"Kujenga" is a Swahili word that means to construct, to build, or to create.
We are an organization invested in promoting resilience through research and design in rural and underserved contexts.
We leverage the power of our network to partner with communities and organizations who are seeking to engage design in development work. In parallel, we seek to thoroughly document the process and results of this work in order to publish, exhibit, and otherwise share our knowledge with the larger design community, contributing diversity to narratives of how design can engage with the world.
We work through several intersecting avenues:
Praxis: Engaging stakeholders in design and development projects that engender physical, economic and social resilience in rural and underserved contexts. These projects are carried out in collaboration with community members and local organizations.
Exchange: Creating opportunities in these projects for cross-cultural dialogue and education with the engagement of local and international students and young professionals, through a fellowship program and other educational initiatives.
Disciplinary Dialogue: Through education, publishing and other means, critically reflecting on the process and results of this work in the context of a broader design community - academic and practice-based - in an effort to contribute diversity to the predominant narrative of how designers could or should engage with the world. This includes documenting, researching, and critically considering rural and traditional ways of life, including those that are rapidly shifting; alternative forms of modernity; and engagement in processes of social, economic and cultural exchange.
The Kujenga Collaborative seeks to remain flexible with respect to the types of projects we work on, and we do not limit ourselves to architectural design or engineering. In order to ensure that projects are rooted in local expertise, we always seek to engage with communities in partnership with local organizations. It is our priority to explore and experiment with alternative modes for critical local engagement.