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Panel Discussion: The Urugo Women's Opportunity Center

Women’s Opportunity Center in Kasungu, Rwanda, by Sharon Davis Design and Women for Women International. (Photo by Elizabeth Felicella).jpg

Join MODA, the Georgia Tech School of Architecture, and Equity in Architecture on Thursday, January 17, for a panel discussion about Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center (WOC) in Rwanda.

About the Women’s Opportunity Center

Located on a one-hectare site in the Kayonza district in eastern Rwanda, the Women’s Opportunity Center is energizing one small community’s subsistence-agriculture economy by providing financial literacy, job training and health services.. Traveling to the center’s daytime classes and events on foot, residents—many of them survivors of war—learn income-generating skills, such as animal husbandry and processing techniques that can sustain food cooperatives. As many as 300 women participate in training at any time.

`The facility is designed by the humanitarian organization Women for Women International and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. As such it poses a more expansive role for architects. In particular, the design of the Women’s Opportunity Center takes social equity into consideration, by weaving job training into the scheme. Future students were assigned the manufacture of pavilions’ bricks, using clay extracted from nearby sites as well as a manual press method adapted from local building techniques. Hands-on construction administration improved workers’ skills, as well.

Our panelists will discuss the needs that gave rise to the WOC, the user-centered design process that brought it into being, and the organizations that support the project and that keep it running.


Meet Our Panelists and Moderator:

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Panelist

Laurie Adams is the Chief Executive Officer of Women for Women International. She is an innovative leader, strategist, and gender rights advocate with more than 25 years’ experience in international development, including advocacy, humanitarian response, rural development and urban regeneration across the globe.

 
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Panelist

Verna Eggleston has led the Women’s Economic Development initiatives at Bloomberg Philanthropies since the inception of the program in 2007. She has worked for more than four decades in the area of human and social development, both in government and the private sector.

 
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Panelist

Tyler Survant is a project director at Sharon Davis Design. There and at SHoP Architects, he has worked on projects in Botswana, Rwanda, and in the US. Tyler earned a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University in 2011 and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis in 2006. 

 
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Panelist

John Cary is author of the book Design for Good: A New Era of Architecture for Everyone and Curator of MODA’s exhibition Design for Good: Architecture for Everyone. John is an architect, writer, speaker, and curator focused on design and philanthropy. He is also an advisor to an array of foundations and nonprofits globally.


 
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Moderator

Wanona Satcher is an urban designer, landscape architectural designer, and city planner originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She is Founder and CEO of ReJuve Corp a manufacturing nonprofit, and Mākhers Studio LLC a for-profit “urban design for social impact” company. Wanona has written for the Huffington Post, participated in the Aspen Institute, and was a Next City Vanguard Top 40 Under 40 Program. She is the first African American graduate of Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction Landscape Architecture program.


Event Hosts

This event is co-hosted by: