The Great Kenya Eco Challenge

A play-based exhibit on sustainable awareness for the Green Kids' Museum

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The aim of this graduation project was to design a play-based exhibit piece for the Green Kids' Museum in Kenya with the objective to raise awareness of biodiversity and ecosystems in a playful manner.

Global climate is changing at rapid speed, resulting in a loss of biodiversity and the breakdown of ecosystems (Damiens, 2021). It is important that people are made aware of the dramatic consequences if these ecosystems would be lost forever. Yet, children in Kenya are not fully aware of the richness of the ecosystems within their own country, hence there is a clear need for inspiring education. The Green Kids’ Museum will be built with the objective to raise children’s awareness of the different aspects of sustainability, with one room dedicated to biodiversity and ecosystems in Kenya.

This research project has explored different ways to transfer knowledge in a playful way about biodiversity and ecosystems fitting children in the 9 to 11 year old age range. The outcome of this exploration resulted in a game that serves as an interactive exhibit piece helping children recognize the different ecosystems in Kenya.

In the initial phase of this project research was done in three different Dutch museums to understand what type of museum installation attracts children. This showed that children are mostly attracted to large striking installations that are interactive and require little to no instructions and installations where they can build something or win a prize. These aspects were taken into account during the ideation phase; each design needed to have at least one of the previously mentioned aspects to make it attract to children. The chosen design had the first three aspects incorporated and resulted in a first iteration that was tested with the target group. The evaluation with the target group was split into a physical test and an online test. The results of this test showed that the children enjoyed the game, but expressed the wish to play the game for a longer amount of time and at an increased level of complexity. A number of unfamiliar animals were added to the game increasing the complexity and duration of the game. The design was evaluated with manufacturers in Kenya to validate that the product could be fully manufactured in Kenya. Based on their feedback some alterations were applied to the design making it ready for manufacturing. Manufacturers were selected based on their efforts to produce sustainably. This selection was done based on the manufacturing techniques catalogue, created by the researcher for this project, providing a comparison of different manufacturers in Kenya that execute that same technique. Based on these results a final design has been created.

The final concept, “The Great Kenya Eco Challenge”, is an interactive exhibit piece teaching Kenyan children how to recognize the different ecosystems in Kenya. This is done by matching different animals to the ecosystem they live in using a button system. The exhibit piece enables children to learn about ecosystems in a playful and fun way.