DIY Kenya

Summer 2010

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:


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:

Bloc: Creative Technology Wales :

Maker Faire :

Kwale Homeopathic College and Health Centre :

Hman Centered Design Toolkit by IDEO :