Monday, March 7, 2016

Creative Capacity Building

Hi everybody.

I was up to my eyeballs in grant applications last week, so instead of blogging about that, why don’t I describe what we’d do with some that money...

Twende runs trainings for all kinds of people around the Arusha region of Tanzania. Sometimes we invite people into the workshop, and sometimes we take the workshop to them. Our central training is "Creative Capacity Building (CCB)", a method developed at MIT D-Lab and taught at IDIN workshops and summits around the world ( The specifics of the training get adapted for the location and participants, but the fundamental idea is the same: teaching people the skills they need to design and build technologies that fill unmet needs in their own lives. Over the course of the program, participants learn to use tools, identify challenges in their lives that can be met with technologies, then design and build technologies to meet those challenges.

Here are some examples of innovations that came out of past CCBs:

A group of farmers made this beehive out of materials that are cheap and easy to find in their village.

A woman who makes and sells a bunch of different handcrafts designed this punch to make leather keychains.

 Students from a girls' education organization prototyped a vegetable cutter to cut down on time they spend cooking.

 Students from a local school made a hand-crank maize sheller.


I’m working on adapting CCB training and other Twende curricula to be relevant and useful to specific audiences like small business owners or secondary school girls. Hopefully in a few months, we'll have grant funding for more programs.

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