In the summer of 2021, the Design Networking Hub was launched. The aim was to create a knowledge and networking platform for designers, architects and creative professionals to support international cooperation projects in the field of design and architecture.
In order to make the content of this platform as user-oriented as possible, a pilot group of ten young designers and architects from Germany and Kenya was selected to work in teams through the entire process of bilateral cooperation. In the fields of mobility, housing and digitalisation, they set up and implemented three cooperation projects for the German or Kenyan market.
The special cultural and economic requirements of the two countries have initiated unconventional creative processes, provided surprising twists and turns and produced some solutions that could hardly have been foreseen in advance.
In the following, we present team »Mobility«’s project result.
KAZUJU is not only a combination of the Kenyan words KAZI (meaning work) and UJUZI (meaning skill), but also the title of the project by team »Mobility«.
At the beginning, the two German designers Timm Donke and Marvin Kasper and Kenyan architect George Wekesa came to a simple but no less enlightening realisation: mobility can mean more than physical mobility.
Regarding the actual needs of both countries, the mind maps of the creative trio were filled with keywords such as virtual mobility or long-distance exchange.
In fact, one of the most urgent problems that connected the two countries was the respective situation on the labour market: While Germany has an increasing shortage of skilled workers, the low number of apprenticeships in Kenya leads to high youth unemployment.
For an efficient solution to be found in this case, it would not be the people who would have to be mobile, but the economic prerequisite for work. With this in mind, the idea of an innovative craft training concept based on an intercultural exchange of skills between Kenya and Germany was born.
KAZUJU was intended as a virtual learning platform that could offer digital training programmes with certified degrees.
Such an internet presence would enable both students and trainers from both countries to produce sustainable products in intercultural exchange through newly acquired professional skills.
To put KAZUJU into practice efficiently, Wekesa, Donke and Kasper initially concentrated on an industry with which all three are somewhat familiar: furniture production.
Currently, the three initiators are looking for potential supporters and partners from both countries in order to be able to offer KAZUJU as an effective new opportunity for both labour markets.
The final presentation of KAZUJU was recorded at the »Ideas Crossing Borders« conference in Berlin on 15 November 2022. Watch the recorded livestream of all three teams of the Design Networking Hub pilot group and more interesting speakers.
As part of the Design Networking Hub, a pilot group of five German and five Kenyan designers and architects has been selected with the intention of maximizing the user orientation of the information provided by the platform. During a project phase of about one year, the members have been working in small bilateral teams and jointly developing new product and business ideas or not-for-profit concepts in the fields of housing, social design and technology. A detailed overview of the selected participants can be found here.