Sexual and Reproductive Health Design Lead – Kenya

The Airbel Impact Lab aims to design, test, and scale life-changing, cost-effective solutions with people affected by conflict and disaster. With over 100 million people displaced, the world is facing an unprecedented crisis. To address the evolving and growing nature of this crisis requires not just more aid, but new thinking. Airbel works to develop breakthrough solutions by combining creativity and rigor, openness and expertise, and a desire to think afresh with the experience of a large-scale implementing organization. The Airbel Impact Lab focuses on 4 Global Research and Innovation Priorities (GRIPs), including Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, and Neonatal Health. The GRIPs are supported by Airbel strategists, behavioural scientists, user-centred designers, researchers, and innovative finance experts.

Job Overview

In today’s reality, where hundreds of people are impacted by disaster and conflict, there is an urgent need to invest in uninterrupted, life-saving sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Airbel Impact Lab is helping to lead the global humanitarian community in rethinking how we can reach more women and girls with simple, cost-effective, proven solutions. To generate these solutions, we are focused on three core pillars: 1) Developing self-care models that increase safe abortion choices and contraceptive options; 2) Strengthening community health systems for delivery of essential maternal and newborn care; and 3) Advocating for supportive changes in national and global policy.

The IRC seeks to hire a user-centred designer supportive of a woman’s right to choose and to have access to safe abortion services to support our sexual and reproductive health research and innovation portfolio. The Designer will be a core member of the Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, and Neonatal Health GRIP and will dual report the Airbel Impact Lab’s Design Practice Lead. The Designer will be responsible for managing a portfolio of Sexual & Reproductive Health (SRH) projects within the GRIP which includes identifying and scoping opportunities for new projects; contributing to proposals; and hiring and managing the work of consultants. The portfolio may consist of user-centred design components in research projects as well as stand-alone innovation projects.

As the lead designer on a project, they will be tasked with running the user-centred design components of work autonomously with consultation with the Design Practice Lead on strategic decisions. They will be the user-centred design technical resource to the SRH GRIP and will collaborate with the GRIP Lean on the innovation strategy for the GRIP. This involves taking initiative to propose and execute design research plans with methods and activities that are fit for purpose, culturally and contextually relevant, and operationally sound. The SRH Designer will be responsible for building a network of local innovation partners and collaborators, maintaining good relationships with internal and external collaborators, understanding the IRC’s logistical and financial ways of working, and contributing to donor reports. The SRH Designer is expected to work autonomously; problem-solve; and anticipate the need to change plans and propose alternatives.

Major Responsibilities:

  • SRH GRIP Innovation Technical Support

Provide ongoing technical support to the GRIP lead on the innovation components of the GRIP strategy, contribute to proposals, provide budgets and workplans for proposed work, socialize user-centred design within the GRIP and with collaborators.

  • Ensure UCD tools and solutions are fit-for-purpose: Tailor the GRIP’s UCD practices, activities, and outputs to our contexts and our colleagues’ bandwidth across all stages of design including: design research, exploratory work, solutions landscape, prototype development and testing, and synthesis.
  • Solution generation and design: Guide the team in considering solutions based on existing evidence, user research, scalability, and market analysis. This may entail analogous inspiration, prompts and ideation activities, collaboration with Behavioral Science colleagues to create behavioral maps, creation of prioritization frameworks, facilitation of brainstorms on potential scaling pathways, and syntheses of key informant interviews.
  • Prototype Creation: Connect the dots between user research, evidence, and expert direction from the team, and generate testable prototypes. Examples of prototypes include low-fidelity print outs, clickable mockups, sample messages, high fidelity mock-ups of service experience, user journeys, and illustrations to test for understanding.
  • Prototype testing: Work with the team to test prototypes with key users and collaborators (remotely through colleagues and/or in person where possible).
  • Final assets: Ensure final assets are of high quality, print ready, and implementation ready. Sample outputs include insights from the initial user research, product strategy, program feedback, program implementation, solution storyboards, and final program recommendations. Ensure the narrative between the design phases are concise, easy to understand, and compelling.
  • Facilitation and Buy-In: Facilitate participatory workshops remotely or in person. Create agendas for validation, prepare materials like miro boards and presentations that are accessible and engaging to collaborators. Ensure sessions are interactive, recognize the experience and interests of collaborators, and get buy-in from collaborators. Use language and meeting norms that are culturally appropriate.
  • Project resource management: Propose human resources for projects; hire, train, and oversee consultants; manage budgets and workplans; project workforce commitments.
  • Piloting: Co-create instruction guides for using and implementing final assets, partner with the monitoring and evaluation team to draft questions to be answered during the piloting phase, and adapt the final assets and guides after the pilots based on feedback from the research conducted by the M&E/project team.

