Refugee Innovation Ecosystem — Rhino Camp, Uganda

Saka, a charcoal-from-waste team, got started at a June 2019 Creative Capacity Building workshop in Rhino Refugee Settlement, Uganda.
Saka, a charcoal-from-waste team, got started at a June 2019 Creative Capacity Building workshop in Rhino Refugee Settlement, Uganda.

Rhino Refugee Settlement, Arua District, Uganda

The camp, originally opened in 1980, expanded in the wake of the South Sudanese civil war to host the sudden influx of refugees into northern Uganda. The settlement currently hosts more than 116,000 refugees, mostly South Sudanese, and continues to receive new arrivals.

Creative Capacity Building Workshop

In June, 2019, MIT D-Lab Founding Director Amy Smith worked with the Youth Social Advocacy Team and Kulika Uganda to conduct a Creative Capacity Building (CCB) Workshop in Rhino Camp. With the goal of inspiring bottom-up innovation in humanitarian settings, the 25 workshop participants included both refugees and residents of host communities. Women, men, people living with disabilities, innovators, technologists, and entrepreneurs all took part, working in five groups to develop working prototypes, some of which may move on to be the focus of future business ventures. Many of the participants went on to attend the International Development Design Summit: Improving household livelihoods in humanitarian settings, later that summer. Read more.

International Development Design Summit - Uganda, 2019

The International Development Design Summit (IDDS) Uganda 2019: Transforming Household Livelihoods took place from August 21 to September 7, 2019, with 28 participants and 18 organizers from 11 countries. Among the organizers and participants were MIT D-Lab Founding Director Amy Smith and two D-Lab students, Sandy Walter and Megan Ochalek. During this two-week summit, participants learn about design and entrepreneurship by co-creating a technology and developing business models with community members from Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement.

  • Ecowuzi - Transforming livelihoods through plarn (plastic Yyrn)
  • Mama Makana - Ocea’s salam
  • Saka - Organic waste briquettes
  • Gelba A Simsim - Simsim sweets for sweethearts
  • Drika - Growing mushrooms, growing communities
  • Bizra Booster- Turning organic waste into organic fertilizer

More information on IDDS Uganda 2019:

Pears Program for Global Innovation Workshop

In November of 2019, D-Lab's Amy Smith and Martha Thompson facilitated a Participation Workshop in which Pears Program for Global Innoavation entrepreneurs met six entrepreneurs from Rhino Camp: Vivian, Phillip, Bayiga, Richard, Nema, and Ester. Thet spent a day exchanging entrepreneurial experiences, presenting and discussing innovations, and practicing participatory tools such as sketch modeling together.