First off for people who don't know me my name is Charles Williams and I am excited to be a part of “The Uganda Project”. In a few weeks we hope to come up with a formal name and logo for our group
It is hard to believe we are already two weeks into the project. We had the opportunity last week to meet with Navine from CanUgan on September 13, 2013. CanUgan is the NGO we partnered up with to help people with disabilities in Kasese Uganda. It is important to note we are not only looking at mobile disabilities, but any disability at all.
There are key areas Navine told us that are areas of need currently in Kasese. He stressed the importance of economic empowerment. The designs we create should included some way or directly or indirectly create income for the end user.
The current areas of need that stood out from the meeting were the following.
1. Tricycle with gears
2. A need to create employment opportunities
3. A store front to sell local goods
4. Rehab services
5. Better washrooms
He also mentioned the majority of people there would consider their selves a farmer.
We had the opportunity to attend a presentation by our instructor Bjarki Hallgrimsson on September 18th 2013 about last years project with CanUgan partnered with the Industrial Design program at Carleton University. Myself being apart of the second group at Carleton University to work on CanUgan's vision to help people with disabilities in Kasese we are able to learn what worked and what didn't with the first groups projects.
I have learned so far that we cannot look at this project as an aid project. We have to co-create with people in Africa to make our projects accepted and functional for the people of Kasese. For example if we were to send over 100 tricycles with no way of repairing or fixing them locally the moment one breaks down there is no proper way to fix it. Currently one of the biggest issues in many countries of Africa is poverty. This is in part for lack of jobs available and access to education.
There were a few people who attended this presentation who gave good insight to what some parts of Africa face.
1.The projects we will be working on cannot be implemented in Kasese without outside funding.
2. It can be sometimes a grey area on whether someone is disabled or not especially when dealing with disabilities that are not mobility related.
Through personal research and the meetings I attended I have already discovered that my project has to incorporate economic empowerment. In order to achieve this my project has to be economically viable in other places and not just Kasese. If I were to focus on just the needs of Kasese it would be hard to create any significant source of income generation.
One area I want to invest significant time into is agriculture related designs. I have a hunch that very little in terms of large scale is done to produce crops for villages that hardly have enough money to eat. In part because of the bad soil conditions and water supply in these areas. I have not limited myself to this area, but I feel agriculture is not only a way to get a source of food, but also a way to make income.
Anyone reading this blog who has questions, input or any comments directed specifically towards my project I would love to hear from you. Simply send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will be posting weekly updates of the journey of this project.