Design Thinking in Humanitarian Aid

Learnings from applying design thinking as a planning tool for projects in the humanitarian field

Written by Christian Kloyber, Innovation Facilitator at Austrian Red Cross

Today my phone displayed a picture of what I did exactly a year ago. It was February 18th 2020 and I delivered the second of two face-to-face design thinking workshops in Kampala and Addis Ababa. The task was to facilitate the generation of innovative project ideas in the …

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4 people using lego to visualize their idea
Irene Nakasiita, URCS Head of Communications and Reporting

PMER Workshop

URCS Iganga Branch invited all other Branches which participate in the Skybird Programme for a PMER, PR and Communicatins workshop. We want to extend a big thank you to the great speakers and the motivated participants who were eager to learn and are now ready to get to work with all this new knowledge.
ERCS Branches participating in the Skybird Programme are receiving a PMER, PR and PGI training this week in Addis Ababa too.
Julian Erlautz_Lesbos
Untitled design (3)
Chain Interview #2
George Mugambi (Netherlands Red Cross) let the chain continue with Jennifer Akumu (Uganda Red Cross) who chose to talk about Menstural Hygiene Management during the pandemic. Watch the whole interview now.
ERU Mission Reports
Mike Wolf has been to Honduras and writes about a problem they encountered with high iron levels in the water.
Julian Erlautz has worked in Kara Tepe, Greece and shares a report from his perspective as a Hygiene Promotion expert.

*NEW* Event Calendar
We created an event calendar on our website to make it easier to keep an overview over all the webinars, conferences and other (online) events. We are happy to publish and promote your event there as well. Just reach out to us under


  • URCS Ntungamo Branch made the news again with their Skybird Micro-Project about gender-based violence.
  • The Community Engagement Hub launched a very handy CEA Pocket Guide with special regards to countering misinfromation about COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Oxfam and IOM with funds from USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance launched a series of webinars on strengthening knowledge on solar water pumping solutions among humanitarian WASH actors with a focus on hard-to-reach places and first phase humanitarian emergencies. More info here.
  • We found this handy tool from mWater Portal with which you can make queries on e.g. how many water points there are between a local hospital and a household.
  • Published in November 2020 but still relevant today: UNICEF's State of the World's Sanitation report which shows that at the current rate, we won't reach sanitation for all until the 22nd century.


My name is Jennifer Akumu, I am a Public Health professional (Master of Public Health Disaster Management) with a background in Environmental Management. I have been implementing WASH/Public Health programs since 2006. I joined URCS in 2012 as a Project Manager - Urban Disaster Risk Reduction. Currently, I am a Program Officer coordinating the Skybird Projects in Uganda. I oversee Skybird implementation in all the 6 branches.
My most absurd moment was, when I was supporting a WASH program in Imvepi Refugee settlement.
We were documenting good MHM practices and we came across a child headed household who had benefited from a menstrual hygiene kit. During her narration, she started with the positive expression of how the MHM kit had helped her. This was interesting and I felt great about our WASH support, through distribution of MHM kits. However, as she continues, she started reflecting on her life back in South Sudan including how she separated with her parents, and she started sobbing seriously. I could not hold it anymore, but also joint her to cry. I still feel her sadness up to now. This experience tells me that, much as we implement WASH programs, we need to have skills and knowledge in psychosocial support, so that we are able to support as and when is required.

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