What does the launch of the Quality and Standards Framework mean for the sector?

Sep 18, 2022


One of the challenges of applying Human-centred design (HCD) to Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) is that it is an emergent field of practice in global health. It has lacked a much-needed benchmarking tool that practitioners and investors alike need in order to help understand what quality approaches look like in program design and implementation in this specific field.

We launched the the first-ever Quality and Standards Framework, a critical resource that guides the effective and inclusive practice of human-centered design in adolescent sexual and reproductive health (HCD+ASRH) programming. It has been created by experts and validated by our Community of Practice. Ultimately, this framework will benefit practitioners and those new to the field, to pursue best practice in this field and contribute to more relevant, user-centered and effective ASRH programming.

The virtual launch event had nearly 200 participants from the community and featured speakers from YLabs, HCDExchange, the Quality and Standards Working Group, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. There was a lively discussion with participants that included experienced practitioners, newcomers and funders keen to understand how to implement this new tool that can help evaluate program quality.


Anne LaFond

Senior Advisor, HCDExchange 

Nicole Ippoliti 

Director of Global Programs, YLabs

Dr Shola Olabade-Dade

Senior Behavioural Scientist, YLabs

Janet Holt

Program Officer, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Muthoni Wachira

Project Director, HCDExchange

What is the Quality and Standards Framework?

The framework includes eight principles to guide the effective and inclusive practice of human-centered design in adolescent sexual and reproductive health (HCD+ASRH) programming. It includes simple and actionable tips and resources for the growing HCD+ASRH field of practice.

The Eight Core Principles of Quality and Standards

  1. Engage youth as design partners
  2. Ensure equitable inclusion of different subsets of young people
  3. Develop and implement safeguarding plans for young people.
  4. Embrace an iterative approach to program design and implementation
  5. Integrate primary and secondary learnings and evidence
  6. Engage the ecosystem of influencers
  7. Integrate disciplines essential for adolescent wellbeing
  8. Document methods and key design decisions
– Dr Tracy Johnson, Senior Program Officer on the Global Delivery Programs’ Insights Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“We are tasked today with solving complex social problems and we can’t do it from one discipline alone. How do we bring together different minds and different ways of seeing and examining a problem and thus leading to a solution? We do that by being truly interdisciplinary.”

– Dr Sandra McCoy, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at UC Berkeley School of Public Health

“One of my favourite principles is principle four which calls for the embrace of an “iterative approach to program design and implementation” because although evaluators are not designers, it is important to be respectful and to anticipate that there is an iterative process to the solutions that are being developed in the design process.”

– A360 Amplified

“HCDExchange’s Quality and Standards Framework is a much-needed contribution to the HCD Community of Practice . . . and to be reminded that there are still many areas where we can and should continue to improve. . . ”

– Janet Holt

“We can commit to reading this absorbing this and sharing this (framework) . . .As funders we can commit to ensuring this is used for proposal and have funding available for quality programming.”