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14 March 2023

Design for development

Integrating local knowledge when co-designing development interventions: examples from sub Saharan Africa and India.

Design workshop in Kenya. Photo by Fiona Lambe

Welcome to a brownbag seminar on co-designing solutions to complex social-ecological challenges with marginalized communities.

Tackling our planetary crises requires the integration of different types of knowledge, including local and indigenous knowledge. However, achieving this knowledge integration in practice when designing development interventions is challenging. Design – a work process for developing solutions in a conscious and innovative way based on the context and needs of the user1 – is becoming popular as a human centered, integrative approach for addressing complex social ecological problems. However, how do design tools originating in western contexts function in non-western settings? How can design approaches be used to integrate local knowledge into the design process?

In this seminar, three leading design researchers discuss their work on co-creating solutions to complex environmental, health and wellbeing challenges with local communities in India and sub-Saharan Africa. The session starts with a short introduction to “design”.

The panelists will then discuss their experiences navigating between diverse cultures, values and academic disciplines, and share insights on how to approach transdisciplinary co-design work with marginalized communities.  Following their short presentations there will be a moderated Q&A with the audience.


Introduction and moderation by Dr Fiona Lambe

Designing for and with local knowledge in north-Eastern India to manage the global health challenge of antimicrobial resistance, Prof Alison Prendiville, University of the Arts, London.

Embracing Afrikan design expertise, Prof Mugendi K. M’rithaa, Machakos University, Kenya.

Design for the Base of the Pyramid: guidelines for designing successful systems for and with people in low resource settings, Prof Santosh Jagtap, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati.


March 14, 11:45-13:15


Online Zoom link to be provided

The session will be recorded

Note: please indicate if you plan to attend in person so we can plan accordingly

(1) This definition of design is adapted from SVID, the Foundation  for Swedish Industrial Design,

Registration is closed




From 14 March 2023 at 11:45 to 14 March 2023 at 13:15


Stockholm Environment Institute,Linnégatan 87D and online