• Robin Shaun Dick Burns
4. Term, Sustainable Design (M.SC) (Master Programme)

This thesis is concerned with the effectiveness of NGO building and development projects in creating something for the community that is not only worthwhile, but empowering and something that they can claim ownership over. Furthermore, this thesis investigates Boundary Objects (Star and Griesemer, 1989) as learning aids, and whether or not they can be applied to a developing country context. In doing so, it asks the research question: “How can learning aids in the form of “Learning Prototypes” be deployed as Boundary Objects to improve the success of NGO development projects in Developing Country contexts?”
Looking through the lenses of Participatory Design, Capacity Building, Boundary Object Theory, and Matters of Concern, this thesis investigates learning spaces / arenas in the context of a developing country. Desk research facilitated the synthesis of material covering these approaches and theories.
A large proportion of the research was also qualitative and was garnered during a month and a half long field trip to the village of Kassi Kunda, in the very rural Upper River Division of The Gambia. The Nka Foundation had embarked on a development project there and I got involved by facilitating workshops for the local people there throughout the duration of the trip as a way of ensuring the deployment of Participatory Design and Capacity Building practices.
The main findings of this thesis indicate that to overcome discontinuities within NGO development projects in Developing Countries, a Learning Prototype acting as a Boundary Object can be effective. However, the learning space around this Learning Prototype must be carefully staged; taking into account Capacity Building, Participatory Design and Matters of Concern as tools, to ensure it’s efficacy.
Publication date1 Jun 2018
Number of pages90
External collaboratorNka Foundation
Erika Alatalo erika.alatalo@gmail.com
ID: 280259843