• Students at the Human Centered Design with Tandemic.

By Abeera Abdullah, student and Project Stand Up participant

Ms Abeera Abdullah is a student at Fugee School and a member of the Project Stand Up youth team. She has been living in Malaysia since 2016. During her time in Malaysia she has been involved in many activities that have allowed her to learn about different cultures and backgrounds. She is open-minded and loves learning about the different ways that people live. Her favorite thing about Project Stand Up is that it gives her a chance to give back to her community and empower the youth in her community.

The deep dive

To kick-off our Project Stand Up app and training program project, we had deep dive training on Human-Centered Design (HCD) at Tandemic, a HCD consulting company. It was challenging and fun. We were forced to squeeze our brains!

The three-day training workshop taught us how to apply HCD to our project. The most important thing that we learned about was empathy – putting yourself in the shoes of the users.

The training opened our eyes to tools we could use to find solutions to the problems we are trying to address. We learnt one of the main skills essential for us as the youth of this generation, is to learn problem solving skills, which will help prepare us to be leaders of the future. In addition, we learnt that growth mindset is really important to have because it will help us take on new challenges with optimism and use mistakes as ways to learn instead of thinking they are signs that we are not smart.

The HCD training has developed our personalities by encouraging us and building the confidence to work with our community. We will take what we learned to create solutions so more girls can have access to equal learning opportunities. It also made us brave by creating a safe environment for us to try new things and to go through all the obstacles with perseverance to achieve our goals. In the HCD process, we learnt information about interviewing skills and the ethics of communicating with different types of people.

Documents and notes
Evidence of hard work.

Doing is better than thinking

After completing our training sessions with Tandemic, as part of the HCD process, we worked with the community for three weeks to test our project assumptions. We spoke to potential champions, who are youth from the community that will volunteer their time to do community services and take on responsibilities that prevent students, especially girls, from going to school. We also went out to interview people to help us to get a better understanding about the beliefs and the values that our community has. We did rapid prototyping of our app and training models. We received positive reactions towards our project and its vision.

The community felt proud of us for our effort in empowering the youth of our community. We hope to see ourselves being role models for our community and inspiring the youth to step up and take the lead to a better future.

Two women looking at notes
Participants of the design sprint in action.

The design sprint

In the first week of May, we spent four days and three nights downloading the data we had gathered from our experiments with the community, using the HCD, to turn our findings into what will be the PSU youth hub, mobile app, and training program. Alongside the work, we had fun activities that brought us closer together as a team. We got to know each other, plus support each other, and overcome our challenges together. Most importantly, we

realized the responsibility we have towards our community. In the design sprint, we created our vision and core values such as honesty, trust, being open minded and believing equal opportunities for both genders is possible.

The result of squeezing our brains – definitely worth it!

. . .

HOST International joined forces with Teach 4 Refugees in 2017 to provide expertise that has helped Project Stand Up develop further, including its work on an app, education and training program to explore gender norms and address issues keeping girls away from school. The project receives funding from InnovationXchange of Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).