We’re thrilled to share that Design Network Africa won the 2014 Africa Design Award at the prestigious New York Forum Africa.

Design Network Africa links highly respected designers from East, West and Southern Africa who have been selected for their diverse voices, sophisticated and original product and unique global identities and who represent the vibrancy and distinctive expression of a new African identity.

As members of the network, we have had the opportunity to meet amazing fellow designers from across the continent and the world. We’ve posted about our adventures so far and about some of our peers, including Sabahar. Today, we wanted to put the spotlight on more members from our DNA family.

But first, we’d like to express our thanks to The Danish Centre for Culture and Development (CKU) for initiating the programme and to Trevyn and Julian McGowan of SOURCE for coordinating it.

We’re so proud of the recent achievements by our peers:

Hamed Ouattara from Burkina Faso won second prize at the Forum at the New York Forum Africa.

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Furniture by Hamed Design Chairs

Furniture by Hamed Design Sideboard

[I ordered the amazing table Hamed is sitting on in the picture above. It’s already on it’s way to Uganda and I cannot wait!]

Babacar Niang M’Bodj from Senegal took second place in the Coup de Coeur Prize

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Babacar-Niang-Furniture

Below, the work of Cheik Diallo:

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Last but not least, Ronel Jordaan won the prestigious Editors Award at the recent International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York.

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Back to Kakuma

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We’ve now run a few initiatives with residents at Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya. It’s so rewarding to know that they are having a positive impact.

The previous group we worked with, who learned to make bags, now have a customer base in Kakuma, Nairobi and abroad. This income opportunity has had a significant effect for those involved – giving them a means to improve their circumstances and that of their loved ones.

Take the example of Annonciata Mukangarambe from Rwanda, one of the tailors. Thanks to proceeds from the bags she makes, Annonciata managed to send her son to a private primary school in Kakuma town. He passed his national exams and now attends the highly regarded Kenyan High School – Alliance.

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Earlier this year, we collaborated with Australia for UNCHR, on another project, this time training Kakuma residents to make key rings. Initiated by Naomi Steer, the National Director of Australia for UNHCR, the project took place between March 13th and 16th.

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Our Operations Manager, Esther Ngatia, organised the project and Johnson Mutuku, one of our Beaders, ran the training.

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Below: me, Johnson and Naomi with key rings and bag charms made by the Kakuma residents.

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The finished collection was shipped to Australia.

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Thanks for reading. Until next time, ciao!


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