Design Challenge 2018

The design challenge has three goals:

  • Provide an opportunity for participants to collaborate in designing solutions for the well-being of people in Africa with special focus on the so far unspoken.
  • Provide opportunity for participants to network and learn new design skills from other HCI researchers and professionals.
  • Advance the field of designing for well-being on the African continent with novel technology concepts.

Design for Wellbeing: Considering the ‘Unspoken’

Health and wellbeing is widely considered a subjective and cultural matter, that extends beyond biomedical health. Local and indigenous communities, even in the West, are often guided by beliefs and traditions that shape perceptions of what it means to be in good physical or mental health. These can be referred to as ‘cultural scripts’; those socialised and habitual factors that determine attitudes and behaviours around aspects of wellbeing. In some cases, these scripts work to the detriment of biomedical health.

For example, some communities in Southern Africa regard the biomedical perspective of reproductive health as being problematic and contradictory. This is given strong religious and conservative views on ‘sex’ as a masculine right (or rite), as a natural act as prescribed by God, and as a deep-rooted norm. Abstinence or contraceptive measures like condoms are regarded as unnatural and foreign; besides being unattractive/impractical as sexual accessories. Multiple (unprotected) partnerships, moreover, are encouraged and accepted; despite the high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. In addition, while medical male circumcision is encouraged to reduce deaths caused by unsafe practices, many understand circumcision to be a rite of passage that must be undertaken in order to become a true ‘man’. These are just some examples of the heterogeneous and complex cultural views that shape behaviours toward health and wellbeing.

In this design challenge, participants will focus on using design thinking to find solutions around well being rooted in ‘unspoken’, subtle and entrenched cultural understandings. Participants can select any topic that has a direct impact on health and wellbeing, for example, mental illness, developmental disorders, sexual and reproductive health, and the like. The task for the participants is to conceptualise and design ‘cultural’ technology solutions that can aid individuals, families and communities to address such complexities in a positive/constructive manner, to encourage open communication around these issues, and to provide a platform for information sharing and treatment options (facilities, experts, resources).

Design Challenge Group Allocation

The design challenge does not require any submission. Participants apply via THIS google form. On the first day of the conference, participants will be informed about the group they belong to for design challenge at the registration desk.

Design Challenge Structure

On the first day of the conference (12h30, 5 December 2018), participants will meet the design challenge mentor team, who will give further instructions. The participants will start working in their assigned groups. The organizing chair will avail a location at the conference venue where teams can meet and talk to mentees who will guide them through the design process. On 7TH December, each team will be given 5 minutes to present their design process and solutions. This session will be open to all AfriCHI attendees and the public. During this session, participants will have the opportunity to give a short presentation on their design solution (10 minutes) followed by questions and answers (5 minutes), which will be evaluated by a panel of judges.

Presentations must include:

  • The design process that was followed.
  • A concise description of the proposed solution
  • Reference to design principles and theory where appropriate
  • Acknowledgment of partial or incomplete solutions

Design Challenge Evaluation Criteria

The team design solutions will be judged based on:

  • Clear communication of the design process
  • Justification/rationale for the solution
  • Craft quality of the solution
  • Originality of the solution
  • Feasibility and relevance of the solution

Prices will be awarded during the AfriCHI closing session on the 7th of December 2018.

We are grateful to IPID and Safaricom for their sponsorship towards the prices.

We are looking forward to seeing you!

Helena Nahum, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia

Christine Wanjiru Mburu, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Email: design[at]