#ROSHOP: Responsive Open Source modular Housing Prototype - Creating and Sharing Refugee Innovation and Knowledge

Vuga William, Stephen Kovats, Timm Wille

A presentation on how #ROSHOP Modular House, a media and digital culture informed housing prototype for complex post-conflict and politically unstable environments, was created at the Pagirinya South Sudanese Refugee Settlement in Uganda, as a response to urgent community-use housing needs.
Hands On

The #ROSHOP Modular House, developed during the Covid-19 pandemic,  is a digital culture informed housing prototype responsive to post-conflict refugee, IDP and resource scarce needs in Northern Uganda.

The use of open source tools and platforms, such as GitHub enabled local builders and tech savvy youth to collaborate with global peers in developing an efficient and relatively easy to build housing prototype, up-scaling the craft of local traditional family structures, with the aim of providing a community space with ample natural lighting and ventilation - thus no use of electricity. Designed for community use, embracing citizen participation and strengthening community well-being, the building methodology employed allows for adaptation and further development in other regions by other communities. 

In the fallout of South Sudan's independence in 2011, where brutal civil conflicts broke out in 2013 and 2016 over one million people have fled across the country's borders to neighbouring Uganda. Refugees have been accorded limited rights by the Ugandan government to use designated plots of land, creating complex settlements which resemble village patterns rather than the common media images we often see of so-called refugee ‘camps’. The region however is acutely affected by the consequences of climate change, the Corona pandemic, as well endemic illnesses such as malaria. The existing local or host communities are themselves often poorly prepared for this - electricity and internet fail during the rainy season, roads and even houses can get washed away, and more often, harvests fail.

Pagirinya Refugee Settlement in Northern Uganda, near the town of Adjumani is home to YEF, a South Sudanese refugee organisation supporting local communities with various forms of skills development. As a member of the #ASKnet - Access to Skills and Knowledge network YEF works to provide access to information, actively engaged in peacebuilding and youth training efforts. The YEF team initiated #ROSHOP in collaboration with r0g_agency for open culture as an experimental attempt to create a citizen-access and modular housing solution in response to the critical lack of stable facilities such as schools, community centers or even maker spaces for youth to learn and explore new skills.