St. Martin’s official gives design training in Malawi _lowres

Photo provided by St. Martin’s Episcopal School—Garrett Mason is seen near Lizulu, in the Dedza District of southern Malawi.

Garrett Mason, of St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, spent two weeks in February providing training in design thinking in Malawi.

St. Martin’s Episcopal School embeds design thinking throughout its curriculum and culture. This fall, the school will open its Gibbs Family Center for Innovation + Design on campus. It will be one of only a few fully-implemented maker spaces in the region.

Mason is director of Innovation + Design at St. Martin’s. His February work with CorpsAfrica involved training 12 recent college graduates from Malawi and Morocco as community development volunteers in rural areas with high poverty.

The volunteers assessed local needs through interviews at two institutions in Kaphuka, Malawi: a health clinic and an elementary school. Trainees conducted personal interviews, held community meetings and shadowed both staff members and clients. Other design thinking exercises trained them to identify key factors and insights gained from the experiences to determine how best to enable local leaders to address priority needs.