• Gretchen Rinnert

Publication + Presentation: Synergy through Making...

Gretchen Caldwell Rinnert, Kathleen Campana, Marianne Martens, Davison Mupinga, Joanne Caniglia, Grace Malgwi, Tsukuru Kamiyama, and Allyson Filippi

The SENSE Team presented a paper at the The Design Research Society 2020 International Conference, virtually presented from Brisbane, Australia.


Nigerian educational statistics reflect a country in crisis. Several factors drive this trend: early marriages; poorly-trained and underpaid teachers; and extensive armed conflicts. This paper describes a collaboration between three universities on a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant-funded project to intervene in this crisis. Focusing on the educational system in two states, the project aims to improve educational materials and teaching strategies in 200 schools. Our research team employs a co-design methodology informed by the “co-creation” work of Dr. Elizabeth Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers (2008), Dr. Allison Druin’s (1999, 2002, 2005) work on “cooperative inquiry,” and by Martens, Rinnert, and Andersen’s (2018) work on child-centered design. The participants provided the research team with personal perspectives through the creation of personas. This paper presents the results, and how we interpreted and analyzed the study. Our goal was to better understand the educational needs, community, and people of Adamawa and Gombe states.

Keywords: Co-design, Ethics, Global Communities, Global Education, Inclusion, Participatory Action Research, Personas, and Social Justice doi: 10.21606/drs.2020.273

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The SENSE Activity

This project in Northeast Nigeria is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Strengthening Education in Northeast Nigerian States (SENSE) Activity.

This project required considerable inputs from a wide range of people and institutions. We are grateful to USAID for the support that makes this vital project possible. USAID’s input and emphasis towards inclusive, equitable and quality education for all children in Nigeria, particularly the most vulnerable, is greatly appreciated.

Audu Liman

Chief of Party, American University of Nigeria

Radhika Iyengar, PhD

Principal Investigator, Columbia University

Marianne Martens, PhD

Principal Investigator, Kent State University

© 2020 SENSE Activity