This week has been spent familiarizing myself with the basic topic of the country of Uganda, as well as designing for the third world.
Basic facts about Uganda:
-landlocked country in Eastern Africa
-borders: -Kenya (E)
-capital & largest city: Kampala
-official languages: English & Swahili
-president: Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (Jan 1986- present)
-population: ~35 873 263
-area: 236 040 km2
-currency: Ugandan Shilling
-marked by conflict, most recently a civil war against the Lord's Resistance Army
Basic facts about Kasese, the area we will be visiting:
-located in SW Uganda
-population: 74 300
-close proximity to Lakes George & Edward
-borders the Congo
-originally built around copper mining, currently cobalt mining
-close proximity to the Uganda Railway & the Kasese Airport
-close proximity to the Rwenzori Mountains & Queen Elizabeth National Park
-~350 km from Kampala
-close proximity to Hima Cement Ltd & Kasese Cobalt Company Ltd.
On September 13, we had a visit from Navin Parekh from CanUgan who briefed us on the basic issues going on in Uganda. Brief points:
-CanUgan's start came from Navin volunteering with KADUPEDI (Kasese Distric Union of Persons with Disabilities)
-focus on economic empowerment
-focus on co-design- designing with, not for, the end user
-due to a lack of health care, in addition to a history of conflict, disabilities (often preventable) occur somewhat frequently in Uganda
-vehicles (in the form of locally made tricycles) help to give people with mobility disabilities in Uganda a sense of independence and an ability to earn an income, or attend school
-this helps, not only the individuals, but also the community's attitude towards people with disabilities
-need to continue moving forward to make it easier for the disabled to get around and earn an income
things to keep in mind:
-tools of construction are very basic
-power supply is not constant
-living areas are very small, more time is spent outside than we are used to
-the area is mountainous/ the roads are rough
-public washrooms (pit latrines) are a huge area of concern (dirty, no water supply, crude), especially for the disabled
On September 18 I attended a lecture by our professor Bjarki Hallgrimsson, on his experience with last year's Design for Disability in Uganda project. Brief points:
-Dean Mellway from Carleton's READ initiative connected Carleton's SID with CanUgan
-there are ~5-6 million disabilities in Uganda
-there is a need for a friendly environment surrounding disabilities so everyone has a sense of belonging
-disability on it's own is a design challenge. disability in poverty is 2 challenges in 1.
-disability ≠ inability!
-there are differences in how people care for the disabled between Canada & Uganda
-there are differences in how disabilities are exploited between Canada & Uganda
I read 'Design for the Other 90%' and reviewed the exhibit by the same name. Brief points:
-poor communities comprise 90% of the world but receive the least design attention
-"affordability isn't everything, it's the only thing"
-"think of poor people as customers, instead of recipients of charity"
-"1/2 the world's population lives on >$2/day"
-"the poor generally do not lack time & labour"
-"avoid giveaways, create dignity, not dependence"
-do we compromise aesthetics for low budget design in these circumstances?
On September 19, I attended an Engineers Without Borders seminar where Sal Alajek spoke about his experiences. Brief points:
-1/3 people in sub-Saharan Africa don't have direct access to clean water
-a child dies every 20s from water related illness in sub-Saharan Africa
-68% of people walk 1h+ to retrieve water in sub-Saharan Africa
-providing products/ services that cannot be maintained locally is not the answer
-giving products/ services for free to poverty- stricken areas takes away the opportunity from a local to earn income on that product/ service
-"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them"
I plan to continue to read up about design for the third world, and gain a basic understanding of disability in developing countries.