Winners announced for What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge that aims to improve lives


Five winning projects have been announced of the first What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge, including proposals of a traveling kitchen and a photography sale website.

The shortlisted projects were selected from 631 entries, all offering services and products to improve the live’s of refugees.

The first project that was chosen is entitled Makers Unite, and aims to unite communities to turn leftover debris from humanitarian crises, such as discarded life jackets, etc, into useful new products.


Eat and Meet, by Jennifer Kinnunen, Marie Legleye, Camille Marshall and Elias Sougrati, is a travelling kitchen that acts as platform for food events

The second winning project, East and Meet, created by a group of multidisciplinary architects, interior designers and urban planners, explores the idea of eating a stranger’s food as a form of intercultural sharing and trust. The team proposed a traveling kitchen where people of different cultures can share their tastes experiences.


Reframe Refugees by Marie-Louise Diekema and Tim Olland is a website that enables refugees to sell their own photographs to media

Another winning project called Agrishelter has been described by the judges as a “hipster movement for refugees”. It encourages communities to become involved in creating housing using locally found materials.

A project that was praised for its innovation in creating “a service provided for the refugees and for the benefit of refugees” is a website that enables refugees to sell their own photographs to media, NGO’s, pressure groups and governments.


The Welcome Card by The Green Card Team is a small device that would allow refugees to access their personal information via card readers installed at refugee centres

The final winning project  is called The Welcome Card, a small device that allows refugees to access their personal information via card readers and password-protected software installed at refugee centres.


One winner, Agrishelter, was described by the jury as a “hipster movement for refugees”. It encourages residents and communities to be involved in creating accommodation using locally found materials.

This would ensure that refugees who don’t own smart phones to be able to monitor their asylum application process, in addition to gaining access to information about their rights in different countries.

The five winners were unveiled by the Dutch minister of foreign affairs, Bert Koendwes at the annual What Design Can Do conference in Amsterdam.

Each winner will receive $11,000 to develop their idea into a working prototype.


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