DwB Design Fellowship.

The Annual DwB Design Fellowship is a part-time 6 month training program that invites aspiring designers to gain skills in core theoretical and practical principles of product and service design with a strong influence from Human Centered Design methods applied by the Design without Borders Africa for close to 20 years.

Driven by the conviction that design and designers can contribute to improving lives of people in low and middle-income countries and areas of crisis, DwB believes that it is important to prioritise the training of designers in Africa who will play a key role in building the continent.

 As such, the mission of the DwB Design Fellowship is to nurture capacity among  indegenous designers across Africa to analyse their context and develop sustainable solutions to complex challenges faced on the continent.

The vision of the design fellowship is an African design and innovation industry driven by professional designers who are aware of the complex challenges faced by their context and are fuelled by the  desire to develop solutions that align sustainably with the values of the communities affected. 

for change.

Design Without Borders Africa launched the inaugural Design Fellowship for aspiring design change makers in Africa with Cohort 1 in 2019. The three month fellowship, themed “Design for Change,” offered design thinking training by leveraging designers and giving them a platform to problem solve for local social context with the mentorship of senior inhouse DwB designers.


With the shortage of designers on the continent that directly apply human centered design to their problem solving process, there is a critical need for more problem solvers on the continent equipped with the skills and training required to create products that are relevant to the end users in the community.

Our Goal.

The DwB Africa Design fellowship seeks to create and expand a local pool of design professionals that are equipped with the necessary foundations required to create change and impact in the community using human centered design principles across product, industrial, service and systems design.

The Curriculum.


The curriculum runs over 3-4 months and is split into major projects that aim to expose the participants to a wide array of design disciplines and processes. Participants engage in all stages of

 the design process and have the chance to showcase their design prowess in various disciplines, as well as deepen their understanding of Human-Centered Design (HCD), aesthetics, design history, ergonomics, and production methods to name a few.

Built around conditions unique to the African context, this unit will aim to create awareness of how everyday social, cultural, political factors in Africa affect design and the design process.

Topics: History, Economics, Politics, Culture, Religion

Build an understanding of ordinary users of products and services and the parmeters that define for them what true value is.

Topics: User research, User profiling, User testing, User/Journey mapping

What guides the form and composition of objects and the structure of everyday services. This unit will aim to transfer core practical skills in the fields product and service design.

Topics: Creating value, Innovation process, Organisation & Structure, Strategy, Tools

Beyond the ‘napkin sketch’ of the principle/star designer, design has evolved into an interative creative process involving stakeholders and professionals.

Topics: Research, Ideation, Conceptualisation, Prototyping, Testing, Collaborating in design

What guides the form and composition of objects and the structure of everyday services. This unit will aim to transfer core practical skills in the fields product and service design.

Topics: Sketching, Prototyping, Ergonomics, Material Science, Production Technology,
CAD, Giga mapping, User experiences, Journey Mapping, Systems Thinking, Digital
product design

Fellows will analyse East Africa’s growing design industry, the opportunities and challenges that exist as well as the professional and ethical standard required to bolster design practice in the region.

Topics: Design Industry, Project Management, Workplace Tools, Design Ethics


The knowledge exchange at the DwB Design Fellowship was on a massive scale. Even as a designer and maker I still learnt a lot from the other fellows and from the DwB team

Silas Byakutaga, 2019 Cohort fellow