Research Projects

Snapshots of a few design research projects that I have been a part of during my time at UNICEF Innovation and YLabs. All of these projects had outcomes rooted in solving a problem through communication design. You can find out more about each of these projects by clicking through to the links in the descriptions.

Menstrual Health Curriculum


YLabs partnered with Splash to design unique curriculums for boys, parents, and older peers to foster a more enabling environment for menstrual practices for girls in Ethiopia and India. We developed a remote friendly prototyping kit, led a three-day training, and provided remote support to country teams. We also helped oversee data collection, management, and analysis. When testing was complete, YLabs presented clear documentation of prototyping findings and recommended iterations to expand upon the launch prototypes at scale. Read more about this project here.

Youth-Driven Content

MARCH 2020  •  U.S.A.

YLabs partnered with the MTV Staying Alive Foundation to develop a youth-driven content strategy for a new, transnational campaign launching in South Africa and the United States. We worked with young people across the US to develop characters and storylines that accurately represent their real questions, concerns, and lived realities. This groundbreaking program and dissemination strategy aims to model positive behaviors and meet the demand for health services. Read more about this project here.

Plastic Bricks


In Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire we conducted design research around the plastic bricks project initiated by the UNICEF country office. The country office wants to transform all plastic waste into building materials for classrooms. Our team’s objectives for this research were to - understand the context and project development; acquire user insights and data to help shape business model and strengthen outreach materials. Recently this project was featured in the New York Times.

Tech Bets for an Urban World


I visited Jakarta and Mexico City with a team from Dalberg design to conduct design research. The goal of this research was to identify digital technologies that deliver positive social impacts for children and their families in cities. My role specifically was to conduct design research alongside the Dalberg team and to communicate our findings through a website and other communication materials. You can find some of this work on the Urban Tech Bets project page.

Janani Express


The government of Madhya Pradesh and UNICEF India set up a referral system that transports women and children to health institutions through the help of several call centers. The output from my research was a document that captured this system through short written narratives, stories from the field, photographs and most importantly a systems diagrams that describe the logistical processes and the flow of data being used. In collaboration with UNICEF India, I wrote a short piece that describes the system here.



I visited the Kosovo Innovation Lab to observe and attend the UPSHIFT social impact workshop. As UPSHIFT was beginning to scale throughout UNICEF, the purpose of this trip was to research and document the current practices  in the UPSHIFT workshops. The output of this project was to improve the information architecture and user experience of the UPSHIFT facilitation guide and all supporting materials. Take a more detailed look at this project here.

tanya bhandari 2024