A global organisation that finds solutions to complex humanitarian problems through research and innovation..
Our purpose is clear: we work in partnership with a global community of humanitarian actors, researchers and innovators to improve the quality of humanitarian action and deliver better outcomes for people affected by crises.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

What humanitarian need is being addressed?

Inadequate access to safe, private, accessible spaces for menstrual hygiene management (MHM)  is a pressing problem for people in humanitarian crises.

Fears, misinformation, and stigma limit women’s ability to manage menstruation in safety and dignity, especially those with disabilities. Sanitation facility design needs to address these challenges and meaningfully engage women and girls.

Understanding the complexity around MHM in humanitarian crises is urgently needed, given that menstruation remains shrouded in secrecy and stigma. This research will make a significant contribution to the field’s understanding of how women and girls in humanitarian contexts respond to and manage menstrual-related challenges, particularly around sanitation facilities.

What is the innovative solution and how will it improve existing humanitarian practice?

The methodology of this project is rooted in user-centered design. Cocoon will obtain comprehensive user insights and input from women, girls and community members. Their knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, and experiences will input into every stage of the design process to ensure the solution is valued, utilised and sustainable.

It will improve existing humanitarian practices by adding impactful examples of design to the field. User-centered design has been used for decades by the business community to develop products, technologies, and services, but utilizing these effective approaches to tackling public health issues is relatively new.

YLabs will also be collaborating with Alight, a humanitarian organization that has developed Kuja Kuja, a real-time feedback system that has collected data from thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons in Uganda. Using initial data, the intervention site with the highest need has been selected.

What are the expected outcomes?

The expected outcomes of this project are to develop, adapt, pilot and evaluate a product or service that will create safe spaces for managing menstruation among displaced populations.

  • First, the findings of this study will be used to inform the intervention design.
  • Then, a multi-disciplinary team of service designers, public health professionals, program partners, and creative designers will work together to use insights to inspire and inform the creation of a range of prototype interventions that will be tested and refined.
  • Sharing the findings with study participants and their communities in an equitable and actional format as a priority for YLabs and their partners.
  • The report will also be printed and disseminated in Uganda among various partners and a plain English version will be translated into Juba Arabic and Bari Kakwa. This dissemination process will be led by the project’s local partner.

Latest Updates

Project started!

1 Jan 2020

YLabs have started their Cocoon project, which aims to improve existing humanitarian practices in menstrual hygiene management by adding impactful examples of design to the field


Five Ways to Design Right- even when everything goes wrong.

9 Apr 2021

YLabs share a blog they wrote about unexpected challenges the Cocoon project faced, and how they kept the project going.


Webinar: Designing during Disruption

4 May 2021

YLabs and their partners ran a webinar about their experiences designing healthcare programmes for communities during COVID-19.


Subscribe to our newsletters....

Elrha © 2018 - 2023 Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110). KEEP IN TOUCH Want to stay up to date with our latest updates? Sign up to our newsletters
Elrha Please upgrade your browser

You are seeing this because you are using a browser that is not supported. The Elrha website is built using modern technology and standards. We recommend upgrading your browser with one of the following to properly view our website:

Windows Mac

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of browsers. We also do not intend to recommend a particular manufacturer's browser over another's; only to suggest upgrading to a browser version that is compliant with current standards to give you the best and most secure browsing experience.