IxDA & Gates Foundation: Student Design Challenge

"Information for Life" is the Student Design Challenge for IxDA's Interaction14 conference.
I entered together with Julie Blitzer, a fellow student at Domus Academy's Master in Interaction Design.

The challange we were presented with was to think how to reach remote populations
by designing ways to improve how, where, and when this record is distributed,
accessed and used in order to make it a more effective tool for health information
and education throughout childhood.

To read more on the challenge visit interaction14

Over six million children under the age of 5 died in 2013;
more than half of these deaths could have been prevented with existing interventions.
The global public health community could save millions of lives in the coming years by
gaining the trust of families and informing them about how to access effective interventions.
But, health organizations remain challenged by how to reach remote populations
with life-saving health information when these children or their parents
do not speak their country’s national language or cannot read.



During the 72 hours that we had for the challange, we explored existing solutions in this space,
both for developing rural areas and digital tools available in more developed nations.
We believe inspiration can be found when looking at analog communication and documentation systems
in other sectors, such as pill organizers and the wall charts used to measure child growth worldwide.

Journey Map and Empathising

We learned from experts about different situations, ways of living,
culture and heared stories so that we can understand our potential users better.


After exploring and understanding the problem, we came up
with the following criteria for the new health record and its service model:

  1. durable

  2. Analog and digital

  3. Permanent in the home, but portable for visiting health providers

  4. Communicate using visual graphic language and text

  5. A visual reminder or calendaring system for upcoming vaccination appointments

Grow with Kirikou is a service system that uses tradition to make modern medicine more accessible.
Many children in developing areas are not immunized because modern medicine appears to be at odds
with local customs and influencers like traditional healers.

The kit holds health records for all of a family's children and includes a card set used
to teach best practices for neonatal care and remind caregivers when to return
to health providers for additional immunizations.
Key cards have tear-off pieces for milestone events that will be given
to a community leader and added to a public visual representation of the life journey. 

Grow with Kirikou is designed for the Bemba tribe in northeastern Zambia.
Kirikou is a widely-known African story about a boy who overcomes obstacles by asking questions.
It also uses the Bemba concept of life, a journey from west to east, were the main deity Lesa resides in the sky.

Grow with Kirikou could be adapted for any region if the key traditional elements are updated to reflect local customs:

Storytelling mascot


Community leader


Home keepsake


Life metaphor


We created a paper prototype and since we didn’t have access to our potential users,
tested the concept on the different confrence attendees and experts.

End Result

We presented our solution to a jury, and won the 2nd place.

“The idea could be cost-effectively prototyped
and tested on the ground in several contexts.”

Skye Gilbert, Program Officer for Vaccine Delivery at the Gates Foundation

This is our final presentation, given on stage at IxDA's Interaction14 conference:

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