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PDO Kenya

Kenya |

The Mission

PDO (Psychiatric Disability Organisation) provides free community-based support to people with mental illnesses in Nakuru and neighbouring Counties Kenya. Though open to all, they focus particularly on reaching marginalized communities with no other recourse to care, such as vulnerable adolescents, prisoners, sex workers and people living with HIV. Through their Pamoja Initiative, PDO recruits and trains volunteers and specialists who contribute their time and experience to provide free mental health services.

The Challenge

PDO’s profile has been growing in recent months as they gain more recognition for their work. However, when they began working with Ember, their name and branding no longer reflected the values of the organisation. They also needed to gather evidence of their impact in order to secure future funding. Given the scope and variety of PDO’s work, a central challenge was to articulate their mission, model and impact in clear and compelling ways.

The Collaboration

Given these particular challenges, Ember's work with PDO has been focussed in three areas: design and branding, recording impact, and fundraising.

Branding and Communications

We conducted a series of creative workshop with the PDO team to capture the values and ethos at the core of PDO's work and identify a new name and visual identity that more clearly reflect these. They chose the name Alika, a Swahili word that means “to invite” and that reflects the core values of the organisation: Alika invites you inside, invites you to think differently about mental health, invites you to become part of a support system.

The Ember design team then developed a new visual identity for Alika, continually checking back in with the PDO/Alika team to get their feedback. Sara, one of our designers, explained her process:

"Drawing on what we learned from the PDO team, the main aspects that inspired us were that the organisation represents a proud cultural heritage, and provides the most marginalized in society with a community who cares for them. The logo needed to be seen as welcoming and human, a positive force of change through a reliable community of people helping each other.

That's why we used the imagery of two outstretched hands. This represents Alika reaching out to the people who need their help.

We chose a friendly round typeface, with the letters made up of brightly coloured shapes that come together to create a new color at the intersections. This symbolises the strength of people working together. The letter ‘k’ is inverted to create an arrow shape, representing energy and progress."

Impact and Articulation

Through a series of workshops and interviews, the teams worked together to develop clear articulations of the different aspects of the PDO/Alika model. We also compiled the impact data that PDO/Alika has gathered through their activity and designed an infographic to communicate this information.

We are working with PDO to develop an efficient monitoring and evaluation framework that can capture and convey the immense impact of their work, across all its different components.


Both of the strands of work described above have been closely linked to the goal of helping PDO/Alika secure future funding so that they can sustain and grow their activities.

With this in mind, we have worked with the team to build capacity in fundraising by supporting and providing feedback on grant applications, putting them in touch with useful contacts, and offering guidance ahead of pitches at international conferences.

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