Kijiji Innovative Sustainable Solutions Design Competition

Land for the Rulegura Center
Land for the Rulegura Center

Kijiji Innovative Sustainable Solutions (K.I.S.S.), in partnership with SMU’s MASD Program, the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity and three universities in Tanzania, has officially launched an architectural design competition for the building of the Rulegura Center.

The primary purpose of the Rulegura Center, which will be located in Kasisa Village in northern Tanzania, will be to provide a place for education and training in sustainable methods and practices in the areas of energy, construction, clean water, agriculture, aquaculture, sanitation and health. The Rulegura Center is at the heart of K.I.S.S.’s mission, to promote sustainable development in rural Tanzania and protect the country’s wildlife and natural resources.  The center will also serve as a community space for gatherings and meetings.

17 teams comprised of 31 students from 3 universities in Tanzania: Ardhi University, University of Dar es Salaam, and Mbeya University of Science and Technology have entered the competition. Each student team will be drafting building plans for the Rulegura Center, which will then be judged by a panel of 4 jurors. Since the building itself will stand as a model for appropriate sustainable design in rural Tanzania, students are highly encouraged to incorporate local materials into their designs as well as ensure energy efficiency and sustainable maintenance.

It was important to Clara Ford, founder of K.I.S.S., to involve local students in crafting the building plans. “It is part of our mission to empower and encourage young folks to be aware that they have the ability to solve problems facing the local community. I hope through this project to inspire self-confidence and self-determination among the young generation in Tanzania,” Ford says.

The community involvement will continue throughout the entire process of building the Rulegura Center, as K.I.S.S. begins the process of educating and training citizens on how to construct efficient, durable, and resilient buildings. Creating sustainable and durable buildings is just 1 of 9 objectives that K.I.S.S. sets out to achieve. Ultimately, Ford’s goals for K.I.S.S. are to reduce cyclical poverty and empower the local people with technical skills to improve their quality of life.

“Our program is designed to source solutions from the people living there on the ground. We understand the local folks are much more aware with problems they face in their daily lives and our role to showcase how these solutions can be implemented effectively for efficiencies and sustainability. For this strategy to succeed it is crucial to involve these folks and the local communities we hope to impact.”

Stay tuned to the Hunt Institute Digest for updates on the Kijiji project and to find out the winning student team of the architectural design competition!

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