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Co-design for human centered NBS in Mukuru informal settlement, Nairobi

By Barbara Mukiri

Co-design entails actively involving stakeholders in the process of designing. It mainly emphasizes on designing with and not designing for.

The NBS concepts strongly advocate for the inclusion of a range of actors and stakeholders in the decision making; this is so as to enable designs that incorporate community’s needs, demands and priorities in the restoration of the modified ecosystem.

In the past 3 months we, KDI, were able to apply a co-design process in Mukuru under R-U-NBS project through a number of workshops. The workshops had various activity objectives as listed below;

  • Generating understanding with wider community of Mukuru on Nature based Solutions and narrowing down specific NBS in regards to relevance to Mukuru context and waste water challenges highlighted.

  • Identifying waste water related challenges with the community.

  • Developing scenario planning and visioning with the community.

  • Presentation of NBS design examples, those suitable to Mukuru and discussing with participants on implications of different NBS /functions/maintenance

  • Prioritization of the NBS using matrix and later conducting voting for community to select most preferred solution so as to inform order of preference during design.

Through these co-design objectives which generated various activities we achieved inclusive participation in design development, social learning and raising awareness. Each workshop acted as a “workspace” where KDI facilitators/ experts offered guidance and enabled discussions with the community members rather than lecturing them. In all the workshops, we had community members actively participating and we noted a very positive reaction towards the project by the community as they felt fully engaged in every stage.

Indeed co-design is a powerful approach to a human centered NBS.
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