Getting to grips with Kibera’s challenges

21st March 2017

Last week our education team headed to Nairobi, Kenya to put together the design brief for the 2017/18 Engineering for People Design Challenge.

Our team, together with our partner organisation Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), looked at some of the most pressing issues facing residents in Kibera, and informal settlement in Nairobi.  Students participating in the programme during the 2017/18 academic year will be tasked with identifying and designing appropriate solutions.

Kibera is Kenya’s largest informal settlement, with an estimated 250,000 to 1 million people living in an area of around 2.5 square kilometres (an area the same size as Hyde Park in London!). KDI are working in Kibera, Nairobi to transform previously unusable land into productive public spaces providing water, sanitation and public infrastructure facilities as well as enhancing the social, economic and environmental context for residents.

Working with KDI on this year’s Engineering for People Design Challenge has presented the opportunity for an entirely new urban context for participating students. Increasing urbanisation and population growth will be key issues for engineers working on the African continent for the foreseeable future, Kibera encapsulates these issues being located in Nairobi where the population is expected to double to 6.1m by 2025. It was clear that this was an opportunity to present something relevant and exciting for undergraduate engineers to get to grips with and provide them with something to showcase to future employers.

During the week the education team worked closely with Frank Kirimi, Landscape Design Associate, and Pascal Kipkemboi, Community Associate, to develop the design brief and complete the research needed to develop the resources for participating students. The team focused on several themes ranging from water and sanitation to energy and waste management. All of the information collected will feed into the resources being produced for next years Engineering for People Design Challenge which will be live from June 2017.

To find out more about the Engineering for People Design Challenge head to the website or get in touch.

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