Can communication design—a practice often associated with aesthetic triviality or unashamed consumerism—function as a change agent in a developing country? This paper suggests that as part of a multi-skilled, French-led assistance program, design has helped alleviate the plight of rural Haitian farmers, their families and the communities in which they live. First describing how Haiti’s political, social and environmental conditions combine to negatively impact the island’s farmers, this paper will then introduce the Farmer-to-Farmer and ANATRAF programs and why design was considered important to their allied missions. Next, it will explain how the design process and its resulting contributions will ultimately combine to support Haitian farmers in their desire for economic sufficiency, personal autonomy and renewed community. Finally, with this particular example in mind the paper will offer some generalized observations about socially focused design.
|Keywords:||Agriculture, Design, Ethics, Haiti, Social Responsibility|
Assistant Professor, College of Visual Arts + Design, The University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA
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