- Teaching Fields Seminar Courses
- Village Life Outreach Project http://www.villagelifeoutreach.org/
Humanitarianism: Design Thinking Across the Disciplines
UC Honors Seminar Spring 2011, 2013
This honors seminar will investigate the emerging field of Humanitarian Design. Students will combine research into humanitarianism, social responsibility and the principles of design thinking into the development of a project that will benefit a non-profit organization doing work in impoverished communities in rural Tanzania. In spring 2013 we will explore how fields such as engineering, nursing, medicine, education, business, liberal arts, design and more are all critical in the development of effective and inspiring humanitarian design projects. Together, we will explore the social, cultural and technological issues inherent in the field of humanitarian design and work collaboratively to explore projects that could have a positive impact on communities in need. The course includes a required trip to Kenya and Tanzania.
The students will investigate the needs defined by communities in three villages in rural Tanzania through the Cincinnati-based non-profit organization Village Life Outreach Project (www.villagelifeoutreach.org). They have been working in rural Tanzania since 2004 bringing medical outreach, design and engineering solutions and educational initiatives to the region. Groups of 15-35 practitioners, educators and students have traveled to the region on brigades twice per year and several UC students have done 6-month co-ops in engineering and design.
This breath-taking region of Tanzania borders Lake Victoria and includes members of the Luo tribe, well known as a result of President Obama’s family lineage. The members of Village Life Outreach have a long-standing relationship with these communities. These communities have lived in this region for generations with extremely limited access to water and nutrition. There is no power, extremely limited resources as well as no health care available within a 4-hour walk of most members of the community.
The students enrolled in this course will develop proposals for design solutions that will benefit this community. We will work collaboratively with members of Village Life Outreach to define areas where each student’s disciplinary knowledge can be put to work. Once proposals have been defined, we will define design proposals that will can be explored and tested on-site in Tanzania during the June 2013 Brigade. We will travel with Village Life Outreach Project during the spring semester spring quarter. We will spend a week on-site and two days on safari en route to Nairobi, Kenya.
There are several required readings for this class. You can get these from the library, purchase in print or digital, or share these amongst yourselves. I will also post additional readings on-line.
- Brown, Tim; Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, Harper Business, 2009.
- Easterly, William; The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, Penguin, 2007.
- Farmer, Paul; A Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader, University of California Press, 2010.
- Farmer, Paul, Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights and the New War on the Poor, University of California Press, 2004.
- Hawken, Paul; Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World, Penguin Press, 2008.
- Kidder, Tracy; Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, Random House, 2004.
- Mortensen, Greg and David Oliver Relin; Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace. . . One School at a Time, Penguin Books, 2007.
- Moyo, Dambisa and Niall Ferguson; Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa, Douglas & McIntyre Ltd, 2010.
- Papanek, Victor; Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change, Academy Chicago Publishers, 2005 (2nd edition).
- Polak, Paul; Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009.
- Schumacher, E. F.; Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered. Hartley & Marks Publishers, 2000 (2nd edition).