The International Rescue Committee (IRC), a global humanitarian organization that helps people affected by conflict and disaster, will soon launch two crowdsourcing campaigns to capture new ideas to increase comfort and safety in women’s toilets in refugee camps and last-mile medicine delivery in Sierra Leone. These open innovation challenges are the first of a series planned for the coming years.

The IRC helps people affected by humanitarian crises to survive, recover and rebuild their lives and is working with innovative scale-up Wazoku and crowdsolving consultancy SeaFreight Labs on the Challenges - Safe and Desirable Female Toilets in Refugee Camps and Innovative Packaging for Last Mile Medicine Delivery. It is using the Wazoku Crowd, a global network of expert problem ‘Solvers’, comprised of engineers, designers, PhD students, CEOs, start-ups, scientists and business leaders.

In the first Challenge, the IRC is soliciting new ideas for how to retrofit existing latrines so that they deliver improved lighting and locking functionality that can generate alerts when maintenance is required – all for under US$20 per latrine. The second Challenge is seeking specific designs for medicine packaging and transport in Sierra Leone, which must include resistance to regular exposure to dust, rain, and extremes of temperature; tamper-proof mechanisms to avoid theft; and sturdiness of packaging to protect at loading, unloading and in transit.

“For women and girls to use the toilet safely and securely is a basic human right that’s not currently available to everyone – this must change,” said Jane Lim, Senior Program Manager, User-Centered Design at Airbel Impact Lab, IRC. “Similarly, improving access to lifesaving medicines in Sierra Leone needs significant improvement, which can then also be utilised in other parts of the world. We want affordable and effective solutions to both Challenges and believe the collaboration between IRC, Wazoku and SeaFreight Labs can deliver them.”

To learn more about the IRC’s mission, how SeaFreight Labs is supporting this crowdsourcing campaign, and more about the Challenges, visit the IRC Showcase.

Working in more than 40 crisis-affected countries and communities around the world, the IRC delivers lasting impact by providing health care, education for children, and economic programs to help individuals become self-reliant, while always seeking to address the inequalities facing women and girls.

The Wazoku Crowd has a success rate of 80%+ in solving more than 2,500 Challenges, delivering more than 200,000 innovations in the process, many of which were for humanitarian or non-profit organisations.

“The Wazoku Crowd has a strong track record in delivering innovative and effective solutions for humanitarian organisations across a variety of challenges,” said Simon Hill, CEO, Wazoku. “It’s a key element of the work we do, and our crowd is the biggest and most effective of its type in the world. I’m confident that the Wazoku Crowd – in partnership with SeaFreight Labs - will deliver for the IRC.”

The IRC Challenges will be supported by Wazoku’s long-term crowdsolving consultancy partner SeaFreight Labs. “I am excited to be able to serve as Project Advisor to IRC as they launch their humanitarian crowd-solving initiative,” said Harry Sangree, Founder and CEO, SeaFreight Labs. Stated Sangree, “Steve Jobs said ‘the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.’ I am confident that inviting the global crowd to help the IRC better serve their clients is a key step in generating this desired change.” 

There are cash prizes available for both Challenges. Further details around the ‘Safe and Desirable Female Toilets in Refugee Camps’ Challenge and the ‘Innovative Packaging for Last Mile Medicine Delivery’ Challenge will be announced in the coming weeks.


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For further information about International Rescue Committee, visit

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