Design Without Borders: Introducing user-centred design to Uganda

Design Without Borders facilitates projects in Uganda using user-centred design.

From the Series

The initiative to create things that are needed when they’re not commercially available is a finely tuned talent present in many if not all developing nations. In Uganda, non-profit foundation Design Without Borders found that the locals were capable of hacking their problems, but the quality of their creations was not the standard that consumers would be willing to pay for.

“There’s a lot of informal manufacturing, small scale and also big scale players but most products will just copy the neighbour or copy what they’ve seen in Kenya,” says the foundation’s Thomas Flygenring. “There’s also an ingenuity in many of the things they develop.”

According to Flygenring, the innovation is born from a need rather than the desire to profit off an original design. “It is on a small, individual scale and not systemised like the design process,” he adds.

Design Without Borders’ aim is to bring the design process to communities in these developing areas, through projects like the creation of an all-purpose tool used in honey farming, or a project called Green Buy Energy - an energy solutions distributor.