What Design Can Do is partnering with IKEA Foundation on a global design challenge aimed at improving the lives of refugee families in urban areas. Designers, artists and imaginative trouble-shooters from all countries and disciplines are invited to take part. This was made public today at What Design Can Do São Paulo.

The challenge will launch in early 2016 and conclude with the awarding of funds for the further development of the winning ideas. This initiative is supported by UNHCR InnovationDOEN Foundation and The Art of Impact.

Entitled What Design Can Do for Refugees, the challenge will engage creatives and foster collaboration with refugees to identify problems, come up with responses and test solutions, which could be services, products and/or technologies. After an open call and a round of feedback from the public, an international jury of experts will select five ideas for development into feasible plans ready for implementation.

A global challenge too big for governments and NGOs alone

The images of refugees attempting to reach the shores of Europe in search of safety and a better future have touched the world. Similar harrowing scenes take place elsewhere and force us to take action. However, a willingness to help is tempered by concern about the impact of mass immigration. Over half the world’s 60 million refugees and displaced people live in urban areas, and that figure is set to rise. Lasting solutions are needed for problems in housing, healthcare, education and many other areas.

These challenges are too complex for governments and humanitarian organizations alone. We need bold, innovative solutions. What can designers and other creatives do? This is the central question behind the global challenge entitled: What Design Can Do for Refugees. And this is why UNHCR, IKEA Foundation and What Design Can Do not only pool their expertise and resources together, but also call on the global creative community to make a difference.

Before the official launch in early 2016, participants can preregister via: whatdesigncando.com/challenge

What Design Can Do

Launched in 2011, What Design Can Do (WDCD) is an annual international design conference on the impact of design. By showcasing best practices, organizing discussions and fostering collaboration, What Design Can Do raises awareness among professionals and the public of the potential of creativity. WDCD also calls on designers to take responsibility and consider how their work can benefit society. Since its launch, WDCD has hosted five very successful conferences in Amsterdam, and on 7 and 8 December 2015 hosts its first conference abroad, in São Paulo.

IKEA Foundation & UNHCR Partnership

The IKEA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youths in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. It works with strong strategic partners, applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results.
Since 2010, IKEA Foundation has partnered with UNHCR to help create better lives for thousands of refugee families and children in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In 2015,  UNHCR, IKEA Foundation and BetterShelter.org launched the so-called ‘Flat-Pack Refugee Shelter’, a safer, more durable emergency shelter for refugee families, which has received much attention for its innovative design.
Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and: innovation.unhcr.org

Top image: Refugees arriving at train station in Hungary (photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published.