The HCDExchange is a community of practice dedicated to advancing learning and generating evidence on the impact that human-centered design (HCD) can have on adolescent sexual health programming (ASRH). We seek to explore, test, document and evaluate the benefits and challenges of integrating HCD in ASRH. Our work aims to generate learning and an evidence base that stakeholders across the field can use to inform, validate and scale design-led ASRH interventions. In our work, we focus on low resource settings in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and are committed to meaningful youth participation in all our activities.
What we do
- We catalyze learning and evidence generation on the role of human-centered design in strengthening adolescent sexual health outcomes. We believe that a robust evidence base and increased opportunities for learning on the role of design in ASRH can unlock new pathways to enhancing programme design, implementation and evaluation in the field. Learn more in our learning agenda »
- We drive this learning by connecting people and organizations working at the intersection of HCD and ASRH. We help them collaborate, learn from each other, and generate and share communal learning and resources for the field. Learn more in our community strategy»
- We work through an active community of practice consisting of a range of stakeholders across in the HCD and ASRH field. Our work centers the needs and aspirations of youth, for whom our community of practice is creating interventions.
Our current work
Our primary goal is to advance learning in HCD+ASRH, through an active community of practice, centred on youth and powered by a supportive infrastructure.
To achieve our objectives on advancing learning, we are currently:
- Shaping the Learning Agenda for the HCD+ASRH field,
- Generating and curating HCD+ASRH evidence on four topics through working groups:
- Adolescent ASRH Insights
- Youth Integration in HCD+ASRH
- Monitoring and Evaluation on HCD+ASRH
- Quality and Standards for HCD+ASRH
- Validating and disseminating HCD+ASRH learning in the four learning topics above and
- Piloting an HCD+ASRH design fellowship that places human-centered designers in organizations that specialize in ASRH.
To spark collaboration towards learning, we’re building a vibrant community of practice consisting of designers, youth, implementers, funders, policy makers and evaluators. We connect this community through:
- Regular communications and engagement across our various digital channels and events,
- A community platform that deepens engagement and connection on the four learning topics,
- Community calls that aim to supercharge collaboration and exchange learnings,
- A biennial convening to mark milestones and key decisions for the HCD+ASRH field,
- Advancing meaningful youth engagement in design and implementation.
Our history and vision for the future
Below is an overview of where we’ve been and where we’re going. We envision three phases, and are currently in Phase 2.
Phase 1 / Imagine: Tanzania, January 2018
Phase 1 was about coming together for the first time and people starting to see themselves as a community with a shared agenda. The concept of the HCDExchange emerged when the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and William & Flora Hewlett Foundation funded a convening to bring together people and organizations working at the intersection of HCD and ASRH.
Fifty-nine participants spent three days sharing experiences, comparing insights, and building connections. This included deep dives into the learnings from pioneer HCD+ASRH projects:
- Beyond Bias— in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Pakistan
- Future Fab/Choice for Change — Kenya
- Adolescents 360 — Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria
- Divine Divas — Zambia
Participants identified four thematic areas to explore further via working groups: Adolescent Insights, Scaling HCD, Partnerships, and Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning. (Download the convening report; view A360’s subsequently produced Commitment to Ethics in Youth-Powered Program Design.)
Phase 2 / Forming: January 2020 – December 2021
Phase 2 is about establishing community infrastructure and a shared vision. With support from the same set of funders in 2020 through to the end of 2021, the HCDExchange’s current vision focuses on:
- Facilitating youth agency and leadership
- Acting as a focal point to advance learning and the generation of evidence
- Developing a community with active participation and a diverse membership
- Establishing the infrastructure and systems to grow and support the community
More specifically, our vision for the HCD+ASRH field is one that is:
- Democratized — HCD practices are accessible and inclusive of diverse participants
- Localized — contextually relevant
- Mutualized — jointly owned
Read our community strategy for this phase.
Phase 3 / Sustaining: 2020 and beyond
Phase 3 is about sustainable impact. Our vision: an HCDExchange with a broad and active membership, a diversified funding base that powers community-led initiatives, and a responsive Secretariat. Most importantly, it continues to advance the HCD+ASRH field, which is characterized by:
- A solid and growing evidence base
- Established learning pathways that boost capacity and confidence
- Consistent meaningful youth engagement
- Institutionalized and mainstreamed HCD in ASRH (funders expect & resource it, programs and projects integrate it as the norm)
- Accessible and replicable practices that are spread across geographies
- An ecosystem with considerable trust and credibility
Proposed core principles
Our community adheres to a set of principles that help us engage productively. The list of principles below was created with input from the community of practice in 2020. Review our word list to see how we understand the words we use.
Shaped by the lived realities of youth
Our community is guided by adolescent and youth voices, needs, and ideas. We are committed to the practice of meaningful youth engagement.
Co-creation & joint ownership
Our community is driven by passionate members who rally behind a culture, norms, and a vision that they have developed together.
Every member of our community has autonomy and equal rights. Their experiences, expertise, and agency is recognized, and appreciated.
Integrated & holistic
We consider the context around ASRH, taking a holistic approach and tackling interconnected issues such as power dynamics, gender, livelihoods, and education.
While we come together around advancing HCD+ASRH, our strength emerges from our differences. We cultivate diversity, seeking to include people from a range of geographies, ages, cultures, sexual identities, and abilities.
We celebrate and grow from lessons learned from both failures and successes. Learning is our main goal, so we strive to create opportunities and spaces where peers can be vulnerable with regards to what they don’t know, or what didn’t go well.
We start by listening and value humility and empathy. We strive to understand ideas, challenges, and contexts from multiple perspectives. We make our assumptions visible and remain open to changing, adapting, or starting again from the beginning.
This community builds on an ethos of forming deep bonds and strong relations with one another. We envision a future heritage of stories, tools, and resources that inspire and nurture our members’ aspirations.