Some journeys in life never leave you the same; as they help you place the spotlight on the seemingly tiny but precious things you might have otherwise ignored.
My name is Martins Osazuwa Iyekekpolor, one of the 15 selected Design Trainees from across Africa for the 1st ever Design Traineeship Program hosted by CcHUB (Co-Creation Hub). The Program is scheduled to last for 6 months with the 1st month being a compulsory bootcamp session in the CcHUB Design Lab in Kigali followed by 5 months Practicum with an assigned partner organization.
In April 2019, I came across the invitation for the application for the programme. I made up my mind that I was going to be part of the program and it became one of my top 4 desires for 2019.
So, I applied and got into the selection process that ran throughout the month of July. Afterwards, we moved from one phase of the selection to another. After the period of waiting, the Acceptance mail came in on the 1st of October, 2019 at about 4:40pm. It was a reaction of mixed emotions of joy, adventure and relief. I spent the next two days composing my mail for confirmation of availability.
I consulted with my mentor and my boss, the National Immunization Officer, World Health Organization, Ogun State Office and she encouraged me to go for it. So, I let go of my journey as one of the State Technical Facilitators (STF) and Routine Immunization (RI) Monitor for the on-going Routine Immunization Intensification Project (RIIP) in Ogun State. I confirmed my availability for the Design Traineeship Programme.
I did it because of my curiosity and longing to be part of a people whose sole drive is problem-solving. I wanted to do more, learn more and be more.
I made arrangements to attend my brother’s traditional marriage before leaving Nigeria on the 2nd of November, 2019.
Upon arrival in Kigali, Rwanda; I wrote in my journal – “I am here to learn, re-learn, inspire and create solutions”
Meeting the other 14 selected individuals like myself was fun and exciting. We were warmly received by the lively Tomi Jaiyeola, the Program Manager and the other members of the Design Lab Team which was further assuring.
Experiencing the city was breathtaking. The peaceful and relaxed environment in Kigali was easy to adapt to. The office space at the Design lab was quite colorful and appealing which is one of the things that appeal to me creatively; color, sound and fragrance. The Design Lab was a combination of all three.
By the end of the first day, I felt like a puzzle piece had fallen in its place.
The learning experiences were both immersive and personal enough to be imprinted easily on the mind. We also took a field trip to gain practical insights to the problems we were looking to solve.
My first week at the Design Lab brought on the challenge. We read, listened, wrote, designed and presented our understanding for discussions which enabled me to experience Kigali through the eyes of Human-Centred Design. We learned about Empathy, Optimism, Creative Confidence and Emotional Intelligence.
A very personal discovery I got is that LIFE is by D.E.S.I.G.N – you have to decide to experience it; select your experiences and innovatively make something out of it; so you can grow as a person, or a group while networking or connecting with people, places, things and events.
Now, I am creatively confident that Empathy, Optimism and Emotional Intelligence are all important in this journey that never leaves you the same.
The journey continues… “Solutions are not rocket science, they come from a mindset”; that is why we are here to absorb the HCD mindset.