Children's Designathon Nairobi 2014

By Angela Okune
  Published 16 Dec 2014
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By: Nyambura Mutanyi Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 9.55.59 AM The morning of Saturday, 15th November saw over 15 children troop into the iHub UX Lab for the first global Children’s Designathon. Organised in five cities across the world, it was a chance for children to craft solutions to the problems that affect cities. This event doubled up as the iHub’s Maker Breaker Day in the lead up to our November 2014 edition of the Kids Hacker Camp (KHC). Maker Breaker Day is a pre-requisite for participating in KHC because it offers a chance for the organizers to suss out the children’s interests and group dynamics. It is also a great opportunity to watch children explore their imagination and challenge the adults on hand. At this Maker Breaker Day, the children explored the themes of waste, mobility and food. They imagined new ways of solving the issues that were raised and imagined a wide variety of solutions. The groups then picked two issues - food and mobility - to tackle with Nairobi in mind. Working in groups of 2 and 3, they applied lessons of prototyping from Waza Experience to create prototypes of their solutions. iHub UX Lab’s Abigael and Mark were on hand to apply some of their fantastic skills to the children's experience. Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 9.56.20 AM Some standout pieces included an air purifier, prototyped to suck and purify polluted air spewed by vehicles during traffic jams. The product aimed to make the commute cleaner for both drivers and passengers. It was illuminating to see that the issue for the children wasn’t necessarily the jam, as much as how bad the air quality was during those times. Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 9.59.41 AM Another idea that stood out had to do with food. The children designed a food store to solve the problem of food for the city’s homeless. Featuring fans, and lots of motors, it was to keep food fresh so that there would be enough to feed the city. The Designathon linked children in Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro, Dublin, Berlin, and Amsterdam. The children had a chance to connect with those in other cities. Despite the time difference, it was lots of fun to see all the children hopping in their seats as they waited their turn and waving at each other. With parents and trainers on hand, it felt like a veritable party. The spirit of the Designathon continues with Waza Experience 2015. If you have a child who would love to participate, please fill this form and prepare yourself for something amazing. For more information, feel free to email [email protected].
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