EMPOWERING REFUGEE AND HOST-COMMUNITY YOUTH WITH DESIGN THINKING SKILLS FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
DS 88: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE17), Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future, Oslo, Norway, 7 & 8 September 2017
Editor: Berg, Arild; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon; Gulden, Tore; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Pavel, Nenad
Author: Hasselknippe, Kathinka Strand; Flygenring, Thomas; Kirah, Anna
Institution: Design without Borders
Section: Design Education Practice
Design is problem solving; it is the systematic and creative development of products, services to meet people’s needs. In the Human Centred Design approach (HCD), the belief is that the people who face challenges are the ones who hold the key to solving them. Traditional design is generally limited to designing for end-users, HCD is about designing with the people we serve. This project aimed at teaching relevant design thinking methods and processes to community members, empowering them to design for and by themselves. We experienced an evolving from designing with the people we serve to giving the people the skills to be able to design for themselves. Uganda has seen a massive influx of refugees following the outbreak of civil war South Sudan. Despite having a refugee management approach is amongst the most progressive in the world, there is a need for youth empowerment due to dependency of foreign aid combined with a high youth unemployment rate. The Adjumani Design Challenge was a UNDP initiated pilot of a youth design training that spanned three months in late 2016. Youth from South Sudanese refugee settlements and Ugandan host-communities were guided through a complete HCD process focusing on stimulating the mind-set, creativity and confidence necessary to turn challenges into opportunities for change. We discuss the short-term outcomes of this pilot in the perspective of youth empowerment and the potential impact on community development, as well as the possibilities and limitations of traditionalHCD training methods and tools as well as these evolved methods and tools.