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The Value of Human Centered Design For Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health

Anything done for me without me is done against me! This phrase sums up a new approach that shows the importance of building reproductive health programs that take into account the concerns of adolescents and young people.

Last year, PATH and YUX Academy, as part of HCDExchange project, launched the HCD+ASRH Network of Ambassadors to raise awareness and strengthen the capabilities of practitioners, develop a community, exchange knowledge, and share skills and expertise. The network is a mix of designers, international organizations and young leaders working in the interest of young people’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH). They include ambassadors from Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. They are working to transform the ASRH and HCD linkages in francophone Africa and create solutions that are co-designed by youth themselves as described in this webinar, The Value Add Using Human Centered Design for Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (only available in French).

What Is Human-Centered Design (HCD)?

  • Human-Centered Design is a problem-solving process.
  • It places real users at the center of the development process.
  • Enables the creation of products and services that respond to users’ needs, environment, and cultural context.
  • HCD cuts across diverse industries and thrives on the inclusion of multidisciplinary teams working together to solve complex problems.
Image of a woman holding a basket with the subtitle "building solutions for users by users."

HCD+ASRH Network of Ambassadors is focused on building solutions with young people for young people in francophone West Africa to meet their AYSRH needs. 

What Makes This Approach Different From The Approaches That Have Been Used Before?

HCD is multistep, iterative process involving initial exploration and articulation of user needs, development of prototypes, and revision of designs in response to input from the community. The end user is engaged in all steps of creating a solution.

The traditional process is linear. You have an idea, define it, and create the product or intervention and get feedback from the end user at the end after investing a lot of resources and time in developing it. 

Diagram of the iterative methodology cycle of the human centered design and the traditional cascade approach.

Why Is HCD Important In The ASRH Sector In Francophone Africa?

Many young people face social and structural barriers when it comes to reproductive health because communication about sex is taboo. Young people are underserved, unrepresented and not consulted about their sexual and reproductive health needs. Human-centered design (HCD) approaches increase youth engagement in identifying and implementing solutions to AYSRH challenges and unlocking their potential to ensure that interventions are appropriate and appealing to young people.

Interested joining this network or learning more, please check out HCDExchange project, hosted by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.

Ida Ndione

Senior Program Officer, PATH

Ida Ndione is a Senior Program Officer for PATH in Senegal where she leads work on self-care for sexual and reproductive health, as well as non-communicable diseases. She works with health private sector and provides technical support for the Ministry of Health in convening the Self-Care Pioneers Group and developing national self-care guidelines. Prior to this role, Ida served as PATH’s Monitoring & Evaluation Coordinator for the introduction of subcutaneous DMPA and provided support on research and institutional communications. She is member of the Prospective Country Evaluation team in Senegal, conducting mixt method evaluation for Global Fund programs on Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV. She represents PATH Senegal in Several National and international Committee. Ida has fifteen years of experience working at the intersection of public health, sociology, and health policy and financing. She holds master’s degrees in public health and anthropology

Farmata Seye

Associée de Programme, PATH

Farmata Seye est une Associée de Programme qui soutient le travail de PATH en matière d'Autosoins, de Projets de Santé Sexuelle et Reproductive et de Maladies non Transmissibles. Elle apporte un appui technique au ministère de la Santé pour la coordination du groupe des Pionniers de l'Autosoin et l'élaboration de lignes directrices Nationales. Elle détient un Master en Gestion de Projet et contribue aux activités de suivi et évaluation, aux analyses documentaires, de plaidoyer en santé. Elle a soutenu la formation et l'assurance de la qualité des données pour une évaluation pilote de l'apprentissage en ligne du DMPA-SC, déployée par le ministère de la Santé du Sénégal, au cours de la première année de la COVID-19. Elle a appuyé des sessions de renforcement de capacités, des activités de communication, d’animation d’ateliers virtuels et présentiels. Farmata détient également un certificat en Recherche Biomédicale du programme CITI (Collaborative Intitutionnal training initiative).

Leigh Wynne

Technical Advisor, Global Health, Population and Nutrition, FHI 360

Leigh Wynne, MPH is a Technical Advisor in the Global Health, Population and Nutrition (GHPN) department at FHI 360. Her areas of specialization include research utilization, family planning, reproductive health and gender. Her tasks include synthesizing research results and programmatic experience into materials that meet global needs and promote evidence-based practices, building and maintaining partnerships; facilitating dissemination meetings, trainings and technical consultations; and supporting strategic advocacy, scale-up and institutionalization activities.