The ILM (Intellect-Love-Mercy) Foundation for the last 19 Ramadans has converted charity into advocacy and action for Humanitarian Day (HDAY) projects. Through its network the Coalition to Preserve Human Dignity (CPHD,) we intentionally share our experience with volunteers and organizations on we how have utilized HDAY for community organizing.

The 2018 theme was “Awareness-Advocacy-Action” which is an appropriate anthem for a call to action, that provides Neighborly Needs. Our new service model was developed through the process of Design Thinking; where we Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test new methods for an overall better HDAY experience.

Through the Humanitarian Day’s experience, we have learned the essence of service projects. In order to maintain a simplistic approach, we empathized the question, “What is Humanitarian Day?”  Then we began to define and ponder new possibilities where new features can be implemented; so we can create a more surreal experience. In this phase of design, the following questions pushed us to raise, reduce, eliminate and create new HDAY standards:

  • How can a volunteer leave HDAY, with a more surreal experience?
  • Can we increase our ability to build with relevant local agencies?
  • And how to directly deliver our services?

Since 2000 the HDAY model was simply based on an on-site orientation for volunteer activism; by giving motivating instructions to ensure a positive and synergistic distribution. Now in 2018, we needed to redesign our approach. Especially since cities were beginning develop new policies on the future of homelessness in both, Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

In 2018, there was a high profiled protest in Orange County (OC) called, “Not In My Back Yard” nicknamed NIBMY. Where residents began a push-back on city officials’ plans to relocate homelessness camps within their city. Subsequently, OC began showing signs of its homeless population growing. We knew back then (2015) that homelessness in Orange County, is beginning to reflect homelessness in Los Angeles , which the LA population doubled to 23% over one year. So, we began to ideate and prototype a more compassionate service model. One that now enhance a volunteer’s experience, raise service standards, and comply to any new policy that would inhibit our traditional service model.

In Ramadan 2017 we beta tested a new model and in 2018 introduced as “Awareness, Advocacy, and Action.” This new design evolved the HDAY experience. So now in planning we intentionally encourage dialogue, by making more time for 1-2-1s with related agencies, local organizers, and available resources. The new HDAY model was implemented, at the Islamic Center of Santa Ana in Orange County, who graciously opened their doors in HDAY 2017, where we tested the scenario.

#HDAY2018 Design Impact…

  • Dialogue for social Awareness. HDAY in partnership with NewGround Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, facilitated an interactive discussion between volunteers. This dialogue also included both Shia and Sunni communities building bridges rooted in serving its Orange County community.
  • We provided means for learning more about Advocacy, on how and why it’s important to get involved with local civic policies that affects your means for health, security, and protection.
  • The Action of ILM’s strategic planning over the last 3 years in Orange County helped to established (1) partnerships with two of OC’s most active shelters, (2) Double previous target numbers, from serving 200 to 800 recipients. Receiving HDAY Care Bags and resources.

Going forward the ILM Foundation is now planning on how to re-imagine homelessness and provide more effective service models, especially during times of eradicating poverty through policy changes. Throughout the year, we are facilitating workshops for Community Accountability, training organizations on how to be an efficient service e in Los Angeles County and other areas.

For more information about Design Thinking, please contact INKERIJ [pronounced as Encourage] for professional advisory and leadership development. Learn more with Umar Hakim, direct contact is

The following video reflects our design results, as we captured the event experience; so please share this open source project with others. #INKERIJDESIGN

“ILM Foundation’s mission is to teach life skills to economically underprivileged youth and adults so that social ills are replaced with opportunities for intellectual and economic empowerment.”