Announcing the inaugural HCDExchange Design Fellows

Mar 8, 2021

We are pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of the HCDExchange Design Fellows! 

The HCDExchange Fellowship was conceived to drive cross learning between human-centred design professionals and organizations working within adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Fellows are selected through an open process and placed within leading design-led ASRH organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa for a period of six to nine months. 

One of the core objectives of the HCDExchange’s learning agenda is to bridge the gap between design and ASRH by enhancing collaboration between designers and implementers. While HCD methods are increasingly used to design interventions across the social sector, the ASRH field has not yet widely integrated HCD into its practices. The vision for the HCDExchange fellowship is to spark knowledge exchange between the two sectors and develop a cohort of designers from the Global South who are uniquely positioned to design solutions for ASRH. 

For this pilot year, the HCDExchange partnered with YLabs, Adolescents360, and Grassroot Soccer as partner organizations. Three outstanding designers were selected from a competitive pool of designers from across Africa.

They are: 

Susan Towett, who joins Grassroot Soccer,

Isaac Kinyanjui, who joins Ylabs, and

David Mireri, who joins Adolescents360 in Kenya.

HCDExchange Director MaqC Eric Gitau highlighted the role of the HCDExchange Design  Fellowship in catalyzing this knowledge exchange: 

We are confident that these three highly skilled and motivated designers will bring dynamic energy to our implementing organizations and work with them to explore and test human-centred design approaches in their programming. We are equally confident that our fellows will come away from the experience with deep subject matter expertise in adolescent sexual health that will be invaluable to the broader field when combined with their HCD toolkit.”

The HCDExchange fellows have started work with their host organizations and will, over the course of the year, share their learning and reflections with the HCDExchange Community of Practice. We are thrilled to collaborate with them and our host organizations to advance learning at the intersection of HCD and ASRH. 

Learn more about our fellows through their biographies below.

Fellow biographies 

Isaac is a Nairobi based experience designer and a problem solver working at the intersection of design-thinking and experience design in Africa, and is a 2021 fellow with Ylabs. His previous design experience includes working on the Chukua Selfie, an initiative by Elton John AIDS foundation that makes it possible for young people to know their HIV status confidentially from the comfort of their home. He was also the lead designer at E-citizen, a World Bank initiative that helped digitize all government to citizen services and is currently serving over 40 million Kenyans. He attended Nairobi School of Design and is currently pursuing a user experience micro-masters at the University of Michigan.

In his free time, Isaac is a volunteer at KSPCA, an organization that protects animals from neglect and abuse.
Susan is a 2021 fellow with Grassroot Soccer and she is currently based in Kenya. She is passionate about social impact projects and has worked on Adolescent SRHR projects with LVCT Health Kenya and Ark Africa. She’s also worked on projects related to healthcare in urban slums and waste management at the Nairobi Design Institute. Most recently, she worked with Dalberg Media and Merck Group on a project to help eradicate bilharzia in Kenya.

With a masters degree in Human Computer Interaction Design from City University of London and an MBA in Business Information Systems from Turku School of Economics in Finland, Susan hopes to use her knowledge and skills to help Grassroot Soccer build a strong foundation in youth-powered design.

David is a 2021 fellow with Adolescents360 in Kenya. He is a multidisciplinary designer who has diverse experience working as a freelancer and within startups. David believes in gaining experience across domains because he believes that there is no direct path to opportunity. David credits his varied work experience for helping him become an agile, creative free thinker who can move between nonlinear careers and add value no matter the environment or situation.

David’s work as a designer has ranged from working with entrepreneurs and start-ups to facilitating market access for farmers. He is excited to be recognized as a talented and creative leader through the HCDExchange Fellowship, and is ready to apply his skill-set in human-centered design to solve problems for the HCD+ASRH field.