Humanitarian Aid

Humanitarian Aid

Visual images are a powerful means of communication, especially where the written and spoken word are not effective, and the Footnotes Programme has been able to facilitate and assist bringing education, communication and practical aid to a wide range of individuals and communities world wide.


Oliver’s multilayered visual thinking strategies have helped people of all ages and widely differing communities to realise their often undreamed of potential. Footnotes programmes have been used as a tool by voluntary organisations — such as GHNI — in front line situations, and to provide on-going support backup from a distance. The strategies have been proven to support individuals where hope is all but lost. No matter how unequipped a person or a community, Footnotes has proven again and again to be the means to help the individuals themselves to reach levels of success previously thought not possible.


Footnotes brings a substantial portfolio of strategies that can be used right in the situation, working both in the field and back in the hub of administration. That is, both training teams and also being directly on the ground.

The areas of application include:

Rapid assessment tools that help to discover exactly what the needs are, then work out which resources are available, which still need to be sourced, and what must be done to get them.

Language translation strategies when language is a barrier.

Bringing in support to those who have seen things that are stopping them from moving on, such as dealing with bereavement, addressing issues of reconciliation and offering mediation support.

Pastoral care is also an important area for Footnotes. We have programmes that support counsellors and pastoral carers, bringing VMT strategies alongside emotional support and post-trauma recovery initiatives.

Hopes and dreams are always important throughout the process, and Footnotes brings a number of strategies that help individuals to realise their enterprise and entrepreneurial abilities, whilst also helping them to realise goals — whether they be large or small. The grids can come alongside situations no matter how simple or complicated they are. These are a selection of some of the grid modules available ..

To find out about the modules that cover these topics, and many others, visit our grids page.


Training is available for all perspectives in the field of humanitarian aid, from leaders, support workers, policy makers and those in need. It can take place in an auditorium or in a living room, via conferences, lectures, workshops, family sessions, or one-to-one online tutorials. You can find out more about what it means to be a visual multilayered thinker, learn in depth about specific Footnotes strategies that take your fancy, or even qualify as a facilitator of Footnotes, enabling you to work as an instructor in a variety of settings. These strategies are highly relevant to humanitarian work but can be applied in many other fields as well.

Training in the Field
There is a broad portfolio for giving vital support to training programmes within the field and setting up peer-mentor projects directly into the area of need.

To find out more about the various training options we offer, ranging from one-off sessions to a longer programme of support, visit this page.


Oliver West, creator and founder of Footnotes, offers visual multilayered thinking (VMT) awareness support, Foonotes consultation and bespoke training with you or your organisation. This could be in areas such as policy making, curriculum creation and management support, assessment strategies, and learning or working environment development.

For more information visit this page or get in touch to book a consultation.


“Always we saw fighting, war, explosion, especially in Middle East. Country fighting with other country, attacking, you know, bombing. Killing. We always thinking about the quiet life… From when I was child I was thinking about quiet place…I used [Footnotes], I translated in my mind and in my heart and in my feeling to drawing. I not draw normally but I try to do something… This is a very new thing for me. It’s the first time I’ve translated sentences to pictures… I translated what’s in my mind and in my heart and in my feelings to drawing… I think it’s a good, amazing thing, that makes you understand yourself better.” 

“I’ve learnt a lot from what I heard and I even feel that my dream has come true today and so I have to speak about it! I have had a dream, but I’ve not known how to approach it before today. The Footnotes workshop showed me that it was easy to do and now I know that my dream can be real! I would love to make a business, to have a shop selling food…so I want people to hear…pull up your feet…opportunity is out there and it’s in our hands, you just need to use it.” 

“As an OT I have experienced through taking Footnotes to South Africa how multifaceted Footnotes is. There are multiple uses for many different people for different reasons. I have seen a boy who stutters use Footnotes to present in a clear articulate manner for film. I have seen young people come to realise and articulate their dreams and provide their own objectives to their own goal, I have seen facilitators of after school projects and managers come to realise the positive impact Footnotes can have on their youth programmes and teaching programmes. From spending time with Oliver I have heard amazing, truly inspiring stories of how negative behaviour, whether crime related or not can change, when the offenders remedy the error of their ways. Footnotes can be used to help with research by collecting organising and presenting in a written format at University levels. Footnotes is a programme that can be used by any person, and I want to encourage everyone to try using it.”

“Hi Oliver, You really have opened our minds. In our school we are having children who we are calling slow learners because they cannot read and write. Thank you for explaining everything to us, and showing us the program. Even the children who were regarded as having disabilities were able to translate words into pictures! I think all the things you have explained and showed to us will be useful in school. Especially to assist all the learners that are unable to read or write.” 

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