My name is Jess, and I am the founder and Director of Equity-Based EiE Consulting. Since 2009 I’ve been working in the community, international and humanitarian space globally.
Far too often, the people most affected by conflict, crisis, emergencies and structural injustice are often furthest from decision making, programmatic design and policymaking.
This doesn't have to be the way. Equity-Based Design Thinking offers a mindset shift and a way to create better, culturally sustaining, inclusive programmes, policies and research.
Equity-Based Design thinking 101
At the age of 18, I participated in a widening participation university access course. This was a government initiative in the United Kingdom to get more young people from socially and economically marginalised groups into higher education. Without a doubt, this opportunity changed my life by giving me the knowledge and drive to aim higher and pursue my dreams. This was my first encounter with a program designed to support people at the margins and as a participant, I gained so much from the experience.
Recognising the power of education, after a couple of years working as a youth outreach worker in historically deprived areas across the UK, I trained as a secondary school teacher, teaching Global and active citizenship to support young people to become agents of change within their own communities.
I loved how young people were passionate about redesigning their communities, addressing inequities and using knowledge and action research to highlight inequities and demand change. My experiences as a teacher led me towards a career in the international development and humanitarian aid sector where I spent a decade designing education in emergencies programs with and for children, young people and adults in situations of displacement, conflict and on the move.
I have worked on designing social-impact programs, research and evaluations across the world. I have had the opportunity to work with community-based, and refugee-led organisations, non-profits, international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, academic institutions, as well as coaching and mentoring people setting out on their careers in the non-profit sector.
Along the way, I have gained :
Experience as a senior consultant supporting organisations with designing and embedding Equity-Based Frameworks in Programmatic Design and Research.
Ten years of experience in the Education in Emergencies (EiE) sector in a variety of strategic and senior leadership roles for organisations such as Save the Children, War Child and LWF.
International experience designing and leading qualitative and mixed-methods Participatory Action Research, digital storytelling, and arts-based evaluation, research, and programme design.
Associate Lecturerships designing face-to-face, hybrid, and blended learning experiences for Foundation and Undergraduate courses including Education Studies Socially-Just Action research methodologies.
What is Equity-Based Design?
I launched Equity-Based EiE Consulting in 2021 to support peoples, organisations and institutions design equity-driven, radically inclusive and socially -just programmes and research for a more equitable world. Our methods are drawn from participatory action research, design thinking and years of experience working in the non-profit sector.
Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 highlighted that the world needs to change. Non-profit, international development and humanitarian aid sectors need to be redesigned, to be radically inclusive and create programmes and research that includes and centres those most affected by crises. Far too often, the people with the closest proximity to the problem, are furthest from decision making, policy-setting and programme design. Not only is this ineffective, but it is unfair.
Equity-Based Design thinking offers another model for programme design and action-orientated research, which will challenge your assumptions and mindset, present you with new ways of looking at complex challenges and support you with embedding equity and inclusion throughout the project design process.
If your role involves designing programs, projects, research or evaluations, then you are a designer, and you need to centre equity within your work.
Through our suite of online courses, workshops and lectures Equity-Based EiE Consulting can help you design culturally sustaining, ethical and equity-centred programs for effective and socially just outcomes.