easy to use in extremely challenging environments such as live crisis situations, and places ethics and safety at the heart of the experience. We are also so excited to announce the launch of a brand new version of Fatima—in partnership with CARE—called Fatima Light, which will be free to the humanitarian sector. I'm really proud of the new version of Fatima, and the potential it has to change the way that the data of vulnerable people is collected and used.
Dee, Junior Designer: Girl Effect project
In 2023, a standout moment for me was contributing to Girl Effect's new app, designed to aid community extension workers in Tanzania and Ethiopia. This project has been a harmonious blend of creativity and purpose, where we prioritized user experience through user testing and iterative design. The joy of incorporating user feedback into the app's evolution has been a highlight, and collaborating with a diverse team spanning both countries has enriched the entire process. Working on a project that seeks to make a meaningful impact on the communities these community extension workers serve is a privilege
Chance, Support Manager: Fatima Sudan, Rapid Gender Analysis Project
My 2023 highlight was coordinating the Rapid Gender Analysis Project in Sudan with an incredible team of talented young women. It In 2023, a standout moment for me was contributing to Girl Effect's new app, designed to aid community extension workers in Tanzania and Ethiopia. This project has been a harmonious blend of creativity and purpose, where we prioritized user experience through user testing and iterative design. The joy of incorporating user feedback into the app's evolution has been a highlight, and collaborating with a diverse team spanning both countries has enriched the entire process. Working on a project that seeks to make a meaningful impact on the communities these community extension workers serve is a privilegewas my first experience managing a project with team members spread across different time zones, yet their shared dedication and vision made it seamless. I cherished how swiftly these young women adapted to the project, using Here Aim’s Digital research tool Fatima. Listening to Sudanese women resonated deeply, as they empathetically placed themselves in the shoes of those they were advocating for. The sense of empowerment and solidarity they gained was remarkable. They realised they were actively contributing to women's rights in Sudan by collaborating with organisations for immediate intervention and support through research findings.
Issie, Design Lead: Girl Effect WAZZII, a sexual health chatbot
My highlight for 2023 was working with Girl Effect on the design of WAZZII, a sexual health chatbot for Kenyan adolescent girls and young women. What stood out for me was the commitment to working closely with young women from a variety of backgrounds to inform our decisions — not just during the design phase, but also post-launch. This allowed us to create a more equitable, ongoing relationship with our Youth Creators, which also enabled them to gain exposure and skills in relation to UX design and product development. I also loved witnessing how working so closely with users strengthened the confidence and passion of the Girl Effect team that they were making data-driven decisions that reflected real user needs.
Sean, Lead Developer: Fatima, Here I Am’s ethical research platform
This year we’ve been working on the next evolution for Fatima. Fatima was born out of a time-sensitive need for reaching remote communities when the Covid pandemic forced the world into isolation. We’ve learned a lot since then and we’re now sharing those learnings with our partners via Fatima’s new features. We’re rolling out major improvements in scripting and language support, analysis and interview calls. I'm so excited by this work because it now means our AI integrations—that we think will be unique to the sector—for ethical data collection will improve our ability to reach anybody anywhere, regardless of their access to technology.