Putting Youth at the Center of Design

Meet the young designer behind the new Adolescents 360 logo

By Rena Greifinger, Technical Advisor for Youth & Girls, PSI

Adolescents 360 (A360) is a four-year project aimed to increase access to and uptake of voluntary modern contraception among adolescent girls (15-19 years old) in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria. The project fuses public health, marketing, human-centered design, developmental neuroscience, and cultural anthropology and meaningfully engages young people in the design and delivery of solutions that respond to their specific and varied needs. A360 is led by Population Services International, together with IDEO.org, the Center on the Developing Adolescent at the University of California Berkeley, Triggerise, and the Society for Family Health Nigeria. A360 is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.

A cornerstone of Adolescents 360 is the belief that young people can and should be equal partners in the design and delivery of solutions to solve the problems that affect them. As a consortium led by PSI, we are deeply committed to building meaningful and lasting youth-adult partnerships that value young people’s expertise and the perspectives they bring to the project  — from their lived experience, to their insights and  design ideas — as equal to those of adults. Designing a project logo was no different.

During the summer of 2016, Adolescents 360 sent out a call for logo submissions. Among those who answered it was Tsegaw Tesfa from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The design from the 23 year-old graduate art student at Addis Ababa University was chosen for its inspirational theme and emanating joy.

“I have never worked with an organization or project like this before, says Tsegaw, “so when I saw the logo competition and read about what Adolescents 360 would actually be doing — particularly the focus on adolescent girls and young women — I was really interested. I wanted the logo to be fun and playful, while also serious at the same time. The logo is three girls that are jumping, jumping to reach their dreams. The circles above their heads represent all of the girls and young women out there, and the 360-degree approach. I specifically I chose vibrant colors.

Tsegaw studies industrial design with plans to graduate at the end of this year, and also works as a freelance designer. He is also very involved in his church. “The people living around the church live in extreme poverty,” he says. “So we help them to achieve their basic needs. Every Saturday I teach the kids basic elementary education like mathematics and English, as well as teach guitar lessons. I try to help in any way that I can.”

His love for the expressive arts is infectious. “My taste in music and art [runs toward the] expressive  — to what conveys meaning. I think jazz does that. I love vibrant colors and expressive portraits. I love to paint and draw human facial features and paintings that have ideas in them or that talk about an issue.”

To Tsegaw, Adolescents 360’s mission is personal.   “I have a 20-year-old sister. She and I are really close. I think most young women in Ethiopia don’t have those opportunities or access to healthcare, and to achieve their dreams. I always wanted to help and do something; something that I can do in my time right now and with the skills that I have.”

Working with men and boys is vital to increasing access to contraception for adolescent girls and young women. We’re excited to have such a champion in Tsegaw.

“It made me really happy to know that PSI chose one of my logos because this is something I really wanted to do,” he says. “I feel lucky to think that I could contribute to something like this.”

To learn more about Adolescents 360, click the image below.