Discovery usability analysts Ashnee Gounden and Magdalene Kamau spoke at the 2020 UX South Africa Conference in July about the successes and challenges of a design-thinking mentorship project they launched in 2018 at a high school in Orange Farm.
At the start of 2020, volunteers from Discovery’s user experience and design teams visited the community of Orange Farm in Gauteng, where young people came up with innovative solutions to food security.
These young people had been part of Discovery’s design-thinking mentorship programme at Aha Thuto Secondary School, which Discovery senior usability analyst Ashnee Gounden started in 2018. Two years later, they presented their projects to the Discovery team.
Read more about this exciting initiative:
Discovery usability experts present at UX South Africa conference
In July 2020, Ashnee and fellow usability analyst Magdalene Kamau presented the challenges and successes of their design-thinking mentorship programme at the UX South Africa Conference.
“In 2016, I had a vision of teaching design thinking to students in schools. My mission was to empower the youth to have the skills that are necessary for the fourth industrial revolution – skills such as problem solving, entrepreneurship and creativity,” Ashnee says in the introduction to the video.
You can watch the full video presentation here:
As we are finding new ways of working in the age of COVID-19, technical difficulties will sometimes arise. Please skip the first 30 seconds of the video and from 22:47 to 25:00 to avoid poor sound quality.
Young people put new design-thinking skills to the test
The programme ended with a design-a-garden competition, where teams used their new design-thinking skills to create gardens that filled a need for food and jobs in their community.
“This programme impacted my life so much. I gained a lot of skills,” says former learner Moses Masemola, whose team took second place.
“The problem my community faced was malnutrition. A lot of them are unemployed,” he explains. “But after I went to Discovery and came back, what I had learned impacted not only my life, but also the community as a whole. I was able to interview them and they were able to engage and join me in building two gardens.”
“The gardens are growing,” Moses adds. “We are donating some of the food to orphanages and old-age homes.”
Watch the video about the mentorship programme:
“Working hard can work for you” – Lindi Nhlapo
“We feel very thankful to Discovery for giving us this opportunity,” says Lindi Nhlapo who, with fellow teammate Sibongile Kgarebe, built the best garden and won R5 000 in vouchers.
“With this money, we’re going to do good, because we’re going to invest it in our households [to do more] gardening. What I learned in the process of winning is that working hard can work for you,” she says.
Watch the winning video here:
Learners use their design-thinking skills beyond the competition
What’s next for the Discovery usability analysts who have volunteered for this project?
“A week before the conference, one of the former learners reached out to me asking for help with a project that he started in Orange Farm,” Magdalene explains.
The learner had been part of the design-thinking mentorship programme. Since matriculating, he has decided to create an app to connect job seekers from Orange Farm with work opportunities.
“We’re guiding him through the design-thinking process,” Magdalene says. “He’s now in the empathy phase, where he’s asking people about their challenges of finding work.”
With the impact that COVID-19 has had on travel, the team has not been able to do everything they had planned for 2020. However, they are making new plans to keep teaching digital skills to the people of Orange Farm. Watch this space.
About the Discovery Foundation
Since 2006, the Discovery Foundation has invested over R256 million in grants to support academic medicine through research, development and training medical specialists in South Africa.
The Discovery Foundation is an independent trust with a clear focus – to strengthen the healthcare system – by making sure that more people have access to specialised healthcare services. Each year, the Discovery Foundation gives five different awards to outstanding individual and institutional awardees in the public healthcare sector.
Obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Patricia Sebola initially self-funded her studies, but with her 2019 Discovery Foundation Sub-Specialist Award, she can sub-specialise in maternal and foetal medicine at the University of Pretoria in two years instead of four.
Where do rural women go when they need a pap smear, a mammogram, or suspect they may have breast cancer? In the town of Hoedspruit in Limpopo, they go to the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic, where professional nurse Sonja Botha welcomes them with open arms.
Dr Jithan Koshy, with the support of the Discovery Foundation, has invited two experienced cardiothoracic surgeons to teach cardiac surgeons at the Livingstone Tertiary Hospital and Port Elizabeth General Hospital how to do heart surgery on children.