Amplifying girls' literacy, leadership, and empowerment | August 2017 DSO Update

Amplifying girls' literacy, leadership, and empowerment | August 2017 DSO Update

Memunatu’s community-led approach

By Maxine Yao, Luke Butcher, Edgar Ortiz, Elizabeth Prosch, Aruna Cadambi, and Amy Badiani


Exciting Update! We are happy to announce that Memunatu Magazine, a DSO Partner, has advanced in Beacon DC’s grant competition in the “Inspiring the next generation of women” category! The grant will allow Memunatu to host a second annual International Day of the Girl forum to empower teenage girls worldwide. In order to win, Memunatu needs as many votes as possible.

To cast your vote, please visit this page:

Please share this call to action with more people.

It has been an exciting year for DSO full of impactful projects with incredible partners, retention and growth of our people, and new initiatives, including the launch of a Design Thinking sprint so we can improve our empathy-in-action and human-centered approach to solving problems.

This past year, DSO has completed 13 projects with partners working locally and globally. Some examples include developing the tools, process, and procedures to better support a Crisis Hotline to best serve families in Baltimore, evaluating an Amazonian community enterprise ecosystem, stakeholders and players involved, and outlining the ideal business model and strategy to ultimately support women and girls in Rajasthan through drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting systems.

Of the partners who responded to our feedback survey, 93% indicated ‘yes’ in response to the question “Would your organization want to work with DSO on another project in the future?” and 100% indicated a ‘4’ or ‘5’ rating of ‘significant impact’ in response to the question “How would you rate the quality of the deliverables?” We are humbled by this feedback and recommendations for improvement. We are actioning ways to strengthen our empathy based approach, better understand partner expertise and bring in team expertise as helpful, better understand the partner business, and improve project flow and team dynamics.

In this report, we feature a project our DC and LA teams did with Memunatu.

Thanks for your support as we aspire to continue and improve our impactful work and retain our community of great people.

Featured Project

Memunatu Magazine is promoting literacy, leadership, and empowerment for teenage girls (10-17 years old) in West Africa through a community-driven publication / magazine that has educational and fun content. Though focused on the advancement of school girls in Sierra Leone, currently, Memunatu has the power to engage and inspire girls across the continent.

Our project with Memunatu focused on guiding the formation and engagement of a Leadership Council as well as positioning Memunatu for long-term partnership and funding opportunities. The project team researched who comprises Boards, who comprises Leadership Councils, and best practices of Boards and Leadership Councils. We then developed a framework to adapt and evaluate potential Leadership Council Members and provided recommendations for how to engage these Members in the short-term and long-term. We recommended categories of Leadership Council Members based on geographic, mission, and industry alignment. In the recommended categories, we recommended specific people that may be a good fit. We also researched comparable organizations as well as partnerships and fundraising best practices, listed and identified top partnership, grant and corporate donation, and venture philanthropist and impact investor opportunities that Memunatu could pursue. We developed a scorecard to adapt and evaluate potential partnership and funding opportunities in the short-term and long-term along with specific recommendations for implementation.

A Testimonial from Memunatu

“It was a pleasure working with DSO. The team was professional—I could depend on DSO to produce quality work. The final presentation was indicative of that! My team and I found both the presentation and accompanying deliverables to be thoroughly researched and well organized. This showed great attention to detail and speaks to the standards to which they hold their team. Overall, what impressed me most about DSO was how they cared about our mission. This passion showed when they engaged with our team and their own. I particularly appreciated how DSO team members [went] out of their way to attend our event. Not only did this show eagerness to learn more about our organization, but it also demonstrated their personal support for our work!”

– Mariama Kabia, Co-Founder, Memunatu

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