Senior Human Centered Design Manager Readvertisement

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Development and Project Management, Management, Social Sciences and Community
Addis Ababa 
Career Level:
Senior Level (5+ years experience)

Job Description

Background/IRC Summary:  

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in over 40 countries and 28 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from harm to home.

PlayMatters reimagines childhood for refugees. It will bring play-based learning to 800,000 children across Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. It will redefine education and cultivate a generation of lifelong builders. PlayMatters is inspired by LEGO Foundation’s call to challenge the status quo, to offer children the quality education they dream of. Children are not gaining the skills they need, teachers are under-supported and parents are overwhelmed. The systems built to serve them are failing them. PlayMatters proudly offers something different. It will be delivered by a coalition with a track record of thinking and delivering differently.

Position Summary

The IRC is seeking a Human Centered Designer to join our content and piloting teams in Ethiopia. The Human Centered Designer will use completed qualitative research on the context to understand opportunities and barriers for play-based learning; in addition to collaboratively working with education experts to design and test intervention prototypes in refugee and host populations in Ethiopia. The Human Centered Designer will work with PlayMatters content teams to interpret results from early intervention testing, behavioral research, and other formative research to collaboratively identify solutions to integrate play-based learning into schools, which our content teams can lead in integrating into intervention drafts. For interventions that may need to be tested for contextualization, the Human Centered Designer will work with our teams to lead the testing process, including developing testing plans (testing workplan, learning questions, interview guides, etc.) and, collaboratively with our piloting teams, testing content with users. Content will be designed to support behavioral change for educators, caregivers, and community members to embed learning through play into the lives of children aged 3-12+ in the spaces in which they live and learn. 

Major Responsibilities:

The Human Centered Designer will be an integral part of our team and will work collaboratively with PlayMatters content development teams.

  • Product Design: Human Centered Designer will help adapt content with the team. The Human Centered Designer will work with content development teams to test/contextualize the community draft interventions (as needed) and identify areas for refinement in draft interventions, based on test results from small-scale piloting, prototyping, and contextual testing.  This can include digital/analog user flows, mockups, service design storyboards, informational design for implementors, short videos or audio, and other assets necessary for each program.
  • Workshop facilitation and design : The designer will work closely with the PlayMatters content development and content testing teams to co-lead co-design workshops with key stakeholders (remote and/or in person). They will synthesize insights from interviews and design workshops with the team to identify actions for the next iteration of content.
  • Prototype Creation and Testing: The designer is responsible for connecting the dots between user research, evidence, and expert direction from the team, to generate testable prototypes. Examples of prototypes include low-fidelity printouts/illustrations, clickable mockups, sample messages, high fidelity mock-ups of service experience, user journeys, and illustrations to test for understanding.
  • Prototype testing: The designer will work with the team to test prototypes with key stakeholders (remote and/or in person where possible).
  • Graphic Design: The Human Centered Designer will adapt, design, and contextualize content with the prototyping team to create final assets that ensure uptake and understanding. This includes creating graphics, illustrations, printed and digital materials, as necessary for each program.
  • Final Documentation: The Human Centered Designer will be responsible for designing assets (visuals, relevant materials) to input into the final guide and implementation deck for the two programs that explains how to use the final assets to roll out the program.
  • Piloting: The designer will co-create instruction guides and testing plans for using and implementing final assets. They will work with the monitoring and evaluation team to draft interview questions to be answered during the piloting phase. They will work with the team to co-manage the testing process 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

  • BA degree in Social Science
  • Product design experience of 2-3 years
  • Qualitative research/human-centered design research skills of 2-3 years
  • Graphic design experience
  • Portfolio demonstrating graphic design, design research, and product design projects.
  • Preferred experience creating educational content, educational services, or educational programs.
  • Preferred experience working with pre-literate adults, young children, refugee populations, and vulnerable populations.

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:

  • Design research/qualitative research
  • Prototyping
  • Illustrations
  • Graphic design

Preferred skills and competencies:

  • Video editing
  • Audio editing
  • Whatsapp/digital skills

Language Skills: 

  • Local language skills relevant to the refugee context in Ethiopia is a major plus.
  • English (fluent)

Preferred experience & skills:

  • Ability to synthesize the learnings from previous testing to identify concrete intervention elements needed.
  • Strong collaboration skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively with content teams to refine and build out the following interventions based on the testing results that have already been obtained
  • Ability to lead and project manage teams to test content to ensure content is relevant for all users in all PlayMatters contexts
  • Work with the PlayMatters graphic designer and content teams to ensure content is designed so that it is responsive to user needs
  • Experience leading design research and prototyping with end users
  • Experience creating user experiences and interactions and user flows
  • Able to create client-ready visual design from scratch
  • Can create client-ready visual design within an existing system or brand, can extend pre-existing visual system and produce print-ready work
  • Can make effective choices of user experience elements, such as buttons, layouts, visual styling, and wayfinding for both in-space or digital experiences
  • Exceptional visual design skills to showcase ideas and concepts to non-designers
  • Excellent verbal, written and visual communication skills as well as, an overall ability to be clear and concise in all communications
  • Strong organizational and time-management skills; proven ability to prioritize and deliver on time
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work both independently and in a dynamic, cross-functional global team structure
  • Proficiency in Adobe Suite especially adobe illustrator, in design, photoshop and premiere
  • Proficiency using prototyping tools like figma,, marvel and other digital prototyping applications 

Working Environment :  

  • Mix of remote and in person work. 

How to Apply

Candidates meeting the above qualifications are encouraged to apply only through the below IRC On-line recruitment website: 



Please include 3 references from current and former employers.

Applications will not be returned. IRC discourages phone calls or personal visits.

Only applicants meeting the minimum qualification will be short listed and contacted.

Female candidates are highly encouraged to apply.

Your application letter/cover letter must include the following information.

  • Name of the position you have applied for
  • Date of application
  • Summary of  your qualifications and experience
  • Motivation/objective of why you have applied for the job
  • Permanent Address and present address (if different from permanent) and telephone number if possible also email address

IRC is an equal employment opportunity employer.  IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability. 

Professional Standards : 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 Anti-Retaliation and Combating Trafficking in Persons

Gender Equality:  IRC is committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including parental leave, gender-sensitive security protocols, and other supportive benefits and allowances

Equal Opportunity Employer:  IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. 

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