In the summer of 2021, I had the possibility to join the Design Networking Hub as part of a pilot group formed by ten young designers and architects from Kenya and Germany. The Design Networking Hub aims to create a lasting knowledge and networking platform for architects, creatives, and designers to encourage international cooperative projects. Next to informative lectures held by professionals from both countries and several online meetings, the group met up in Nairobi for a kick off workshop.
For our project KAZUJU we focused on a problem that is present in both Kenya and Germany. Both countries struggle with an ongoing shortage of skilled workers as well as a low interest in apprenticeships. KAZUJU is a combination of the Kenyan words KAZI (meaning work) and UJUZI (meaning skill). The intention behind it was to create a virtual learning platform that could offer digital training programmes with certified degrees. We decided to test our idea in the field of furniture production and created a demountable chair prototype. To generate a local connection, we left the freedom of interpretation in relation to the design and execution to the carpenter.
After many interesting months we presented our concept at the “Ideas Crossing Borders" conference in Berlin. For the presentation Wekesa travelled all the way from Kenya with our prototype chair secured in his luggage.
I am very thankful to have been a part of this experience and for all the people I have met in the process.