Design Fellow

About us: 

iDE is a global development organization with a mission to create income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households. iDE was founded in 1982 and has played a pivotal role in developing social enterprises and market-based approaches.  iDE invests in entrepreneurs, creates social enterprises, and provides solutions to solve some of the world’s toughest problems, primarily in agriculture and WASH. Our headquarters is based in Colorado, USA and there are currently offices in 14 countries, in Africa, Asia, and Central America. 

Our Values: 

  • We believe in the right of poor women and men to a secure livelihood. 
  • We believe that markets can be a powerful force for enabling prosperity.
  • We regard the rural poor as our clients. They are customers, producers, and entrepreneurs.
  • We value innovation and entrepreneurship. 
  • We are results oriented, aiming for significant impacts for large numbers of people.

Who You Are: 

You are a product or business  designer and researcher who is passionate about developing low‐cost innovations for the poor. You are a designer by training and you have spent at least two years professionally in a user-centric design environment applying HCD principles. 
You have solid experience in user‐research, including conducting user‐interviews and observations. You are keen to design low‐cost innovations for the poor. You have applied your skills to real‐world, human problems. Your designs are always grounded in insights about people and driven by your design vision.   You have a refined aesthetic and appreciation for good design.  You are skilled in graphic design and visual storytelling.   

You enjoy finding ways to test and  tinker with design to make a product more user-friendly. You understand how product/service design interrelates with the marketing and business context. You are very aware of the constraints of manufacturing in the developing world.

You thrive in a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment where ideas build on one another. You have a healthy respect for colleagues with diverse experiences and backgrounds. You have worked in an international or cross‐cultural setting, so you appreciate the benefits and the challenges involved. You like to extend beyond research design and are comfortable getting your hands dirty with user and field research. 

You’re resourceful, creative, and flexible – you can handle the occasional power outage, extreme weather conditions, and can find your way through a bustling market to creatively source what you need. You’re skilled at managing multiple deadlines, as you love being engaged in a diversity of projects at once. Above all, you are a collaborator. 

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • You will be a Design Fellow based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a 6-month position starting in mid- spring 2019.  You will assist with the user interaction and product/service design aspects of engagements, co-creating and building solutions for challenges faced by rural poor. You will work with the iDesign Global team and iDE Ethiopia team to develop design principles, multiple rapid prototypes, and design iterations.
  • This is a cross-cutting role, working in both Agriculture and WASH depending on current program and project needs. 
  • You will serve as the iDesign Design Ambassador: working alongside iDesign and in-country staff to build innovation and design capacity.  
  • This is an opportunity to work on real‐world problems alongside a close‐knit, diverse, and top‐calibre team. You’ll wear many hats. You will have a rich experience that will touch the lives of those who most need life‐changing opportunities.


  • 4-year university degree
  • At least 2 years of design experience in an HCD context
  • Experience in prototyping both early and functional prototypes
  • 2+ years of practical work experience in design research methods (private sector preferred)
  • Experience working on projects from start to finish (exploratory to final design)
  • Excellent visualization skills (hand sketching, Adobe CS, rendering)
  • Able to understand human problems from a design perspective
  • Demonstrated knowledge of manufacturing processes
  • Understanding the role of business and anthropology in the design process
  • Project management experience
  • Demonstrated interest in serving the rural poor 
  • Excellent spoken and written English
  • Exposure to working or living in a developing country context
  • Creative problem‐solving skills
  • A collaborative approach to working and the ability to thrive in an interdisciplinary team

Software Fluency Required:

  • Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign


This is an unpaid position and will need to be entirely self-funded.  This is a wonderful opportunity for those looking to step/transition/gain experience into the Design for Social Impact space.

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