There are 129 million girls worldwide out of school, three quarters of whom are secondary-school aged. Up to 20 million more girls could be forced out of school as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. That’s why Malala Fund is focused on accelerating progress — challenging systems, policies and practices so all girls can access 12 years of free, safe, quality education. We collaborated with the Malala Fund communications team to strengthen the organization’s website as the anchor to a multi-channel digital conversation with donors, educators, journalists, grantees, collaborators, and students around the world. The extraordinary life of Malala Yousafzai brings visitors, but the work of the organization requires mobilizing around the mission.
Speak to the future.
Through attention, amplification, or donation, everyone can be part of the movement for equality in education. Moving the needle politically and economically requires donors remain invested in the work. Grantees changing norms in education need visibility to expand their connected impact. Empowered by education, young women and girls will be today’s advocates, tomorrow's leaders and the next generation of donors.
Adapt to the moment.
At project kickoff, we noted that the events which will ignite the next generation’s giving are still to come. Little did we know what 2020 would ignite. A week after our first and only in-person meeting with the Malala Fund communications team, world-wide travel and in-person education stopped. Our collaboration became virtual, and Malala Fund’s work became even more essential to keep girls from losing ground.
Expose clear user paths.
We began by auditing and improving information architecture and navigation to help the range of visitors find the information they seek. New mega menus created room for typographic hierarchy and explanatory copy. Bucketing categories revealed a critical gap: how all the work fits together under a synergistic approach. A new hub page clarifies each prong of strategy, while modular components visually network 65 new Education Champion program pages through symbols, color, and patterns.
Build the network.
Malala Fund doesn’t build schools. They build networks. Creating clarity and transparency around how funding is spent was essential to converting visitors into donors and positioning Malala Fund as the leading organization for girls' education. The Education Champion Network is a $22m funding strategy supporting 57 Champions in 8 countries as advocates and educators. New pages reveal the interconnectivity of the network and place-based approaches while celebrating every champion’s work and each country’s solutions.
Mobilize through storytelling.
The pandemic created a new urgency for girls’ education. Malala Fund responded with comprehensive research and objectives to address the immediate and long-term implications of the pandemic. With COVID restrictions, creation of new photo and video content was limited, so animated brand elements and quotes stood in for the 20 million girls who may never return to school. This clear ask for support, connected to tangible reporting, resulted in the largest end-of-year digital fundraising totals in the past four years.
Amplify the next Malalas.
At 11 years old, Malala began blogging about her life under the rule of the Taliban and she has been speaking out for girls’ education ever since. Malala Fund created Assembly, a Webby award-winning digital publication and newsletter, to help more girls tell their stories just like Malala.
In the words of Assembly’s Editor Tess Thomas, “Assembly is a meeting place for girls around the world. It’s a platform for girls to share their thoughts, challenges and accomplishments — and to get ideas and inspiration from their peers.”
Engage in co-creation.
The goal of Assembly’s redesign was to better reflect its Gen Z readership while elevating the platform as a respected media outlet.
Through Zoom, nine previous Assembly contributors from Algeria, Brazil, India, Iraq, Japan, Nigeria, Mexico, and the U.S. participated in the design review and user testing process, to confirm the ways they search, share, and read on devices. They also suggested ideas for what they hoped to see on the new Assembly site.
The new design balances academic readability with variety and expression, through an expanded color palette, randomized image shapes, highlighted quotes, and illustrations in margins to mimic doodles in school notebooks. The development team pushed the underlying Squarespace platform further than we thought possible, including multi-language posts and language search filters, along with many custom design features.
Our new look across malala.org and Assembly is sophisticated, relevant and purposeful. I’m excited for how it better tells the story of Malala Fund and serves the movement for girls’ education around the world.
Chief Communications & Creative Officer at Malala Fund
- Audience & Landscape Research
- Brand Audit
- Insights & Positioning
- Storytelling Strategy
- User Experience
- Web & Mobile Design
- Motion Graphics & Animation
- Jenn Cash, Strategy & Creative Direction
- Jenna Park, UX Strategy and Design
- Tanya Quick, Strategy & Creative Direction
- Jada Vogt, Art Direction & Visual Design
- Malala Fund Communications Team
- Carine Umuhumuza, Chief Communications & Creative Officer
- Hannah Orenstein, Former Director, Communications & Creative
- Tess Thomas, Editorial Manager and Assembly Editor
- Ayesha Shakya, Digital Product Manager
- CodeZone, Web Development
- Photography: Deepti Asthana, Luisa Dörr, Malin Fezehai, Yasmin Velloso, Andrew Quilty, Toluwanimi Onibokun, Tamara Abdul Hadi, Insiya Syed, Mustapha Bukar Ngamdu