Community Creativity for Development (CC4D) is a youth-led community based organization in the Eden Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement in the west Nile region of Uganda with the aim to connect communities while also protecting the environment from global warming. We do this through organizing repair café events that encourage people to work together and share knowledge and skills which helps to bring people together and work on building a more coherent and peaceful community.
CC4D was started in 2019 by three refugee youths (Mathew Lubari, Edina Dawa, and Maliamungu Richard) with a few tools at their disposal, such as zip-lock ties, one screwdriver, a cutter, and a toothbrush. Today the team consists of 4 staff members and over 15 volunteers.
We were identified by the Restart Project after Mathew made a comment on their Facebook page, asking for support to establish a repair café center. Ugo, the co-founder and co-director of the Restart Project, responded and we had our first meeting in October 2021.
In November 2021, Ugo Vallauri nominated Mathew to receive flash grants worth $5000 from the ShuttleWorth foundation to support CC4D repair activities and in December 2021, Mathew was featured in the Restart Project Podcast where he talked about his goals for CC4D.
The Restart Project later introduced us to the Restarters Group, where I learnt more about how repair contributes to the planet’s well-being, networked, and met friends like Rebecca Gonzalez Leon, who introduced us to Jessika Richter of Repair Cafe Malmo Where. She reached out to Ifixit and helped CC4D receive a business tool kit and helped us get exposure.
As an IT technician by profession(Mathew), I love repairing stuff and was inspired by my dad, who is a medical personnel but also loves repairing things. I remember watching him repairing his watch and radio and was impressed. Additionally in early 2013 I was upset when I got locked out of my phone and could not access apps and did not know how to fix the problem. So I took my phone to a technician, but was not allowed to watch while he repaired it. I went out, but stood in a place where I could see how he was fixing the problem. After I paid him, I set out to learn how to do this myself. I succeeded in locking and unlocking it. Later, my laptop broke down and couldn't power on, so I took it to a technician who tried fixing it but failed. But instead of giving me back my laptop in good shape, he had removed some of the parts like the hard drive disk, RAM, and the network card. Only after taking it to an Indian technician did I learn that these parts had been removed. Understandably, this angered me and it also made me want to learn and be able to teach people how to repair things and make repair open, which includes teaching them to be ethical while providing repair services.
Edina Dawa loves repair and was inspired to continue to learn about and offer tech repair services while doing her internship with the Community Technology Empowerment Network (CTEN), a refugee led organization providing tech services in the Rhino camp, where I was working as the IT assistant in their Refugee information center (RIC).
Richard Maliamungu was a close neighbor while we were in Yei South Sudan and we happened to live in the camp while in the refugee camp. He asked Mathew for career guidance, especially what to do after completing his high school. He was stuck making a decision but I welcomed him to join the repair movement starting as a helper.
Mathew, Edina, and Richard have been beneficiaries of the r0g_agency since 2018, when we first participated in a four week training on as part of their #ASKnet (Access to Skills Knowledge and Network) training, which is funded by the BMZ. This training was the first ever repair café event to be held in the Rhino camp and Uganda at large and it was when we realized that the community needed the repair services, because the turn out of community members coming for repairs was very large.
We were also introduced to the #ASKotec: Access to Skills and Knowledge open tech emergency case. The #ASKotec is a kit that is designed to work as a mobile training set and is equipped with the items needed to teach others how to use Open Tech and Open Source Hardware in order to innovate, educate, and repair items, thereby providing access to vital skills and knowledge. The kit is especially valuable to communities where access to tools and materials is often scarce. The Open Tech Emergency Case is housed in a rugged, dust-proof case and includes a range of high-quality tools and materials needed to teach hands-on skills in terms of repairs, development, and upcycling.
Currently we are members of and lead experts in the #ASKnet community directory, Global Innovation Gathering (GIG), Africa Open Science Hardware (AfricaOSH), Africa Makers Space Network, Restarters community and the Global Open Science Hardware (GOSH).
We have established a community repair café center (Bright Makerspace) in Eden zone, Rhino Camp refugee settlement, Uganda. This is a platform for skills training, learning, mentorship and e-waste management (offer repair services Monday to Friday and provide access to tools and information to anyone in the community) and where community members bring, on a daily basis their broken/faulty and damaged items/belongings to be fixed by local experts (volunteers) in repair of electronics, electrical, mechanical and textile products.
Above all, we conduct repair café events that encourage people to work together and share knowledge and skills which helps to bring people together and work on building a more coherent and peaceful community
CC4D has so far trained 50 young people (28 men and 22 women), giving them hands-on repair skills. 12 women have also been mentored on online safety. 5 men and 5 women leaders from 5 Refugee-led organizatios have also learned about digital communication tools.
We have held 10 repair cafe events (2021 - 2022), where we have fixed around 550 items such as solar lanterns, torches, mobile phones, radios, bicycles, clothes, and footwear.
We have also provided awareness to over 2,000 refugee and host communities about the value and importance of repair and the dangers of poor disposal of electronic waste. Over 1,000 refugees and host communities accessed repair tools, information and technical support and 300 electronics waste items have been collected.
CC4D became the first organization to celebrate International Repair Day in Uganda in 2021 and in 2022 it organized a public event that brought together community members, UN Agencies, and humanitarian organizations to celebrate International Repair Day. The event was meant to popularize the International Repair Day and communicate the value and importance of repairing things. This event was organized using funds from crowdfunding, with much support coming from the repair café Malmö, where 10,000 Swedish Krona (about 900 euros/USD) was collected.
Currently our challenge is that our space is small, has only a few tools, and lack means of transport to reach far areas. And most of all we lack funding. We do not have a project that is funded and rely mostly on support from individuals and friends.
Our future plans are to have a mobile van for repair café outreach, set up repair café centers in the 6 zones of the Rhino camp and other settlements within Uganda, and expand to South Sudan.