Blog, News & Events

IDDS Uganda 2019 Begins

Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Debbie Tien

Greetings from the beautiful Kulika campus in Lutisi, Uganda!

On 22 August, 2019, we started the International Development Design Summit (IDDS) Uganda 2019: Transforming Household Livelihoods, with 28 participants and 18 organizers from 11 countries. During this two-week summit, participants learn about design and entrepreneurship by co-creating a technology and developing business models with community members from Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement.

IDDS organizer Hadijah (Uganda) shows Richard (South Sudan) how to use a charcoal press.

Months before IDDS began, in May 2019, organizers went to Rhino Camp to run a five-day Creative Capacity Building (CCB) workshop with 25 refugees and residents of host communities. This CCB workshop introduced the design cycle and builds creative confidence through hands-on, project-based activities. The CCB participants created a list of challenges they face and formed three teams to design and make their own technology solutions.

Here at IDDS Uganda 2019, we are continuing to develop these three technology solutions, plus three others technologies based on conversations with Rhino Camp refugees. We have a mix of participants and organizers from Rhino Camp and other parts of the world, including a strong contingent of Ugandans and a fellow refugee named Salam, from Syria, who currently lives in Sudan.

A map of where organizers and participants are from. Maybe you just added up the numbers and think there’s a mistake. Well, we have a special guest: the four-year-old son of one of our participants from South Sudan. We thought it was appropriate to include him in our map :)

As has become tradition at IDDS, our participants bring a wealth of diverse experiences and backgrounds, from Richard, a young South Sudanese man who started an electronics hackerspace in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement to Pamela, an MIT/University of Michigan mechanical engineer from Puerto Rico who has been rebuilding her community after hurricane struck disaster in 2017.

A quantitative breakdown of our participants

One of my favorite parts of IDDS is how participants and organizers bring their cultures into the summit, whether during participant presentations, Morning Circle introductions, or evening activities that usually end in dance parties and star gazing. Somehow, IDDS never fails to bring together people who proactively create an open, welcoming environment. As an organizer, I feel so lucky to be part of this experience.

During our orientation survey, participants shared skills they want to share with other participants and organizers.

Right now, we’re deep in the first week of the design cycle, where the six teams are hard at work on the first iteration of their prototypes before we go to Rhino Camp on Friday. For one week, we will live at Rhino Camp to gather feedback to co-create our technologies and develop business models together with more Rhino Camp refugees. More on the projects and team progress in the next post!

Much Love from the Organizers of IDDS Uganda 2019 <3

Photos courtesy of Liz Hunt