It’s been a busy few months at Girl Effect for me. I got promoted (yay me) and now lead content strategy across the organization. We also rolled out the first social campaign for the Nutritional International project and most excitingly we launched my passion project for the last few months Big Sis, Girl Effect’s first ever chatbot!
Big Sis uses guided conversation to answer girls’ questions about sexual health. Girls using Big Sis are guided through entertaining, informative content with quizzes (you know I had to have quizzes), to test their knowledge on sex, sexuality, contraception, and relationships.
Learn more about the iterative UCD process we employed to build Big Sis here.
We recently showcased our pioneering girl to experts at the Global Digital Health Forum in Washington DC. The forum is the leading networking event for global public and digital health experts from more than 100 countries.
The secret to content that connects with girls? Listening to what they care about and creating platforms that move with them. I wrote this piece about how we at Girl Effect approach our content development process and the key to connecting with girls in authentic and impactful ways. Read more…
After 2 and half years as the digital content mama on GEM working with amazing media non-profit Girl Effect, I’m excited to finally be able to reveal our new rebrand as global girls digital brand Springster!
We traveled to 5 countries to talk to girls about what they wanted from GEM and girls told us they wanted to be part of something, as well as support and celebrate each other. We listened and responded with Springster, a brand that aims to build a community-focused identity and attitude, celebrating the diverse, inspirational and convention-defying experiences of all girls.
The branding is beautiful and it was amazing collaborating with the incredible brand team at Design Studio in London. But it’s not just our new illustrations (all done by an amazing female team we handpicked from almost every corner of the world) and fun UX that made this an amazing project for me, it was seeing how we’ve grown and evolved and learned with girls to bring them an even better version of our platforms. I have to give us all a pat on the back… we did good!
You can learn more about Springster in our factsheet
We hooked up with Youtube to create a ten-episode web series for Springster Indonesia!
The show adapted some of our most popular on-site content into a fun, conversational format covering everything from a takedown of catcalling culture to tips on preparing for job interviews, to a light-hearted deconstruction of harmful period myths.
The series was hosted by an inspiring group of young female influencers including actress and pop sensation Sheryl Sheinafia.
Thanks to our incredible Indonesian creative team Percolate Galatic we were able to secure some of Asia’s coolest creative talent including award-winning director and filmmaker Lucky Kuswandi, and we even scored a jingle by rising 18-year-old Indonesian singer-songwriter Heidi Nasution!
Have been lusting over Nigerian designer Eva Sonaike’s version of decadent Ankara interiors for a few years now, so it was such a treat to get to interview her for this piece on Essence.com. She’s such a dynamo, in a tough industry to crack for black people like decor she’s been doing that.
Love an unapologetically luxe, unapologetically African brand!
One of my favorite things to do… writing about awesome women who inspire me. This travel piece for Essence.com was such a labor of love and admiration for my passport gang woman crush Lerato Mogoatlhe.
Oh and I can’t wait for her book Vagabond coming later this year…
I worked on a really cool Girl Effect project with Save the Children in Indonesia recently.
As lead content strategist on the Dooit app, a financial literacy tool targeted at girls in school between 16-18 years old.
We wanted to adapt the successful Save the Children’s Skills to Success program curriculum into a fun mobile-friendly experience for girls.
Using UCD we worked with girls to design a product and content that would help them save money and reach their financial goals.
Understanding the constraints of low-income girls for whom banks are inaccessible or untrusted, it made sense to create a personal money mentor. Dooit guides girls in setting financial goals and then helps them to track savings.
Plus, it wouldn’t be a Khwezi content strategy for girls without fun quizzes, and games. Dooit encourages and supports girls while helping them to shift behaviors and improve their financial literacy.
I love working on projects that raise the game in innovation so I couldn’t be prouder of the online team’s contribution to Primedia’s groundbreaking coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial, #OscarExtra, an online pop-up radio station running for the duration of the trial.
The idea came to us a way to run trial audio within all 4 of our station’s radio station apps and thanks to our team’s creative powers it quickly turned into an amazing full-service 12hr radio station. Sounds simple right? You optimize on the biggest media event of the year by providing dedicated coverage without cannibalizing on your regular radio programming, well yes… and no.
The operation of a live feed from the courtroom, a board operator, and a great radio presenter who did call-ins and commentary was pretty standard by radio standards and the online side of setting up a dedicated stream and quick turn around podcasts was one we already had waxed. However, convincing all the station heads that it was better to do this cool groundbreaking content thing online only turned out to be the most challenging task of all.
You have to understand this in an environment where podcasts are still relatively new to our audience it looked like this massive risk…
It’s a good thing I’m charming because our ‘launch it now and apologise later’ strategy… well, it could have gone sideways. But it didn’t because as it turned out radio listeners like to listen to things online too, especially when at work and the internet is easily accessible. Oscar Extra was one of our most popular online projects of the year with streams surpassing any of the numbers we had ever done in online audio before!
It was also really exciting to see the attention it got from the industry who thought it was groundbreaking too.
UPDATE: #OscarExtra nominated for Bookmarks in the Integrated Multi-platform campaign category
I love it when a calculated risk pays off!
Working on the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela was one of the most emotionally draining and sad events I have ever covered, but it was also the most rewarding career highlight of my life!
Helping to build Ourmadiba.com and live blogging every second of his funeral kept me connected to his spirit in a way that I will not forget.
I did get to do some traditional reporting, too and one of my contributions includes this piece which is so me; this is my musical tribute to Madiba.
I have just returned from an awe-inspiring two-week trip to Amsterdam where I was enrolled in the University of Amsterdam’s Digital Methods Summer school.
The focus for this year was : Geolocation: Remote Event Analysis (Mapping Conflicts, Disasters, Elections and other Events with Online and Social Media Data)
The course involved a combination of new skills acquisition (umm, Gephi graphs!), deep data dives, and inspirational talks, all culminating in weekly research projects we worked on in groups. The first project we did was on the political discourse surrounding the world cup looking at how activists were ‘hijacking’ the official hashtags and platforms. This reminded me some of Clay Shirky’s Political Uses of Social Media classes at NYU. Man if only I had known about google scrapers then.
The second project we did was The City as Interface, where we worked with geosocial media platforms (such as Foursquare, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Meet-up, and Geocaching) to determine what kind of Amsterdam they present. Using digital research methods (like an awesome Pinterest crawler built by one of my teammates) we were able to identify the parochial and the public spaces of the city.
Not sure how far I’ll get with my skint knowledge of CatoDB in building complex geodata visualisations on my own – but I now know more than I did before. So, all in all, it was an awesome experience.
Here’s to the eternal student life!