by Katrin McMillan
Listening is at the heart of Hello World. We’ve learnt how to improve this work by taking notes when our partner communities are talking. We listen to colleagues at other NGOs, tech firms and the private sector. We want to know if Hello World is of value to the people who we work for, and, if so, in which ways.
I’ve sat in on too many meetings in London or New York in which development plans and ideas were cooked up far from the people for whom they were designed, and without their consultations. Hello World evolved from listening to the people I was working with in Nigeria and Ethiopia. Every project took me to a new village and the message I heard was clear: education is what will improve our children’s lives.
Hello World has changed over the years and many of those changes were inspired by listening to the communities who use Hello Hubs. They told us that the Hub needed more screens, that it was equally relevant to teachers as well as children so that they could research and improve lesson plans, that it needed to be fully illuminated all night long so that homeless children felt safe at night, and that it needed better rain cover and more ways to configure the design to accommodate different terrains. They told us that our tools were not sturdy enough and that the hacksaw blades broke too often. We know how to do Hello World today because we have been listening. Now we are partnered with 60Decibels to listen even more closely. 60Decibels has put together teams in Nepal and Uganda to phone and interview all members of Hub communities who can access a phone, speaking in their own language. In this way we are finding out more about what’s working and what hasn’t worked at the Hubs. The Hub users are our experts; they put in nearly 19 hours a day at the Hubs and we want to hear their thoughts on improving and innovating for the future.
We go door-to-door to meet people who didn’t make it to community meetings.