What we are looking for in a website is simple. We want a website that allows us to convey our organizations vision, successes, and direction easily. That can be understood by populations we work with in West Africa and corporate donors in the U.S. simply. A place that gets people interested in our work, and drives them to learn more. Lastly and most importantly, we want a website which connects our recipients with the global community; providing a conduit for the world to see the problems of West Africa through their eyes. Helping those using our lens to observe, not only the marginalized populations we work with, but also themselves; realizing how easy it is for anyone to make a difference.
Paired with Two Unicorns, One Moon (TST Media)
This year our organization is striving to bring students with a passion to serve to Sierra Leone from May to September of 2012. With a focus on strengthening existing healthcare capacities. Student teams work to address specific goals and objectives set forth by local community leaders in each district they operate in. Our approach utilizes the unique backgrounds each volunteer can apply towards addressing community health needs, with an emphasis on strengthening through education. Our goal is to create systems with local structures to cultivate leaders within the communities of Sierra Leone, while also providing structured experiences for international volunteers to develop leadership skills. Our long-term vision is to, one day no longer send international volunteers abroad to provide health capacity strengthening, but to have local health leaders in place to provide sustenance to program strengthening activities.
Specifically we will have 2-groups of 5-6 teams in 2012. Each team will work in either Kono, Kenema, Kabala, Sherbro Island, or Freetown Sierra Leone. Teams will be composed of 1-2 undergraduate students, a graduate student, a nursing student or professional, and a medical student or professional. One of the ubiquitous programs conducted is the Young Scholar of Sierra Leone program (YSSL), which all volunteers participate in and take ownership of. YSSL is a summer program run for 6-8 weeks targeting senior secondary students. Local senior secondary students attend lectures on health and infectious disease in increasing depth over the summer. Students also work to design community outreach programs to target medical inequalities they find the most striking in their communities. Graduate students innovate systems of monitoring and evaluation, and health students and professionals work with local clinicians to provide education strengthening and support channels youth can take ownership of.
The health disparities existing within Sierra Leone place the country at the bottom of world rankings by the World Health Organization (WHO). The high burden of disease present can be attributed to infections and access gaps to the existing medical community. In 2009, there were 970 maternal deaths per 1000,000 live births (WHO, 2009). The two largest factors influencing maternal death were hemmorrhage and infection, which are both preventable in the existing medical communities. The under-5 mortality rate is also one of the highest in the world, with 192 deaths per 1,000 live births (WHO, 2009). The leading causes of death in Sierra Leonean children under-5 are malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea (WHO, 2009). The large burden of disease existing in the country is the major factor contributing to inadequacy in education, economic stability, and peace. By addressing the insufficiency in community health literacy, concrete steps towards prevention can begin to be created. We work to increase community health literacy in provincial areas of Sierra Leone where access to medical care is limited.
Gabriel Schlough Director and Founders Says:
A new website will allow us to interact with the global community more effectively. Currently we are stuck in a developmental barrier. Existing as a non-profit organization, the majority of our operational costs are covered through donations. For our growth to the next level development to occur, we need to increase the number of people we interact with effectively. Due to the complexity of our operations, it takes a long conversation for someone to understand the extent at which we operate.
Everyone who has time to listen to our 30 minute explanation of the work we do abroad is amazed, and then wants to take part. Unfortunately we do not have the human resources to tell every person who is interested in our operations the specifics of what we do, and the beauty of our operations are in the details. We have an innovative approach to combating the health disparities present in West Africa, which is working phenomenally. Our problem lies in our inability to convey our approach to the general public, efficiently, and effectively enough for them to understand how simple the whole process really is. It is of my understanding that, a skilled team of web-developers would be able to bring us to the next level in our growth.
Everett Clifton Director of Operations Says:
Given WAMMs growth and adaptive characteristics, I have also stepped into the role of Creative Director. Leaving the website creation and development to be one of my areas of focus.
