Design 2 Transform Initiative

This article initially appeared at Medium by Nelson Kwaje as Design 2 Transform, Reflections on our Journey and has been republished here with the author’s permission.

Giving is one of the best investments you can make towards achieving genuine happiness. Don’t take my word for it—try it out for yourself. True giving comes from the heart, with no expectation of reciprocation. I am a beneficiary of providing my graphic design services to Design 2 Transform.

Read more Giving Away Free Brand Identity Benefited whole Community

Design to Transform is an initiative that aims at transforming communities through the use of digital technology. It exists to transfer knowledge, build capacity and equip local talent.

Design

To design is to “decide upon the look and functioning of something “ or to architecture things. This first bit of the name refers to the creative talent and skills we possess. Its community is full of people who are creators, people with good imagination and the ability to model and shape objects and resources around them to make meaning. In this sense, we are a community of creators and makers.

Transform

To transform is to “make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of something ”

Here you have it, the second part of our name is all about making a difference in our society, country and the continent “I mean Africa”.

Whatever we do must have a positive impact in our society, we constantly engage our creative imagination and use new techniques to solve old and new problems by leveraging the power of technology.

How it Started

At its inception, D2T started with the goal of “Developing websites for CBOs to help in increasing their visibility online ”, see Nelson Kwaje and Stephen Machua explain this in an interview with Ebru Africa TV.

Events

A Hackathon in Nairobi (30th Jan, 2016 )

Pauline Mwangi (a D2T mentor ) Explaining web design concepts to one of the groups. http://paulinemwangi.com/

This was the inaugural event. We managed to build six websites. All of them were children’s homes. See the reporthere

Hackathon in Nairobi ( 19th March, 2016)

Participants pose for a group photo after the Hackathon.

This was our second event we built nine websites. This event coincided with the international women’s day and most of the community-based organization websites we built focused on women empowerment. The main partner for this event was LIVELUVO. See more infohereandhere

Training & a Hackathon in Mombasa (20–21st May 2016)

KevinBarassa(a D2T Trainer ) demonstrating some practical concept of web programming to a group of girls during the Mombasatraining.

We were invited by SwahiliPot Hub to help with training and building websites. We built six websites. And trained 30 + participants on web development, social media management, and digital storytelling.

See full reporthere

Training & a Hackathon in Mombasa (8–10th September 2016)

D2T trainingteam, from left Dan King’ori, William Wanyama, Dorcas Adhiambo, Waithira Kunene, Stephen Machua and Nelson Kwaje(in front)

In partnership with SwahiliPot and the SEACOM we had a three-day event Which included training for two days and on the third we built eight websites for CBOs located in Mombasa. See Magdalene Kamu (Director of SwahiliPot ) explaining the event inthisvideo

This training covered subjects such as blogging, social media, web programming, and building websites using CMSs

A Bootcamp in South Sudan (24th-28th October 2016)

A participant explaining some Mobile Applications concepts to hisclassmates during the five days boot camp in South Sudan

In partnership with UNESCO YouthMobile Project and UNDP South Sudan, we held a 5 days boot camp in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan.

The students went through a hands-on training on mobile App development. This included lessons on User Experience design (UX), an Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming with Java, and the basics of Android Studio.

The training also resulted in the development of a mobile App that promotes teaches peace and promotes peaceful coexistence in South Sudan. http://thepeaceapp.org/

See the full report here

African Summit on Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ASENTI).

We partnered with ASENTI to present to entrepreneurs on how to use technology to empower local communities.

Great people

D2T team, an amazing selfie on the beach during our first Mombasa trip in May 2016 . from Left Nelson Kwaje, Percilla Njira, William Wanyama, Dan King’ori and Tabitha Mwai (in front )

The community is comprised of people. When you set out to help the community that’s when you discover how the number of people who are just out there waiting to help it with you. At all our events people gave their time to help the D2T vision come to fruition. We had graphic designers, programmers, events organizers, website designers and writers.Not only did we benefit but also our volunteers learned new skills during the events.

We were given space by iHub with no reservations. All we had to do is request them early and pick a day that worked for them. We even got UX lab trainers at our second event.

Our organizers were and have always been friends who volunteered their time and talent to help the events become a success.

Funding

The first event was self-funded. That is the general term used but in reality, we were so broke one day before the event and did not know what to do, we had to borrow money for one of our colleague’s mum, she gave us 10000 Ksh(100 USD)which was enough to pay for food and snacks. The venue was provided by the iHUB free of charge.

You can achieve so much if you put your mind to it. Somehow we managed to make do.

In our subsequent events, we partnered with organizations who had interests in helping the community grow. They include; LIVELUVO, Kenic, SwahiliPot, SEACOM, UNDP, UNESCO, YALI Nairobi and many others, refer to our event publicity to see the full list.

The gains and growth of D2T

  • We gained enormous experience in organizing events and coordination of activities, in fact, we got so good that we compiled a 13-page guide for organizing our events.
  • The D2T brand grew big very fast, this gave us the ability partner with “big” organizations easily.
  • We had some of the most committed and talented people work with us, this helped us deliver professional work to our partners and beneficiaries.

The shortcomings of D2T

Reading this report you would think everything went hanky dory in 2016. It didn’t and we have experienced a number of challenges that we are trying to work on

Challenges

  • Lack of a sustainable model to connect with the beneficiary Organizations after the Hackathon.
  • Keeping the conversation (thus members supporting the community) going after the Hackathon- for the participants and CBOs
  • Skills development after the Hackathon. The participants learn skills in the Hackathon that need to be developed beyond the event.
  • Lack of accurate metrics for measuring impact.
  • some of the CBOs we worked with had very high expectations that we were not able to meet.
  • Most of our trainers are unpaid volunteers, this makes it hard for us to maintain them in such a competitive market and even more harder for them to earn a living.

Where we are heading next

We are launching a D2T Academy that will focus on providing high-quality ICT training with the aim of bridging the skills gap in the African continent and increasing digital literacy among our population….

Thanks and appreciation to everyone who has helped us reach this far.

See more photoshere

D2T team with Magdalene Kamau (in the middle ), the director of SwahiliPot Hub and our host in Mombasa.

Nelson J Kwaje

@nelsonjkwaje / [email protected]

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Showing 3 comments
  • lufolio
    Reply

    Reading this article, I came to know, What is Design and Transform.The post was to much informative and helpful for me, as i am learning Designing.

  • Simpauls
    Reply

    I am glad. It is my pleasure to offer what I find important and need to be shared out. Sure to check back for more on my next project.

  • Reply

    I Wish if i could attend the training and event then i came to gather huge knowledge. I am greatly missed the training.
    Thanks Simpauls

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