HCD in a Quasi-Market: Lessons from a Design Project in Kebri Beyah Refugee Camp, Ethiopia

Year: 2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Kathinka Hasselknippe, Gudrun Reikvam and Brita Fladvad Nielsen
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Department of Product Design, NTNU, Norway
Section: Design Education in Business and Industry
Page(s): 308-313
ISBN: 978-1-904670-56-8


A student design project conducted in a refugee settlement in Eastern Ethiopia during fall 2013 illustrates the challenges of designing appropriate products and systems for the humanitarian market. The presented case study involves the distribution of ethanol stoves within the Kebribeyah refugee camp. The students discover the challenges facing the designer within this humanitarian market. They identify the market as a quasi-market in where the end-user is not the customer and this leads to added parameters being relevant for the design process. There is a gap in applicable methodologies when designing for markets where the purchaser is not the end-user and has no influence on the product selection or feedback and where the opportunities of cooperation are limited due to the nature of humanitarian relief. The aim is that observations from Ethiopia together with existing human centred design theory can advise designers on how to best go about designing for the humanitarian market.

Keywords: Humanitarian design, Ethiopia, design methods, quasi-market


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