Q&A: Maximizing participation from women and girls in a gender-integrated digital programme
This Q&A was created for a panel discussion at the Woman and Girls Summit in November 2020. Every1Mobile shared learning from our ‘I Am Purple’ programme on how we built trust, and incorporated active safeguarding and quality assurance into the day-to-day management of our online community in Nigeria.
At the Summit our Director of Digital Engagement, Yolandi van Rensurg, joined a panel with Chemonics International and IBM to explore “How to Do More than Do No Harm: Preventing Sexual Harassment, Exploitation and Abuse in Organizations and How That Translates to Better Policy and Programming”. A video of the full session can viewed here.
I Am Purple was a youth-focused gender empowerment programme, funded by DFID, now FCDO, that used digital platforms to change harmful social norms around gender equality among young men and women in Nigeria. This 5-year programme applied social norm theory to address 3 key areas:
- Women’s voice and leadership
- Women’s role in decision-making
- Violence against women and girls
I am Purple was part of Voices for Change, funded by FCDO, which aimed to change social perceptions, norms and expectations of girls by implementing a nationwide communication campaign to deliver key messages and mobilise real-world action. Evidence showed that while it is possible for social norms to change, people are reluctant to change until they believe that others in their reference group are changing too.
‘I am Purple’ aimed to start a conversation around a 50/50 gender equal world. We used social behaviour change communication techniques and deep user engagement to build confidence and self-esteem as well as achieve attitude and perception changes. It included an e-learning component, the Purple Academy, designed to educate and empower young men and women around gender equality.
The design strategy, user experience and content strategy, was developed through the process of Human Centred Design, by consulting and co-creating with our target users. Through this process, we aimed to understand their technographic context, existing knowledge and perspectives, drivers of and barriers to enacting target behaviours, as well as preferred learning style and the target groups motivations. We then developed a tailored and contextualised behaviour change strategy, designed for our specific target groups.
Question 1: Was there a mechanism for I Am Purple users to report abuse and how do you manage this feedback?
Yes, our platform had a built-in mechanism in all chat rooms where users could flag another person’s comment and report abuse. A first-time offender would receive a warning while repeat offenders may have been blocked from further participation on the site.
In the anonymous Q&A peer support forum on Purple, we came across situations where girls were reporting domestic abuse, sexual abuse and rape – asking for help. In these instances, we shared helplines to local shelters and other authorities who were better equipped to help.
Question 2: How does a programme like I Am Purple drive impact effectiveness?
Every1Mobile’s platform has been designed and built to ensure that digital interventions generate deeper impact through encouraging direct and repeated interactions from users. Unlike other digital channels such as SMS and WhatsApp messaging which broadcast messages, we aim to create an interactive and engaging user experience.
On I am Purple, users could interact directly with our content to deepen their own knowledge retention, interact with their peers to build a sense of confidence and community or interact with trusted community experts. This interactivity ensures that programme beneficiaries are not simply passive audiences, but users in a programme designed with and for them. They don’t just view content, they also build self-efficacy, shift perceptions and take direct actions that result in genuine changes in their lives.
Question 3: How do you reach marginalised groups to deliver an inclusive and accessible digital programme?
We ensure equity in our programmes by designing our interventions and choices of technology to specifically target and reduce barriers for marginalised groups to increase their access to the benefits of the programme. We aim to ensure that all our projects are fully accessible and inclusive for all users. Barriers to access such as gender, disability, and socio-economic status are carefully considered, and form part of our formative research and human-centered design process.
Every1Mobile’s platform is designed specifically for low resource and low data settings. We cater for a range of devices, from desktop and smartphone to the most basic web-enabled feature phone.
The result is a programme design that suits the mobile handsets our users already own. Through Facebook FreeBasics, the sites can be zero-rated, giving users free access, relieving them from the burden of data costs in a limited data environment.
Over five years the ‘I am Purple programme’ reached over 107 million young people in Nigeria.
By integrating active safeguarding and quality assurance into the day-to-day management of our online community we built trust with our target audience who felt safe knowing that we put their interests and online safety first.
Overall the impact of the programme was clear:
- 119,000 learners engaged with the digitised, interactive curriculum through the Purple Academy.
- 297,000 young people joined the I Am Purple social network to share, learn and connect with each other.
- 70,000 youth reported taking real world or digital actions after spending time on the Purple platform, 48% of whom were women.
In terms of behaviour change, since spending time on Purple…
- 93% of young people surveyed, believed women and men should enjoy equal opportunities and respect.
- 90% of young people said they felt more willing to speak up against violence against women and girls.
- 89% of young people said they felt more willing to challenge the limitations put on women.
If you are interested in learning more, please contact our Director of Business Development, Jocelyn Williams, at email@example.com