Spring Quarter Honors Seminar with Study Tour to Tanzania


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 2011 we will explore how the 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 create and implement projects that will have a positive impact on communities in need. The course culminates in a required trip to Tanzania immediately following spring quarter 2011.

The projects will be designed and implemented in three villages in rural Tanzania through the Cincinnati-based non-profit organization Village Life Outreach (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 your disciplinary knowledge can be put to work. Once proposals have been defined, we will create design solutions that will be implemented on-site in Tanzania during the June 2011 Brigade. We will travel with Village Life Outreach to northern Tanzania immediately following spring quarter. We will spend a week on-site and two days on safari en route to Nairobi, Kenya.

Class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 – 12:20 PM.


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