series event

Successes and stumbles in spreading User-Centred Design: takeaways from the International Rescue Committee’s Design School experiment

With support from RECAP, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) launched a test of an IRC User-Centred Design (UCD) School for colleagues in country programmes interested in better understanding how UCD could improve their engagement with clients. Our colleagues were based in Somalia, Uganda, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Kenya. In this webinar, you will hear the approach we took, what worked and didn’t work, and can join us in a discussion for what the next version of the Design School might look like. 

UCD is an approach that draws upon ethnographic methods to diagnose problems from our client’s perspective, identify opportunity areas for addressing barriers, and rapidly pre-test elements of ideas to arrive at a solution that clients desire. This approach is differs from qualitative research in that it is not intended to generate representative data. Rather, it aims to deeply understand the experience of a small number of clients to ensure we are targeting the right barriers, serve as inspiration for new ways to solve the problem, and consider the preferences and influences that affect human behaviour. 

While this approach is growing momentum in development and humanitarian sectors, its roots and expertise are in wealthy, Western regions. We are interested in understanding the pathway for how user-centred design work might be better shaped and led by colleagues from development and humanitarian settings. 


Carla Pramila Lopez, Associate Director of Health Innovation at the IRC’s Airbel Impact Lab

Carla is a global health x user-centred design practitioner who works to design desirable, feasible, and viable products and services for vulnerable populations. Her work has ranged from running a human sexuality workshop programme with tea plantation workers and miners in Papua New Guinea to serving as PSI country director in Liberia for the Ebola response. 

Joel Siaga, Design Lead 

Joel is a design autodidact based in Nairobi with extensive experience with digital design. He surfaces clients' insights and tests early-stage ideas with our early childhood education work in East Africa and is leading work to explore safer mechanisms for community-based delivery in Somalia. In addition to coding, Joel is also well versed in rapidly creating prototypes and digital experiences that meet the emerging demands of our connected clients. 


Please note that the recording link will be listed on this page when available


Follow webinar link. Free and open to all. No registration required.