The Kujenga Collaborative is an organization invested in promoting resilience through research and design in rural and underserved contexts.
We explore and experiment with alternative modes for critical local engagement, drawing on a network of design, planning and engineering professionals. We partner with nonprofits to develop projects that increase social and physical resilience in resource-poor environments, and participate actively in the production, dissemination, and exchange of knowledge.
We are designers, builders and urbanists and writers. We believe that we - and any physical projects we facilitate - exist as nodes in a rich network of actors, places, epistemologies and histories, and that we all benefit from mutual, respectful exchange. We seek partners of all types who are motivated to collaboratively create positive change.
In Tanzania, the Kujenga Collaborative works with the Olive Branch for Children, a nonprofit located near Mbeya, Tanzania, to facilitate their mission of support for vulnerable people and communities.
The Kujenga Collaborative works in three streams: facilitating the construction of the buildings that are needed for the Olive Branch's programming (BD), the implementation of skills training programs and the development of infrastructure (CS), and the creation of participatory design outreach initiatives in remote villages (DO). We offer fellowships for young professionals to provide a crucial link between the team on the ground and off-site leadership, as well as partnerships with universities.
In particular, the Kujenga Collaborative is a partner in the Kubuni Center, an entrepreneurship initiative run by the Olive Branch for Children that aims to develop marketable craft and trades skills in rural populations, allowing community members to supplement income currently based on subsistence farming.
BD: Design facilitation
The Kujenga Collaborative provides consulting help for the Olive Branch when they need to construct buildings that further their mission, and helps to develop needed infrastructure.
CS: Skills development
The program develops local skills while assisting in needed projects, and encourages skills exchange between locals and visitors. An on-site wood workshop enables designers, engineers and builders to work together.
DO: Design Outreach
The Kujenga Collaborative is partnering with the villages of the Usangu Flats to engage local communities in the design of public spaces, play-spaces, small structures, or other interventions. These programs aim to use participatory design as a tool for positive community development.
International fellows will provide a critical link between the Tanzanian team and off-site Kujenga members. An initial off-site design phase is followed by a period of at least 3 months in Tanzania, implementing projects and carrying out long-term research and documentation.