Digitizing Village Saving & Loan Associations in Burundi
I'm designing an android app and a web app to help SaCoDé digitize the operation of village saving and loan associations (VSLA) in Burundi. In VSLAs, members save money together then give each other loans to start income-generating activities.
InkaMuntu is a contemporary fashion brand inspired by the cultures and lifestyles in the African great lakes region. As the founder and designer (and art director, and social media manager, and business manager... everything, really), my goal is to create apparel for every occasion, any weather and all styles, with a great focus on quality and affordability.
My last name Nsabiyumva /nsä·b̤i·yu:mvä/ means “I pray to a God who hears”, in my mothertongue, Kirundi. In our culture, the notion of a “family name” doesn’t quite exist. Instead, parents give their child a name that represents a wish, or a reminder of a circumstance at the time of conception or birth. This why this name is the most significant to me. Otherwise, my first name is Karl-Chris.
When I was little, my dream was to be an architect. At five years old, I could easily read and sketch a basic home blueprint, thanks to an uncle – a civil engineer – who loved to show me his work and teach me about his trade. I’d spend hours of my free time imagining and drawing spaces, often inspired by places I had visited and what I saw on TV.
However, life happened. As I grew older, I drifted towards another path: Economics and Finance. I guess it was the result of being raised in developing countries, by a diplomat/senior civil servant and a humanitarian, as well as a lack of exposure to the art of designing structures (my uncle passed away when I was eight). I kept drawing as a hobby though – designing apparel, imaginary homes, and a few concept cars too. In my early twenties, I also discovered that I was pretty good at storytelling and content creation, as I dabbled in blogging and radio production.
And then I turned thirty, and had a slight existential crisis…
After working for 4 years as a policy analyst in the public sector, and 3 years changing lives as an executive in a non-profit organization I co-founded, I still wasn’t feeling content with my professional trajectory. I knew I needed to switch to a more creative field, but I wasn’t sure about where and how. I actually prepared an application for architecture school, but I didn’t send it, after considering the commitment that path would require from me and my family (I’d just gotten married and was about to become a dad).
While exploring other options, I discovered User Experience Design. As I learnt more about and fell in love with the science, I realized that I had actually done it before, many times, without even knowing it. In fact, at that time I was working at a school in the United States, redesigning their websites to make them more user-friendly for staff - my title was "Digital Strategy Consultant". And so, when I completed my move to Canada, I signed up for the UX Design Diploma program at BrainStation, to make my transition official.
Half a year after graduating and currently leading a design team, I’m pleased to say that, as far as my professional life is concerned, I’m as happy as can be! Now, when people ask me what I do for a living, I proudly tell them it’s architecture, but for tech. I’m sure uncle Chris (yes, that was his name too) would be very proud of me.
More design work
Citadin, a local search-and-discovery mobile app
I designed Citadin for my UX Design Diploma's Capstone Project. It's a mobile app that provides personalized recommendations of things to do and places to "dine & drink" near a user’s chosen location, using date, time, budget, interests, tastes and needs filters.
search & discovery
Heuristic evaluation + redesign of the ZARA app
While learning UX Design at BrainStation Toronto, 2 other designs and I took on a challenge to conduct a heuristic evaluation of the ZARA app and wrote a case study suggesting redesigns to correct identified violations.