Free work for free ideas… for humanitarian education

    Ideas and solutions coming from an HFCP simulation workshop in Bangkok, Thailand
Ideas and solutions coming from an HFCP simulation workshop in Bangkok, Thailand

There’s something to be said about pro-bono work, especially when it’s for a good cause and the people involved are quite open about ideas. It’s a fair trade isn’t it – getting free work for free ideas? So when I was asked to help out on visualizing information, how could I say no, especially from my wife? She ran the Humanitarian Field Coordination Programme (HFCP) for OCHA in 2013-2014 and wanted to come up with a nice end-of-cycle report to highlight the programme cycle. This project was also a good opportunity to put my creative muscles through a workout during my hiatus from work. There were plenty of data collected during the one-year program that could be highlighted in the report, but with good information design comes understanding the story and message to communicate.


The main message was to communicate the global nature of the report as well as the overall (positive) impressions and subject matter the HFCP provides to OCHA staff. Each phase of the programme was quite unique so each graphic was designed slightly different. I had about a week to work on the full report, including interpreting the data, copy-editing the text, and developing a structure for the information.


I was already familiar with OCHA’s style having followed the process and design changes over the years. I made sure to stick with what I saw for this report. The only thing I really went out on a limb on was to use a “teaching” font for the titles. I recently discovered that OCHA’s corporate font is Arial because it’s the most easily accessible and used font for its offices.


The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) launched the HFCP in 2008 to cover the core areas of OCHAs work and is organized around a blended peer-learning structure comprised of three phases. This includes 1) knowledge-based online learning; 2) skills building workshop; and 3) self-development learning. Over 500 OCHA staff members have participated to date.

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