Community-based Participatory Design Project
In the summer of 2010, I was commissioned by BLOC Creative Technology Wales to instigate a participatory design project working with students at the Kwale Girls School of Homeopathy in rural Kenya.
Over two weeks, I facilitated a Human Centered Design project that aimed to empower participants to utilise design methods as a means for innovative problem solving.
An archive project blog can be viewed here: http://diykenya.wordpress.com/
The students were organised into five working groups and each group identified and then re-interpreted community problems as ‘Design Challenges’. Through a programme of community engagement activities, creative workshops and collaboration with local makers, the students generated design proposals and prototypes.
The design solutions were developed to each be appropriated from locally-sourced, commonly-available materials and freely distributed through open-source channels.
The ‘DIY Kenya’ project was later exhibited at Maker Faire Africa at the University of Nairobi where I was accompanied by a selection of Kwale students. This experience afforded greater exposure of the student’s proposals and allowed us to share ideas with like-minds and explore avenues for further development.
The DIY Kenya Commission represents, for me, my somewhat humble beginnings in cross-cultural collaboration and humanitarian design effort, but a profound step-change in my ambitions as a designer. The project allowed me a deeper insight into the interconnected globalised world with it’s complex and subtle cultures. I now hope to focus my work towards developing pragmatic solutions through sustainable engineering practice and to be an advocate for design as a tool for positive social change.
I contributed a little and learned a lot.
Here are the five project outcomes (click link to view .pdf)
For more information, visit the project blog page: diykenya.wordpress.com
Bloc: Creative Technology Wales : bloc.org.uk
Maker Faire : makerfaireafrica.com
Kwale Homeopathic College and Health Centre : 4kenia.nl
Hman Centered Design Toolkit by IDEO : ideo.com