Community Improvement, Capacity Building

KOUNKUEY DESIGN INITIATIVE INC

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • www.kounkuey.org

Mission Statement

Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) is a non-profit design and community development organization, that partners with underserved communities in the US, Africa, and Latin America to physically transform communities and in the process, improve environmental, economic, and social quality of life. At KDI we know that poverty is complex. It is economic, but it is also social and environmental. KDI focuses on the interconnectedness of the challenges of poverty and addresses them through an integrated, multi-sectoral process. Our projects start with the vision that residents have for their community. To realize this vision, we work collaboratively with residents from project conception through implementation. We build on local ideas, enhance them with technical knowledge and design innovation, and connect them to existing resources. Through this community-driven process, KDI empowers residents to physically transform their environment, grow economic resilience, and build social cohesion.

Main Programs

  1. Improving Health Through a Community-Driven Productive Public Space (“PPS”)
  2. Water Remediation in Kibera, Kenya
  3. Growing Economic Resilience in Bonneau, Haiti
  4. Water & Sanitation Access in Kibera, Kenya
  5. Holistic Community Transformation Through Productive Public Space: North Shore, California
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

We work with men, women and children living in under-resourced communities around the world, by helping them access the resources and technical assistance needed to physically improve their communities and improve economic and social quality of life. Currently the majority of our projects are in the urban informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya and in the United States, primarily in the rural farmworker communities of the Eastern Coachella Valley and throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. We have also done work in Morocco, Mexico, Haiti, and Ghana

ruling year

2011

Executive Director since 2006

Self-reported

Chelina M Odbert

Assistant Director

Self-reported

Joe Mulligan

Keywords

Self-reported

design development productive public spaces community economic kibera coachella

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Also Known As

KDI

EIN

90-0599471

 Number

0572422521

Physical Address

309 E. 8th Street #205

Los Angeles, CA 90014

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Urban, Community (S31)

International Relief (Q33)

Parks and Playgrounds (N32)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Our goal as an organization is to help communities improve their physical, social, and economic quality of life. Our programs leads residents through a participatory visioning and design process that identifies priority needs and pragmatic, design-based solutions. The process culminates in the construction of what we call Productive Public Spaces – community hubs that: add much-needed, multi-functional physical amenities such as greenhouses, meeting spaces, and playgrounds; stimulate economic growth by housing new small businesses; and generate new educational and cultural opportunities through resident-driven programming.

Residents are the engine that ignites and powers these Productive Public Spaces, ensuring their sustainability. Because we address each priority need with a physical, economic, and social intervention, our projects generate holistic, lasting impacts. With new leadership skills acquired through this process, residents become catalysts for future, community-identified change initiatives. These are the three pillars of KDI's model that ensure continued positive change and renewal long after project completion.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Improving Health Through a Community-Driven Productive Public Space (“PPS”)

A partnership with Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation and the community of St. Anthony Trailer Park has led to KDI’s first US-based site. The St. Anthony PPS, is currently in the design phase and is slated to include a sheltered meeting space, play structure, community garden, small-business incubator and improved landscaping. A sheltered meeting area with benches, tables, and new landscaping will allow residents to take advantage of their community’s open space by providing protection from harsh weather conditions. The meeting space will serve to foster a more active and unified community by creating an area in which the residents can mobilize and incubate entrepreneurial endeavors. The play structure will increase safe play and recreation while enabling youth to engage in organized physical activity. The community garden will provide a productive space where growing healthy food is used for nutrition education and food security. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2011.

Category

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Adults

Hispanics

Budget

$46,232.00

Program 2

Water Remediation in Kibera, Kenya

KDI launched the Kibera Productive Public Space Project in 2006 in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. Through this project we are creating a network of community hubs (Productive Public Spaces) along the tributaries of the Ngong River that cuts through Kibera. These micro-spaces transform the watercourse into a lively spine of commerce, recreation, and community life that address some of the macro-challenges facing the settlement, including watershed remediation and management and appropriate water and sanitation infrastructure systems. Each of the Productive Public Spaces in Kibera is financially and socially self-sustaining after construction. To ensure this, KDI assists residents in creating small businesses that operate at each Productive Public Space, such as craft and urban-agriculture cooperatives. A small percentage of profits from these enterprises goes into a site maintenance fund managed by the partner community that built and operates the site. To date, KDI has four sites completed and two in construction in Kibera.

Category

At-Risk Populations

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

None

None

Budget

$400,635.00

Program 3

Growing Economic Resilience in Bonneau, Haiti

In partnership with a 75-member community group called TETE ENSEMBLE, KDI is developing a productive public space around an existing marketplace in the town of Bonneau, Haiti, located in Northwest Haiti, the poorest region of the country. The goal of this project is to stimulate economic activity, increase food security, and mitigate environmental hazards in Bonneau. Beginning in 2010, KDI facilitated community workshops with Bonneau residents to identify a series of initiatives and amenities that will physically, economically, and socially improve the quality of their lives. Physically, KDI will equip the existing marketplace with market stalls, a recreation area, hot food stands, and a storage and refrigeration unit, aimed to stimulate commercial and social activity, and construct a test garden, where resident can learn and practice traditional agricultural techniques to revitalize the land. Economically, residents will use this test garden to develop new agricultural economies based on the production of new crops and receive new revenue streams from produce sales and food stall and storage and refrigeration unit rental. In addition, residents will be trained in business management, agricultural practices, and site management to ensure the site’s long-term sustainability, Socially, our participatory design process improves social cohesion, teaches residents about government and urban planning processes, and enables them to be politically active. KDI hopes that the PPS in Bonneau will be the first in a network of productive public spaces that will help the Northwest region become economically self-sufficient, food secure, and environmentally safe.

