Lahti (Finland) – The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) announced today the first recipient of the World Design Impact Prize to Kenyan-based Planning System Services Ltd. for their Community Cooker project. The award was given during the World Design Capital® (WDC) Design Gala in Lahti (Finland), where close to 600 distinguished guests gathered from the international design community.

The Community Cooker is a significant recycling initiative conceptualised by Nairobi-born architect Mr. Jim Archer, Chairman of Planning Systems Services Ltd., in an attempt to address the reoccurring issue regarding massive accumulations of waste throughout Africa, while at the same time mitigating deforestation and reducing ground water pollution. In essence, the cooker provides a public cooking facility to neighbourhoods with limited electricity and clean water.

The Kenyan prototype is currently operating in the City of Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum and has received increasing support locally. As it gains recognition in communities around the developing world, the intention is that the cooker be adapted to suit different needs such as water distillation, brick and pottery baking, as well as smelting of aluminium, copper, bronze and brass.

Currently, the oven’s rudimentary design is necessary to keep it cost effective and versatile for the communities that adopt it. As a socially inclusive initiative, it encourages residents of the community to collect waste in exchange for using the hot plates to cook food, bake breads and heat water. Designed to substantially improve air and water pollution, the Community Cooker is fuelled by a combustion chamber that is manually fed by the waste the citizens bring.

Established by Icsid in 2011, the World Design Impact Prize aims to recognise, empower and stimulate socially responsible design projects and initiatives around the world. After an international call for nominations in 2011, the winner was selected by the Icsid Membership who were invited to participate in the voting process. They identified this project as best meeting the objectives of the prize, which is to recognise an industrial design driven project that has the most significant impact on our social, economic, cultural and/or environmental quality of life. The Community Cooker clearly demonstrated the greatest direct impact on the lives of the Kenyan community.

Going forward, the Prize will be held biennially. Icsid aims to continue to develop the initiative and bring attention to nominated projects to ultimately facilitate their growth. “Ideally, Icsid would like to see how the World Design Impact Prize can attract venture capitalists and investors to facilitate the fiscal growth of the projects and perhaps help bring these to market,” stated Icsid President Prof. Soon-in Lee, “If we can consider the winning project as the seed, then we hope to identify financial supporters to help these seeds grow into something bigger. So we’re looking for a winner that has great potential to expand its impact, through the initiative.”

Ms Janice Muthui and Ms Deborah Donde accepted the award on behalf of the project team and were presented with a trophy designed by renowned Finnish designer Tapio Anttila who was commissioned to produce an original trophy especially for the Prize. “To accept the World Design Impact Prize on behalf of the Community Cooker and the people of Kenya is an exceptional and very humbling honour,” stated Deborah Donde. “This prize will serve to further reinforce and move forward the immense values and incredible versatility of this very simple invention.”

The 2012 winner and finalists’ projects can be viewed here:

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Natalie Dutil
Icsid Communications Officer
t: +1 514 448 4949 ext. 223

About the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid)
The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) is a non-profit organisation that protects and promotes the interests of the profession of industrial design. Founded in 1957, Icsid serves as a unified voice of over 50 nations through which members can express their views and be heard on an international platform. Since its inception, Icsid has continued to develop its wide-reaching network of students and professionals devoted to the recognition, success and growth of the industrial design community. Together, professional associations, promotional societies, educational institutions, government bodies and corporations create a comprehensive and diverse system on the forefront of industrial design education and progress.

About the World Design Impact Prize
The World Design Impact Prize is a biennial designation created to recognise, empower and stimulate socially responsible design projects around the world. Established by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), the World Design Impact Prize will honour and reward industrial design driven projects that are making a positive impact on our social, economic, cultural and/or environmental quality of life.

By drawing from the expertise of Icsid’s network, the World Design Impact Prize creates an exciting opportunity for members and the general public to play an active role in recognising and honouring projects, and project partners, that create a better world through design. Furthermore, the establishment of a prize specifically for industrial design driven projects will produce tangible examples, best practices and socially responsible industrial designs that will help shape the future of the profession.