AMD Open Architecture Africa Challenge - SIDAREC, Kenya


As proud media sponsors of the AMD Open Architecture Challenge TreeHugger is dedicated to keeping you guys up to date with what's going on with this ground breaking design competition. First of all we want to introduce you to all three community partners that people around the world will be designing for. Due to my involvement with Kallari over the last year, you have already heard quite a lot about this Ecuadorian cocoa and handcraft cooperative. Today we're going to find out more about SIDAREC, which stands for Slums Information Development & Resource Centres, in Kenya.

SIDAREC is a, "Youth development project operating in the slums of Nairobi. The organization aims at tapping and consolidating skills and talents existing among the youths in the community for the common benefit of the slum dwellers... Currently people living on less than a dollar a day in the slums must pay the same rates as those with means to access the internet. The high costs of accessing internet means that many people living in the slums would continue to be out of touch with the rest of the world and poverty will continue stalking them."On the SIDAREC website Project Co-ordinator Lucy Mathai says, "Working with the youth from the slums in Nairobi is a tricky affair... Young people love inclusion... It is evidently a fact that youth within the ages 15-35 years are a resourceful group in terms of their creativity, intelligence and vigor. In this regard therefore, the society is challenged to realize the potential of this energetic group so that they can also participate in the maintenance and sustainability of their respective communities. This is only way that they would feel they are part and parcel of their communities and hence get a sense of belonging."

SIDAREC's proposal for the AMD Challenges tells us that they, "Operate in the slum areas of Pumwani and Mukuru Kwa Njenga. The two slums are about 15km distance from each other and have an estimated combined population of 500,000 people. SIDAREC currently operates a successful technology center and radio station in Pumwani and is seeking to build a similar facility in Mukuru Kwa Njenga. The proposed media lab and library will be used to teach computer skills, including web and graphic design skills; will house recording facilities for the youth radio station; and will offer youth a place to research, play computer games, and study."

The proposed facility will allow SIDAREC to:

• Provide a library for youth in the area
• Allow youth free access to a computer lab for after school activities
• Provide computer training to the community at-large
• Teach graphics and web skills to youth
• Run a small radio recording studio
• Run a low cost internet cafe
• Use the exterior space for informal sports tournaments and other competitions

"In order to become sustainable SIDAREC is looking to equip the center with call-in-services, printing and photocopying services. In addition, they would like an internet cafe for residents as the nearest is 15km away. SIDAREC will charge for this service, which will offset costs of running the after school programs."

The media lab and library will serve a staff of 7 and 250 youth.

If you are interested in submitting designs for SIDAREC'S Media Lab please go to Open Architecture Network to download the full brief. Next week we will introduce you to the third community partner Nyaya Health in Nepal.

:: Open Architecture Network
:: Architecture For Humanity :: AMD 50x15 ::SIDAREC

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