Product Design And Development Specialist

Location Diit, Tacloban City and Basey, Philippines

Start Date  May - Jul 2019 (flexible)

Length of Placement 6 Months

Language Requirements English

English Reading: Level 5, Writing: Level 5, Speaking: Level 4

Language Scale:

Open to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada only

The Volunteer’s Role


As the Product Design and Development Specialist, you will support two membership-based organizations which support entrepreneurship, employment and income generation to women and people with disabilities, their families and their communities. Tacloban City Persons with Disabilities Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TAPDICO) and Basey Association for Native Industry Growth (BANIG) were both greatly affected by Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda, one of the deadliest cyclones to ever hit the Philippines in 2013.

Both organizations came back stronger after the disaster, a testament to the resilient nature of Filipinos. As they continue to recover, they need technical support to create new designs and products that are responsive to market trends and buyer’s preferences. As the Product Designs and Development Advisor, you will play an important role in ensuring the competitiveness and continuity of these two businesses which provide income and employment for poor and small scale entrepreneurs.

BANIG is skilled in making colorful handicrafts using natural materials while TAPDICO is skilled in making tables and chairs for school-aged children. Both organizations are less experienced on the business side. They need a technical expert to help them to innovate with existing line of products, develop new innovative designs and products to meet consumer’s buying needs and preferences. You will also support and capacitate them in conducting market research, identifying and developing new markets for their products, developing marketing strategies and in managing customer relations.

As a volunteer, you will:

- Review of existing product categories, product catalogues, showroom design, business operations, production process and marketing plans

- Conduct research on current market trends (color, designs, materials, competitors, different marketing channels, etc.)

- Support the organizational interest in developing new products, innovations or designs based on currently available tools, equipment, techniques and materials

- Support capacity building at different levels of the organization

Essential Academic Qualifications:

- A university degree in Fine Arts, or another related area or equivalent professional/volunteer experience

Essential Professional Background:

- Minimum of 3 - 5 years’ experience in business, ideally with skills in product design and development

 - Excellent written and verbal communication skills

- Ability to adapt and apply business knowledge and techniques to grass roots organizations


About Our Partner


Tacloban City Persons with Disabilities Multi-Purpose Cooperative / Basey Association for Native Industry Growth

TAPDICO is a co-operative for people with disabilities. A sub-contractor for the Department of Education, they build educational furniture for all of the schools in the region. Despite losing all their equipment during Typhoon Yolanda, the organization continues to operate, employing 33 members, 80% of which have a disability. They manage a huge workshop, a million worth of livelihood support from the government’s Typhoon Haiyan Reconstruction Program in a 6,000 square meters property owned by TAPDICO. TAPDICO aims to develop other furniture products, using their current materials, tools and techniques.

BANIG is a federation of 20 women’s organizations in the town of Basey, Samar formed in 2014. The organization is famous for making colourful, creative mats and other crafts women from tikog reeds which are indigenous to the area and sustainably grown and harvested. As a women’s federation, it also seeks the empowerment of women mat weavers through capacity building programs and engagement dialogue with the government meant to ensure that the communities where the members live are protected and assisted. They now have over 630 members, 99% of them are women.   BANIG would like to brand themselves, differentiating themselves from their competition.


Terms and Conditions


Cuso International terms and conditions allow you to lead a modest and healthy lifestyle while being effective in your placement. This support package will cover basic living expenses for one volunteer and is not intended to cover home-based expenses (ex. loans, support payments, etc.) or luxury items such as imported items in placement or international personal travel.


Support Package

- Modest monthly living allowance (varies depending country)

- Accommodation while in placement

- Return airfare and visa/work permit costs

- Cost of required vaccinations, antimalarial medication and health insurance

- Pre-departure training and in-country orientation

- Travel and accommodation for reintegration debriefing weekend

- Modest support for accompanying partners and dependents going on placement with you for 12 months or longer (Return flight, emergency medical insurance, vaccinations)

- Access to Employee Assistance Program while in placement and upon return

- Travel and accommodation for the five-day pre-departure training course and for in-country orientation

- Bonus: Additional return flight home or cash in lieu after 12 months of service for volunteers who extend for another 6 months



We ask each volunteer, regardless of placement length, to raise $2,000. All volunteers receive support from Cuso International to help achieve the goal through fundraising. If the volunteer chooses not to fundraise or is unable to achieve the fundraising goal, he/she can make a one-time donation or become a monthly donor to support our work.



Depending on the nature of the placement, volunteers are encouraged to provide e-volunteering support to the local partner or to Cuso International before or after their field placement. Volunteers can also request e-volunteer support to help them with their work, or any other partner-requested task while they are in placement.


Residency and Citizenship  



The majority of Cuso International volunteer applicants are residing in Canada at the time of application and during the pre-departure process. Occasionally we received applications from volunteer applicants who are residing outside of Canada at the time of application. In both instances, between your application date and placement start date, we must be able to contact you and you must be able to contact us easily and promptly throughout the process.

We may require your passport and would need to be aware of your current place of residence and any travel plans you may have during this time. You will also require unrestricted access to Canada during this time for training, as applicable.



Leaving your country of residence can have significant effects on your citizenship status in that country. It is your responsibility to research the consequences of travelling to Canada during the pre-departure process if you are living outside of Canada and of leaving your country of residence for a placement with the immigration authority where you live.

By applying to this placement, you accept full responsibility for any consequences related to your citizenship, residency and immigration status or penalties as a result of travel to pre-departure training, an international placement or other Cuso International related travel.

You  must  check the implications that apply to you, but examples include:

- Canadian permanent residents may need to make arrangements with immigration authorities before travelling. These arrangements allow them to travel without risk to their status in Canada. Without them, residency status may be withdrawn.

- Citizens of other countries, including those visiting Canada on a visa, may have travel restrictions.


Hear from our Volunteers


Working with the Cuso International in country staff has been a pleasure. I have found that they are very supportive and accommodating, providing much needed guidance on meeting the challenges of work life here in the Philippines. Day to day life in the Philippines I feel is safe. So long as you pay attention to your surroundings and don’t go into areas that your presence would draw unwanted attention, I don’t feel you would encounter problems. Each day you face new challenges, but they pertain to learning how to adapt and adopt to a way of life that in some ways is unfamiliar.

 - Christopher Olsen,

Knowledge Management and Learning Advisor


I like sharing my skills, talents and expertise with Trias Southeast Asia through the position they assigned to me which is a Curriculum Development and Training Specialist. I feel satisfied and accomplished at knowing that I am able to build capacity building to target beneficiaries of Trias now. It is very fulfilling, satisfying, enjoyable and most of all gaining experiences of a lifetime which no amount of money earned can buy.

- Leonida Tuazon,

Curriculum Development and Training Specialist