Last summer, we got to live vicariously through a group of Integrated Product Design students at the University of Pennsylvania who traveled to Ghana to do ethnographic research at the Yonso Project, a Ghanaian rural organization that provides educational and economic resources to help people in the region break the cycle of poverty.
In 2009, Yonso added a bamboo bicycle workshop to its roster of empowerment programs. The workshop builds skills by training locals to make beautiful bamboo bike frames that are sold internationally. It creates jobs, leverages local production from the bamboo plantation, and helps fund Yonso’s educational initiatives.
While the folks at Yonso are incredibly knowledgeable about their core initiatives, they’re not as experienced in product development. They approached UPenn for help in 2012 when they wanted to expand their bamboo product line. In turn, Sarah Rottenberg, Associate Director at the Integrated Product Design program, asked Bresslergroup to help mentor the students who were going.