Written by Jaclyn Shea, MPH
“At 12 I experienced a drunken man touching me…. When creating the illustrations for the app I imagined I was talking to that young girl,”
~ Monica Andino, Honduran Illustrator
ZonaSegura is a trauma-informed, youth-centered mobile application and WhatsApp messaging campaign, created to address teen dating violence in Honduras. After conducting design workshops with Honduran youth and interviews with experts, the ZonaSegura team started designing the app’s functions, features, and contents. We looked to experts in the field for best practices for teen dating violence prevention education, but above all, wanted to ensure our design was reflective of the needs of Honduran girls.
In our workshops, we learned how excited young girls are to learn about healthy relationships and abuse, but that textual content in many education programs made their eyes gloss over, and that instead, they enjoyed reading graphic novels and comics. This feedback led us to turn to Women Who Draw, an open directory of female, LGBTQ+, women of color, and other marginalized women illustrators, graphic designers, and artists. We found Mónica Andino, a talented illustrator born and raised in Honduras, who was eager to take on this project, because of her personal connection to the issue. “Being a girl in Honduras is very hard,” Monica told me. “You feel very vulnerable because bad things happen from unwanted touching to women being murdered. At 12 I experienced a drunken man touching me. I became very aware of how wrong it was because my mom was so mad. When creating the illustrations for the app I imagined I was talking to that young girl.” Mónica turned our text content into beautiful illustrations, to help girls learn about these serious topics in an easily digestible, visually appealing, and fun way.
Know Your Rights in a Relationship and What is Abuse?
“I did everything hand drawn because I wanted it to feel like advice from a real person. I wanted it to feel sincere and from a real person rather than feeling perfect. I chose to use pastels to give it a girly vibe and tried to illustrate girls supporting each other,” said Mónica
Introduction to Healthy Relationships
In addition to these illustrations, the mobile app will feature weekly quizzes, similar to the Buzzfeed style, that youth enjoy and frequently take. Quiz-style content allow teens to reflect on how these issues relate to them, such as how they prefer to receive support and what type of a relationship they’re in.
Quiz homescreen and an example question
The ZonaSegura app also connects girls to local organizations that provide medical, legal, and social support, so that they can seek any health and care needed, without having to search for it elsewhere. They can also create a safety plan, allowing them to think through what they would do if their relationship becomes unsafe.
Resources and Safety plan
In late January 2019, we returned to Honduras to test the mobile app directly with young girls, including several girls from the original workshops. Our team is now integrating their feedback into the design and finalizing the app. Stay tuned for updates about Zona Segura and WhatsApp messaging campaign launch in Honduras by following us on social media, @ythorg!
Jaclyn Shea is a Program Officer at YTH (Youth+Tech+Health) where she manages research and design projects developing innovative health solutions for youth. She received her MPH from The Gillings Schools of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill in the Department of Health Behavior and is passionate about putting youth voices at the center of design.