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Alleviating poverty ~ through the eyes of designers

It is a known fact that good design can bridge aesthetics and functionality, and act as a communication conduit  between cultures. Design In Kind, is one such organization, a collaborative network of designers who want to change the world.

Their work is best explained through some of their projects, to understand how sustainable design addresses a cultural issue.

Project: UN Millennium Village Project – HEALTH
Client: Earth Institute

Project Goal: To create tools to train and support a new strata of local health care workers in 72 villages in Africa and Asia. These health care workers will be trained and equipped to perform 70% of necessary services through household visits – shown to be the most effective means for reducing infant mortality. This project will significantly increase the number of healthcare providers, allow for doctors and nurses to focus on more complex problems and bring life saving services to over 500,000 people in the next two years.

Design in Kind conducted an interesting project in Uganda. They developed a set of training tools for community health care workers in Uganda who were being trained to perform household visits.

We designed illustrated cards for health care workers, to serve as cheat sheets that trigger their memory on the field. The nutritional cards, for example, were designed for different groups of the household, i.e., one for adult male, one for pregnant female, one for child, etc., each outlining the dietary needs of said group.

We ended up having to redesign the cards, because we found that culturally, the men of the household always insisted that their own dietary needs would be the family norm in a food scarce society, making the other cards obsolete.

Addressing these cultural and socio-economic design problems makes you examine your own global preconceptions.

Inspiration: The Uniform Project

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