Category

At-Risk Populations

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

$25,000.00

Program 4

Water & Sanitation Access in Kibera, Kenya

WATSAN Portal: Kibera is a project led by Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) to develop and test an online information platform that creates access to municipal water and sanitation data for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and entrepreneurial individuals who wish to implement water and sanitation (WATSAN) projects in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. This tool will allow the above users to more efficiently and effectively launch high-quality WATSAN projects in Kibera, thus increasing the total number of residents with access to safe water and sanitation. The creation of the Portal also presents Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC), the government agency responsible for delivering, maintaining, and permitting water and sewerage infrastructure in Nairobi, with the possibility of expanding and fortifying their network of formal connections. Users of the Portal will be able to query potential project sites in Kibera via a simple web-interface in order to easily gauge the physical and economic viability of making a formal water or sewerage connection at that site.

Spatial Collective, KDI’s technology partner, is writing the coded software behind the Portal and is assisting in the facilitation of design and user-testing workshops. NCWSC is providing data and information on its existing and planned infrastructure and its employees are participating in workshops to develop and test the Portal. They are also working with KDI to prepare for the eventual hand over of the Platform to NCWSC. The website will be developed and piloted for two villages of Kibera: Gatwekera and Laini Saba.

Category

At-Risk Populations

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

None

None

Budget

$100,000.00

Program 5

Holistic Community Transformation Through Productive Public Space: North Shore, California

The Eastern Coachella Valley (ECV) is one of the most fertile agricultural growing areas of
California, yet it shares many similarities with some of the poorest com¬munities in the
developing world. North Shore, a 3,400-­person community in the ECV, 95% of which are Latino, lacks public transportation services, which greatly reduces access to human health services, healthy food, recreation, and education. North Shore has higher death rates and incidences of asthma among children and the elderly than the rest of the Eastern Coachella Valley due to exposure to the air pollution of the nearby Salton Sea. One hundred percent of North Shore residents can be defined as extremely or very low-­income (50% of AMI or lower).

Since 2010, KDI has been working with communities in the ECV in order to alleviate substandard living conditions such as water contamination, unregulated hazardous
waste dumps, and limited access to basic resources. In partnership with Desert Recreation Desert Alliance for Community Empowerment (DACE), and North Shore residents, we will transform a 5-acre site into a park that includes a full-­sized soccer field, skateboard park, playground, BBQ and event area, small vending kiosks, and a bike-­repair and bike-­share program.

Category

At-Risk Populations

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

$291,309.00

Service Areas

Self-reported

International

We work with men, women and children living in under-resourced communities around the world, by helping them access the resources and technical assistance needed to physically improve their communities and improve economic and social quality of life. Currently the majority of our projects are in the urban informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya and in the United States, primarily in the rural farmworker communities of the Eastern Coachella Valley and throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. We have also done work in Morocco, Mexico, Haiti, and Ghana

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Financials

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KOUNKUEY DESIGN INITIATIVE INC
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

KOUNKUEY DESIGN INITIATIVE INC

Leadership

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
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Executive Director

Chelina M Odbert

Assistant Director

Joe Mulligan

BIO

Chelina Odbert is Co-Founder and Executive Director for Kounkuey Design Initiative. Her expertise and experience ranges from urban and rural development, social entrepreneurship, and stakeholder engagement to participatory planning and design. As Co-Founder and Executive Director of KDI, Chelina helped shape KDI into an internationally recognized design, planning, and community development firm and created the 'Productive Public Spaces' model — underutilized places transformed into vibrant community hubs of physical activity, economic, and social amenities. The Productive Public Space model is recognized for its innovation by notable institutions like the Rockefeller Foundation and Ashoka Changemakers and has won several awards including Van Alen Institutes' New York Prize for Public Architecture. Chelina has also served as an advisor to numerous public and private agencies on participatory planning and strategic visioning and growth to help establish project sustainability and facilitate authentic community engagement.

Chelina holds a BA from Claremont Mckenna College and a Masters of Urban Planning from Harvard University. She has lectured extensively in the United States and internationally on KDI's unique approach to sustainable planning, and written about it for Forbes Magazine and in the book, NOW Urbanism. In 2012, she was named by American Express as one of 15 Global Emerging Social Innovators and in 2016 as part of the Next City Vanguard Class.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Kevin Heneghan

OTR Financial Group

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
Sexual Orientation

We do not display sexual orientation information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies
No
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
No
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
No
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
No
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
No
We have a diversity committee in place
No
We have a diversity manager in place
No
We have a diversity plan
No
We use other methods to support diversity