Yeh IDeology is excited to announce that we will be giving our holiday donation to Project H, a fantastic nonprofit organization that combines design thinking and design build to create improvements in communities by engaging the community itself. By designing WITH rather than FOR, Project H both realizes their designs and teaches valuable skills and to everyone who participates. Emily Pilloton, the founder, worked on design projects with the community of Bertie County, NC so closely that she and Matt Miller (Project H’s design-builder) ultimately moved there and now call it home!
One of the reasons we chose Project H is their commitment to starting locally in the United States and scaling their work globally. In a country often known for it’s opulence it’s easy to overlook the fact that there are places where poverty rates are high, schools under-perform drastically, and internet is a rarity. As Emily’s TED Talk notes, only 6.8% of all philanthropic giving in the US goes to rural communities, whereas 20% of the country lives in them.
We hope that the work Project H is doing will encourage everyone to be more aware of what needs exist in local communities. There’s a perception that contributions have more of an impact in developing countries but donating locally allows one to see what is being done. Seeing this positive effect makes involvement an engaging and ongoing process, rather than a one-time or annual event. One of our favorite Project H projects is the Learning Landscape which engages the kids in school, can be built anywhere for next to nothing, and easily translates to communities across the globe! Another amazing effort are the chicken coops Designed with Studio H, the design + build curriculum that they run within the Bertie County School system
Project H also does an inspiring job of using design to both bond the community and create a finished product. Every teacher who contributes ideas and every student who helps gains a further stake in their community. Not only that, but they also learn concrete skills that can inspire their paths for years to come! It’s great to work with an organization that sees people not as recipients of a design solution, but as partners in the crafting and execution of ideas. As Emily rightly notes in her "when you zoom out … you lose the ability to view people as humans" At Yeh IDeology we really believe that understanding designers and companies on a personal level helps make connections that improve design. An empathetic, “zoomed-in” approach is a powerful tool and we are thrilled Project H is channeling this for education, community and design!