Escaping forced marriage, honour-related violence and negative social control


Design of a Red Cross mentor program for emotional support

EGGS Design has assisted Bufdir (Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth, and Family Affairs) in designing a mentoring hub, and a family mentor program that helps young adults exposed to negative social control and honour-related violence. The mentor program, now implemented by Red Cross in Norway, connects young adults and volunteering mentor families to create an emotional support system.

Forced marriage, honour-related violence, and negative social control is a serious issue that can affect people's relationship with their family and social network. In this project, we have focused on the issue when it concerns young adults. What makes it a complex problem is that forced marriage, honor related violence, and negative social control is most often exercised by the person’s family or close social circles. Getting out of such a situation can be very difficult, as it may leave the victim feeling alone, both emotionally and physically. After having grown up under strict and controlled circumstances, and often in a more collectivistic culture, they have neither a social support system outside the family nor the capability to care for themselves independently.

Need for better coordination and cooperation

In this project, Bufdir and EGGS' team of service designers worked together to examine what different needs young people exposed to these issues have. They sometimes decide or are forced to distance themselves or even cut all contact with their families or social circles. This leaves them alone in building a whole new life from the ground up.

Through co-creation methods and interviews with the users themselves, we identified several fragmented "helpers," including authorities, NGOs, and volunteers. More often than not, these were not necessarily communicating with each other, making the support network inefficient and ineffective. We also identified the users’ needs for a variety of mentor models. Their journeys are all unique, and their needs are complex and different.As a result, we suggested creating a mentor hub to organize and coordinate the efforts better. The mentor hub suggests seven different mentor-models that all meet needs identified through our insights. One of these mentor models was the mentor family.

We acquired user insights through listening, expert interviews, and observation. This resulted in a visual map of the different possibilities of mentor concepts, of which the mentor family was chosen for implementation.

A family to lend a helping hand

For these young people to have the emotional support they need to build a new life, an essential service offer is mentor families. By keeping in touch and inviting to meet up, they offer a social context and necessary support. The idea for the mentor family already existed but was never formalized. Through more in-depth insight work, we developed the methods for creating and organizing the program. Together with field experts, we created course material and information material for the mentor families. The content consisted of printed information material and five educational videos used in the families' training. By conveying a complex matter such as honor related violence in this format, we make the service scalable and possible to implement across the country.

The mentor family service is provided via the Red Cross, and connects young adults with volunteer families. Mentor families can support young people in creating of a new life for themselves after trauma or abuse.

A user journey with many paths

During the insight work, we had identified many different possible paths for the users. Part of the delivery was a user journey map where these paths could be easily visualized.

By mapping out the different possibilities, stakeholders, users, and touchpoints, we could also together create clear principles for organisation and communication flows between the helping entities in the journey. These principles included policies for matchmaking of mentors and mentees, service promises, and proposed training modules for the mentors.

The mapped out user journey

Sounds interesting?

Lena Sendstad

Let's talk to Creative Director
Lena Sendstad
+47 932 82 811

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