Job Requirements:

Work Experience:

  • Leadership

    • Led 12-20 non-digital UCD research projects in low resource settings
    • Led 10 – 18 non-digital prototyping development and testing projects
    • Led 10 – 18 projects in rural contexts in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Other Experience

    • Technical background in Sexual & Reproductive Health
    • Demonstrated success in doing UCD with cross-disciplinary teams
    • Ability to design digital tools like mini websites, Whatsapp tools, cash transfer services
    • Demonstrated ability to develop proposals, budgets, workplans, workforce tracking tools, spending plans
    • Has recruited and managed UCD talent in contexts where the IRC works
    • Strong verbal and written communication skills, including creating compelling, jargon-free, and easy-to-follow presentations on UCD processes

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:

  • Alignment: Strong commitment to and knowledge of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, including stigmatized service areas such as abortion and for under-served populations such as people living in crises, adolescents, and people with disabilities.
  • Visual Design: Create and provide technical feedback on visual tools, including donor-facing presentation decks, storyboards, and mock branding for prototypes.
  • Design tool creation: Create provide technical feedback on design tools and activities for low literacy/numeracy clients, interview guides, mock-ups of physical products, and high/low prototypes of products, digital products, and services.
  • Qualitative Research: Create and provide technical feedback on guides for semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions; create card sort exercises and user guides; documentation and synthesis of qualitative research
  • Communication: Empathetic, respectful, and culturally sensitive verbal, written, and visual communication skills. Ability to communicate design concepts and activities effectively and clearly with non-design colleagues. Seeks out and incorporates feedback into their work.
  • Flexibility: Create contingency plans and is able to adjust quickly and with good humour when things don’t go according to plan

Language Skills:

  • English written and oral fluency
  • French and/or local languages spoken in Northern Nigeria, East Africa, or South Sudan are preferred

Working Environment:**

  • The Designer will work from an IRC office and may negotiate a flexible work schedule with their managers
  • Up to 30% travel

The IRC is an equal opportunity employer and we value diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.

IRC et les employés de IRC doivent adhérer aux valeurs et principes contenus dans le IRC WAY (normes de conduite professionnelle). Ce sont l’Intégrité, le Service, et la Responsabilité. En conformité avec ces valeurs, IRC opère et fait respecter les politiques sur la protection des bénéficiaires contre l’exploitation et les abus, la protection de l’enfant, le harcèlement sur les lieux de travail, l’intégrité financière, et les représailles.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement:

In accordance with IRC’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards and our commitment to safeguard the health of our employees, clients, and communities, IRC requires new hires to furnish proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to be considered for any in-office or hybrid positions. All IRC US offices require full vaccination to attend any in-office functions (e.g., meetings, trainings).

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusivity:

IRC is committed to building a diverse organization and a climate of inclusivity. We strongly encourage applications from candidates who can demonstrate that they can contribute to this goal.

Equal Opportunity Employer:

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

US Benefits:

We offer a comprehensive and highly competitive set of benefits. In the US, these include: 10 sick days, 10 US holidays, 20-25 paid time off days (depending on role and tenure), medical insurance starting at $145 per month, dental starting at $7 per month, and vision starting at $5 per month, FSA for healthcare, childcare, and commuter costs, a 403b retirement savings plans with up to 4.5% immediately vested matching contribution, plus a 3-7% base IRC contribution (3 year vesting), disability & life insurance, and an Employee Assistance Program which is available to our staff and their families to support counseling and care in times of crisis and mental health struggles.


Posted pay ranges apply to US-based candidates. Ranges are based on various factors including the labor market, job type, internal equity, and budget. Exact offers are calibrated by work location, individual candidate experience and skills relative to the defined job requirements.

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