Volunteer opportunity: Design Fellowship with UNICEF

Office of Innovation

Duration: 3 Months
Dates: 01 June 2016 – 31 August 2016 (3 months, flexible start date)

Duty Station: New York, USA
Position Type: Unpaid – VOl


The UNICEF Innovation Unit Design Fellowship is an opportunity for university-level students or recent graduates to work in a professional environment.

The fellow will support the Office of Innovation and Visual Strategy Team in problem solving and design production for our range of innovation products.

Ideal candidates will be firmly grounded in visual design principles and have strong communication skills.

You will be immersed into an environment where you can learn about innovation in development at start-up and scale-up levels in a variety of countries and be given opportunities to explore how design leads to social impact.

Additionally, you will be provided an opportunity to sculpt your own related project with the support of our multidisciplinary team of accomplished nerds.

What you get out of this fellowship:

  • Networking opportunities. You get to be a part of an inter-disciplinary, international, diverse and extremely fun team of people at UNICEF who are taking great projects from start-up to scale-up. This not only includes the innovation team in New York Headquarters and San Francisco but also our global innovation team and global innovation network.
  • Mentorship. Get support on a personal project related to innovations at UNICEF or other similar work related to your studies. Mentorship will be provided by multiple team members to support not only your personally designed project, but any other work you might be doing at your university, including advice on your thesis or other specific focus of work.
  • An opportunity to grow your portfolio and know-how. You will work on a variety of projects from branding, publication layouts, system diagrams, wireframes and experience design. Additionally, you’ll be constantly exposed to our team dynamics, new and developing projects from various arms of our team. We have an open environment which affords open conversations and inquiry so you’ll be able to go beyond design and understand how innovations grow and develop within the context of UNICEF and UNICEF programmes.


The design fellow will be a part of the of the Innovation Team at UNICEF NY Headquarters for the summer. During this time, they will complete the following tasks:

  • Visual strategy support: Our Visual Strategy Team provides support to country offices for deployment of various innovation products. The candidate will be put on one or more of these product deployment teams to assist on the production of materials such as – logo design, print collateral, website wireframe, front-end dashboards etc. The candidate may also provide support on internal documents which require layout and systems diagramming.
  • Personal project <optional>: The candidate can bring their own project that is relevant to the work being done by the Innovation Unit or can research our existing innovations, and develop their own problem statement in which to explore. An output is required and the fellow will work with the Innovation Unit to determine the content and medium.
  • Brown bag presentation: The candidate will be required to present their findings from their personal project to the entire UNICEF Innovation team. This can include their learnings, how they have grown in the past semester and what they are taking forward from their time at UNICEF. He/she will work with the Visual Strategy team to prepare and organize the presentation and package a handover document.


The applicant must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and 1 year of experience in relevant field – ie. graphic design, interaction design, visual communication, media design, system design or others – and have proven experience in translating complex ideas into unified storytelling visuals. Qualifications include:

  • Familiarity with graphic design fundamentals.
  • Familiarity with the Adobe Mastersuite.
  • Proven capability of working on a project from the concept to the final design package.
  • An ability to communicate complex, abstract concepts using both visual and written language.
  • Experience with working with a unique team and being able to parse through large amounts of information in order to create simplified and clear designs.
  • Strong knowledge of design platforms like Adobe Creative Suite, design techniques, software, data visualization.
  • Self-starter and able to time-manage oneself.
  • Ability to work with a diverse team in a rapidly-changing work environment.
  • Knowledge of SMS technology and mobile usage in developing countries and a familiarity with UNICEF Innovation Labs is a plus.
  • Experience in print, digital, UX/UI design, data visualization

Additional Experience and Knowledge:

  • Familiarity with open-source technology
  • Familiarity with development/programming language
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Design preparation and production skills
  • Experience creating visually appealing technical guidance pieces
  • Ability to work in a team and rapidly-changing work environment


UNICEF has been innovating for children for 70 years. The Office of Innovation in New York supports the organization’s 135+ country offices in finding solutions for the world’s most vulnerable children. The UNICEF innovation work includes both policy and practice of innovation in UNICEF, and the larger UN. UNICEF is engaged in testing and scaling up new partnerships, technologies, and collaborations in some of the world’s most difficult operating environments. UNICEF’s Office of Innovation includes:

  • An Innovation Unit in New York: to support UNICEF programmes on the ground and the organisation at large through partnerships, technologies, and connections. The Innovation Unit leads on the UNICEF Innovation Fund, a venture-style investment vehicle that funds early-stage, open source tech solutions that help children.
  • An Innovation node in San Francisco: to build partnerships with the technology sector, and will help scale social innovation start-ups
  • A Global Innovation Centre in Nairobi: to identify and field tests scalable innovations

A network of Innovation Labs around the world: to bring together the private sector, academia, and the public sector to develop solutions for key social issues, and ensure we are always watching for new ideas from unexpected places.


Please submit the following materials to unicef.jobs@gmail.com with the Subject line –  “Application: Design Fellowship Summer 2016”:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Resume/CV
  3. Work samples/portfolio: You can provide us with URL to your portfolio or email us a PDF of your work.

Application Deadline: March 30 by 6:00 pm EST

Questions can be directed to unicef.jobs@gmail.com with the Subject line: “QUERY: Design Fellowship Summer 2016”

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