Recently, to cut down expenses and better guide our promotional activities, I have became moderately productive with the adobe creative suite (photoshop, dreamweaver, illustrator, etc). A number of ideas regarding branding and website design have come to mind that we (WAMM) would like to implement. I've discussed a number of the ideas below. But, please know that these are just ideas and your professional opinion will be treated with the utmost respect. I am aware of the relationship between designers and clients given previous ventures with a music production company I ran during college, prior to WAMM.
WAMM is searching for a website with a novel design and capacity for visitors to conduct deep information mining of our operations. WAMM is a non-profit, and we don't want to appear to be a traditional organization in the humanitarian field. WAMMs staff are all young, and bring huge personal aspirations as we all strive to be forward-thinking and innovative. WAMM must be mirrored in this representation through the aesthetics of our web design while remaining academically hip, given the dense content. From my perspective this is a difficult task, but I believe this design will definitively represent WAMMs core culture.
To express and maintain our thrifty (as in maintaining low-expenses) yet highly creative culture, WAMM prefers large amounts of blacks and grays with accents of white. We would like to sparingly use color while hovering over button-links and other site navigation tools. One goal is to look inexpensive as in the â€œwowâ€ affect (and flash animation) but impress the audience with its content organization and progressive minimalist approach. In the past we have centered our design to mimic the function of academic research posters. Simple helix designs help exude a technical/academic impression.
We are aiming for the homepage to be designed in a unique way. I have already created these pages layout/background in photoshop and fireworks. The homepage holds the gateway to three different (yet relative) areas of West African Medical Missions (refer to http://teamtreehouse.com/ for a visual representation). I am mentioning this to inform you about the potential groundwork we are already conscious of when designing a website. Below is a list with content description of each possible direction:
Assimilation: The area describes our mission, vision, philosophy, broad descriptions of our health care strengthening programs, staff, past volunteers teams, WAMM Chapters, contact information and background about the countries we are collaborating with (currently Sierra Leone). All of which including content and imagery. Heavy use of light boxes may be appropriate for this particular area. We use Assimilation as the path heading because our operations are complex and take some level of acculturation to adequately understand.
Strengthen: Strengthening is a constantly used term in WAMM. This is the activity volunteers participate in. The strengthening section will go into full-detail of how domestic & international volunteers can participate in the strengthening of healthcare capacities in West Africa. Specific WAMM program descriptions, FAQs, will also appear here.
Included in this section is a map of all the locations we are operate in and the affiliations/networks WAMM has established. Hovering over different geographical areas signals a light-box to appear listing the affiliations relevance.
Contribute: WAMM is not reliant on donor support (allowing for business model reciprocating its own sustenance) but aims to increase donor contributions in the near future by linking them directly with projects and allowing them to interact with their contributions. We feel this type of stakeholder deserves their own direct path to aid in the strengthening of our operations domestically and internationally. This layout will provide broad descriptions of WAMM and West Africa while allowing for multiple methods of asset contribution. Anything from monetary, frequent flier miles contributions and fundraisers ideas/possibilities are included here. Some donors may believe in our overall approach but are not interested in the academic support and foundation. Therefore, we provide an opportunity to feel apart of the strengthening possibilities without having the to have any sort of technical background or know-how.
I see each of the three gateways utilizing its own content layout to best represent the sections purpose. Yet there may be a few commonalities in each page. Such as WAMMs logo/homepage link, rectangular rotating banner at the top of the page, blog/news updates and search menu. There is much more information that I can provide but I feel this will suffice for an overall idea and direction.
WAMM is currently undergoing drastic growth and expanding their models acceptance in the humanitarian field. Our projected volunteer involvement this upcoming summer could hold a 500% volunteer increase. I full-heatedly believe that a renewed website will provide the justice WAMM deserves. Our web presence is weak, but we believe the completion of this project will solidify our web presence and motivate us to â€œrepâ€ WAMM even harder than we already do. A stronger online presence will result in an absolute increase in our positive affect on health/educational disparities in West Africa. I am still formulating this project plan through my own ideas and have a well-crafted team which is dedicated to its development. We are in high hopes of winning this competition and will be organized and extremely prepped for the 24 hour development â€œrager.â€ I extend my gratitude for you taking your time to read my ideas.
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