Safe Mathare

Fabric Safe mathare makmende women - banner

Safe Mathare (previously, Makmende) was a project that grew out of the Stanford School class “Designing Liberation Technologies.” My team of 4 students designed and piloted a system for safe walking for women in the slums of Nairobi. We received a grant from the Freeman-Spogli institute to build our concept design into a working system to pilot, and we partnered with the Nairobi police, local NGOs, and other community leaders to see if we could help women protect themselves by organizing group walking on main pathways through the slum. Our team also ran surveys before and after the pilot to see what effect our system had on the perception and experience of safety.

Ultimately, we decided not to go forward with the pilot, because we did not find significant benefits or functionality in the system. Our pilot was quite informative and revealed meaningful insights about the experience of women’s safety in the slum environment, but it was not the right design. We continue to work with young women in the area, in order to promote tech skills and ideally foster greater innovation in the space of women’s safety, health, and community.

Since this project was almost 2 years long, I have created a lot of images & information along the way.  See the thumbnails & viewers here for a quicker clickthrough, or…

Scroll down to see the discrete stages of how the project evolved, visually, and as a system.  Get ready for a lot of material!

Here are slides I created from our initial concept design pitch in June 2011.

02 - title slide

presentation - 02a

presentation - 03 presentation - 04

lbtech slides - volunteers1

libtech slides2presentation - 05 presentation - 05aa

presentation - 05a2


Final Presentation - backend2 Final Presentation - backend1




presentation - 06

Final Presentation - Our Idea2

Our concept evolved as we worked more closely with our partners on the ground in Nairobi.  Here are some of the designs I made during the run-up to the pilot.Safe Mathare - Route Map for Outreach presspacket - in calibri presspacket - in calibri2 presspacket - in calibri3 presspacket - in calibri4  presspacket - in calibri6 presspacket - in calibri7 presspacket - in calibri8

More images from the process, needs-finding, and brainstorm stages of our design work…

lbtech slides - mninja1    POV - powerpointing 1 - jane3 POV - powerpointing 1 - matharevalleyblog part 2 POV - powerpointing title4 POV - powerpointing 1 - quotes2



Some visuals I made to for basic needs-finding and user testing in the field.  Our partners in Nairobi went around the neighborhood to ask these questions, and the results are in the following slides….


libtech - testing Final Presentation - Testing - when is it unsafeFinal Presentation - Testing - when is it unsafe2 Final Presentation - Testing - how many people 2


Here are some more recent images, where we have produced storyboards for use in better needs-finding on the ground, and also some website sketches for what women’s community sites may look like.



Safe Mathare - storyboard - email listserve Safe Mathare - Storyboard - home from market how to keep safe Safe mathare - storyboard - husband asks you to go out Safe Mathare - storyboard - living newspaper Safe Mathare - storyboard - usual companion calls and bails out Safe Mathare - storyboard - usual companion cant join Safe Mathare - storyboard - walk and talk Safe Mathare - storyboard - what should she do Safe Mathare - storyboard - woman attacked and raped in house Safe Mathare - storytelling scenarios and process (1) Safe Mathare - storytelling scenarios and process (2) Safe Mathare - storyboard - after assault tell father Safe Mathare - storyboard - attacked outside ablution block Safe Mathare - storyboard - call and map Safe mathare - storyboard - creepy neighbor threatens20130227-194940.jpg


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