Monique Heyden

Bachelor of Arts in Technical Communications, Master's of Science in Communication and Media Management, currently working as solutions architect in the ICT and telecommunications sector developing next generation learning environments and infrastructures.

Introducing my

Thesis Project

How Everything Started

Building on my master's studies in the field of Communication and Media Management and my focus area of knowledge transfer and the development of target group oriented teaching media, I wrote my master's thesis about the HIV/AIDS education of HIV-positive teenagers in South Africa. For this, I collaborated with the aid organization Generation Ubuntu, which supports and educates children and teenagers living with HIV through a comprehensive after-school program that includes psycho-social support, HIV and life skills education, health and nutrition training, and community engagement.

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How the Idea Developed Further

During my research in South Africa, I discovered that purposeful educational material, which enables people to help themselves, has a great impact on the effectiveness of aid organizations and boosts the personal development of its participants. Therefore, I decided to introduce my Journey Concept to a broader range of aid organizations. Using this concept, I develop interactive media for awareness-raising purposes that is tailored exactly to the organization's goals and its target group's needs.

The My Journey Book is one example of media developed using the Journey Concept. However, this unique concept can be adapted to all different kinds of media - whatever works best for your program!

Get in contact to find out where your journey could take you!

More About

The Project


The assignment of this master‘s thesis was to investigate how HIV education and support takes place in a South African township. I researched about the HIV epidemic and HIV education in South Africa in general, and in Khayelitsha in particular. Through my engagement with Generation Ubuntu' psycho-social worker, health worker, facilitators, program managers and children I got in-depth insight into the work of an NGO working with HIV-positive children in underserved communities as well as into the challenges and needs of children living with HIV.

Through qualitative expert interviews, quantitative surveys and knowledge tests as well as through usability tests, I determined where and why there are substantial knowledge gaps among South African children and teens, which risks these knowledge gaps cause and how these gaps can be minimized by imparting knowledge through tailored, child-oriented information material. One of the goals of this thesis was to create educational material optimized for the target group’s needs in terms of text-image-relationship, the content structure and composition, the information range, the layout, graphic design and functionalities. Its purpose is to educate HIV-positive teenagers about HIV and about their responsibilities towards others as well as to train them to live a healthy and successful life with the virus.

As imparting knowledge and empowering people to help themselves in order to prevent AIDS related deaths and the spread of HIV is an important issue for South Africa, I contribute my research and my master’s thesis to the country’s fight against HIV and AIDS.

Development of the My Journey Book

The practical project of my master’s thesis was to developed target group oriented educational material in cooperation for the HIV education of South African teenagers living with HIV.

For the creation of the educational material I developed an educational concept called Journey Concept which built the basis for the creation of interactive teaching material that informs the children about HIV and supports them in building up their resilience by actively including the kids in the learning process.

Based on the findings of my research at Generation Ubuntu, I grappled with the question, how educational material needs to be presented to ensure optimum understandability for a specific target group with below average abilities regarding the reception of information. The personal problems of the teenagers as well as the influence of the community also played a major role.

The result of this is the My Journey Book, an interactive and personalizable work book created for the HIV/AIDS education of HIV-positive children from South Africa.

For the actual development of the My Journey Book, I focused on the text-image-relationship, on the ideal range, structure and composition of information as well as on the picture and textual presentation of the information. Especially when it comes to educational media for children, the effective use of text and images will be of high importance. Therefore, the use of simple, controlled language for an error-free information transfer from educational material to the children is an important part of my thesis. Also, the challenges a multicultural and multi-lingual country like South Africa faces regarding medical education and HIV awareness raising play a major role for the development of the My Journey Book.

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