This week I will be heading back to Africa with friend, photographer, and filmmaker Brian MacDonald from Wonderkind Studios. We will be traveling to Nariobi, Kenya, and South Sudan to record, document, and interview the people being served by Life In Abundance.
Our main push for going is to get acquainted with the reality and culture of our world’s newest country, South Sudan. LIA is planning to focus on that region in the coming years, and there are many things we want to help them with – including our next documentary collaboration slated for sometime in 2013. Like with most creative projects, understanding the reality of the situation is key. Whether it’s watching a product demo, listening to a mock sales pitch, or trying a new product, “seeing” is key.
An additional part of our time there will be spent collecting stories from the South Sudanese so we can put together a fund-raising book that will help tell the story, raise awareness, and help finance even further work being done there. Please consider supporting our Kickstarter for that project, and please help spread the word.
While in Kenya, we will be visiting the micro-finance shoe project we helped start with LIA called Konjo. This project helps train locals in the variety of skills needed to make shoes that they can then sell. The shoe sales help finance the program, empower learning, and create a sustainable occupation for the Kenyans. These shoes, BTW, should be available for purchase in the US by mid- to late summer.
And finally, Rule29 has been collaborating with the graduate design program at Kent State University to create info graphics to be used in the slums of Kenya and South Sudan. The goal was to create better tools for communicating major health symptoms and medicine dosages. We will be taking the prototypes developed by the students with us so we can do some field-testing.
Everyone involved is excited for these opportunities. I’m hopeful about the results of the desired outcomes and grateful to be working on design for good. But what I’m most preparing for is the reality – the reality of a world so different than my own. More importantly, I want to spend my time learning and “seeing” so we can tell their story in a way that honors them. It’s their perspective, not ours. That’s what truly matters.\
*The book shown above is a prototype/concept only.