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3 November 2021

Kick-off meeting of the pilot group in Nairobi


project documentation

by German Design Museum Foundation

An idea takes shape

A very special moment in the design process is always the moment when something that has been shaped in the mind over a long period is finally fleshed out into a concrete project, taking a real, physical form at long last.
Things are moving at last! It’s likely that all the members of the pilot group of the Design Networking Hub had the same thought shortly before the first actual meeting in Kenya at the end of September.
When the young designers and architects Timm Donke, Marvin Kasper, Philip Kohlbecher, Madita Morgenstern-Antao and Hannah Weirich boarded the plane in Frankfurt for the flight to Nairobi, they were accompanied by Julia Kostal and Linda Robens, the two main representatives of the German Design Museum Foundation in the management of the Design Networking Hub.
Just a few hours after take-off, the German party were to meet the Kenyan members of the pilot group – Julita Afande, Betty Mwema, Stephanie Nyairo, William Otuke and George Wekesa – for the first time.
Under the leadership of Michael Muiya of the Design Kenya Society, a workshop with the objective of developing the initial ideas for projects on mobility, housing and digitalisation was to be held for all participants in the days that followed.

Hannah Weirich, William Otuke and Stephanie Nyairo in the workshop.
© Kenneth Kinoti
The German guests were not only very warmly welcomed by their obliging Kenyan hosts but also by tropical temperatures and brilliant sunshine.
The first day of the trip was all about getting to know one another. Guided by the Kenyan participants, the German half of the group explored the Kenya National Archives, the Kenya Railway Museum and the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
After an exhilarating first impression of Nairobi, the second day was devoted to networking and design. Michael Muiya focussed the thoughts of the young designers and architects closely on the typical challenges, problems and needs inherent in the respective country. The participants also looked at different team groupings in their search for initial project ideas.
The German Design Museum Foundation hosted an international networking function in the evening. Guests included representatives of the German Embassy in Kenya, Somalia and the Seychelles as well as from the University of Nairobi, the Design Kenya Society and the Goethe Institute of Kenya.

Michael Muiya (Design Kenya Society), Julia Kostial (German Design Museum Foundation)
Samson Malaki (Design Kenya Society). © Kenneth Kinoti
The second part of the workshop held on the last day of the three-day programme in Nairobi took the form of a final presentation in which specific projects developed by the groups were put forward. All three of the groups used this opportunity to present their introductory ideas and concepts in the fields of mobility, housing and digitalisation.
Thanks to this opportunity to get to know each other in Nairobi, everyone involved gained valuable insights into the work and character of their counterparts, thereby laying the foundation stone for a promising collaboration which from now on would mainly take digital form.
The ideas spawned in Nairobi will be developed further in the next weeks and months, working parties will be finalised and a search conducted for suitable mentors.

Photos from left to right:

1: Hannah Weirich, Stephanie Nyairo, Marvin Kasper, Madita Morgenstern-Antao, George Wekesa, William Otuke, Timm Donke (participants of the pilot group) with Linda Robens and Julia Kostial (German Design Museum Foundation)

2: Shirley Chebet, Prof. Lilac Osanjo (University of Nairobi), George Wekesa, Philip Kohlbecher, Julita Bhagat Afande, Hannah Weirich and William Otuke

3: William Otuke, Marvin Kasper and Japheth Mieti

4: Julita Bhagat Afande and Stephanie Nyairo

5: back row: George Adulu (The Housing Guy / Elkis Communication), Michael Muiya (Design Kenya Society), pilot group members George Wekesa, Timm Donke and Marvin Kasper, Stephen Nderitu (Karakana Initiative), Frederick Buoga (Trade and Fair East Africa), Julia Kostial (German Design Museum Foundation), Javins Odero, Samson Malaki (Design Kenya Society) and pilot group member Philip Kohlbecher

front row: Ursula Koos (German Embassy Nairobi), Susanne Gerhard (Goethe-Institut Nairobi), pilot group members Hannah Weirich and William Otuke, Japheth Mieti, Jackline Gitei, Shirely Chebet, pilot group members Madita Morgenstern-Antao and Stephanie Nyairo, Prof. Lilac Osanjo (University of Nairobi), Linda Robens (German Design Museum Foundation)

6: Participants Madita Morgenstern-Antao and Julita Afande in the workshop
Photos by Kenneth Kinoti

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