Why things will change! Sago Studio, PNG, 2011

The capacity-building agenda that Sago Network pursues is an outgrowth of Healthabitat and Global Studio’s own methodology and seeks to position communities at the centre of their own development process, empowering local people to determine their own objectives and collaborating with a broad project team to bring about immediate change and a more-self directed future. 

Sago Planning WorkshopThe programme believes that design and built-environment professionals, such as architects, engineers, planners and community development specialists and students of these fields, have the tools and skills at their disposal to shape, not only the future built environments of the developed world, but also the development challenges facing the oft-termed ‘other 90%’. Sago Network actively aims to explore how the potential of design thinking, with its technical, strategic, collaborative and cultural dimensions, can contribute to the holistic challenges facing communities-in-need.

Preparations for the project have taken place over the past 18 months, during which time community consultation with the Laukanu and Kelkel communities has laid the ground work for the project. Participatory planning workshops have encouraged the villages to determine their own development objectives that they deem to require immediate attention and ongoing community commitment. 

This process has resulted in the communities committing to actively undertake improvements to their water and sanitation as much of the ill health within the villages is currently attributed to contaminated water. Water testing undertaken by community members and Unitech has subsequently confirmed that the current waste disposal and washing practices within the communities are creating cross-contamination and a lack of separation between water used for washing people, dishes, clothes and waste disposal.