It has been a while since my last project update. A lot has happened in the meantime. The initial research concerning the three topics: female entrepreneurs, footwear and material opportunities in the Gambia has been rounded off. This has led to an overview of opportunities and challenges for women to start their own sandal’s production business in the Gambia.
It has allowed for me to set up a list of requirements and wishes for a sandals design to guide me through the sequential phases. A generative session with 6 aspiring female entrepreneurs was held at the beginning of January. This session served multiple purposes. Firstly, it was an assessment of the creative abilities of untrained Gambian women. Secondly, it was an additional means of understanding the desires and needs Gambian women have towards footwear, as they will be the target group. Lastly it served as a source of inspiration for my own iterations. It was very inspiring to see how creative these women were, as they all managed to design and model a sandal within a limited time span. After this point my own ideation process began. This involved sketching and modelling as well as acquiring and assessing available materials. Unfortunately, the process was interrupted by the political crisis in the Gambia, due to the unwillingness of the ex-president to step down from his position after 22 years of rule. This crisis brought a lot of fear and tension, causing myself and thousands of Gambians to flee the country to Senegal. Here I spent 2 weeks anticipating the return of stability in the Gambia. Now I’m back in Gambia, I can clearly see a change in people, as they seem to have a more positive outlook on the future. This is extra motivation for me to design a product that can contribute to the start of a new Gambia.