KDI Blog Lastest happenings and insights from KDI

Summer 2012 Internship: Design


Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Language: Fluency in English (Kiswahili a plus)

Start Date: June 2012 – September 2012

Application Due: February 24, 2012


Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) is an innovative international partnership specializing in the practices of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, and urban planning. KDI is rooted in participatory design and planning. We partner with residents of impoverished areas to create low-cost, high-impact built environments – what we call Productive Public Spaces. By working collaboratively with communities from conception through implementation we build on their ideas, enhance them with technical knowledge and design innovation, and connect them to extant resources.


Since 2006, KDI has been working in Kibera, Nairobi. Kibera is the largest informal settlement in Sub-Saharan Africa. Home to up to one million residents in thirteen villages, it occupies a space two kilometers from downtown Nairobi that is two-thirds the size of New York City’s Central Park. Kibera has no formal trash collections system or dumping site and only one toilet per 250 people. Most families live on one dollar a day and unemployment is over 50 percent. Land tenure is particularly precarious in Kibera.


KDI now has two completely constructed and operating Productive Public Spaces in Kibera and one more Productive Public Space in construction. We will be rolling out three additional projects in 2012. These projects will give the unique opportunity for a graduate or undergraduate student in architecture, landscape architecture, or engineering to actively participate in a participatory design process, and in collaboration with a community, design a Productive Public Space that will be built. You will also learn to engage the community in a participatory design process. Tasks will include surveying the site, holding community design workshops, site and landscape planning/design, architectural design and document preparation.



  • Current Graduate or Undergraduate student in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, or Engineering
  • Ability to create all aspects of site drawings from site plans to construction drawings.
  • Excellent understanding of participatory design principles.
  • Commitment to sustainable design.
  • Understanding of watershed issues.
  • Experience working in low-income communities in a developing country.
  • Understanding of how things are built – construction experience a plus.



Though these are unpaid positions, we are able to provide interns with lodging and we may be able to assist you in finding outside funding. If you are interested in applying, please send a resume, cover letter and portfolio describing your particular area of interest and relevant skill sets to Jessica Bremner at jessica@kounkuey.org. You may also visit our website at www.kounkuey.org or blog at blog.kounkuey.org.

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