Summer 2012


KVAK TV uses storytelling to address pressing local themes of isolation, location, and cultural shifts in the isolated community of Kivalina, Alaska

Project Overview:

KVAK TV is a youth-oriented media project that stands for Kivalina, Alaskan Television. The project uses storytelling to address pressing local themes of isolation, location, and cultural shifts in Kivalina. The tiny coastal village is threatened by rising sea levels that are a result of climate change, and relocation is an imminent reality for Kivalina residents.

KVAK’s youth focus is a direct response to Kivalina demographics: over 50% of its population is under the age of 25. The village’s geographical isolation creates many challenges for its youth, including high suicide rates. In response to these conditions, KVAK TV partnered with The Alaskan Design Forum to use social media and television programming as a means for Kivalina youth to connect with the outside world and to relieve feelings of isolation. KVAK TV hosted a series of after school workshops to instruct youth on camera and interviewing techniques, and provided an equipment library for use outside of workshops.


Participating youth created a video-based portrait of their coastal village in Kivalina, Alaska, sharing their village games and their day-to-day lives. In collaboration with KVAK TV, they created 3 episodes of a live performance television show. These were aired on Alaskan public television, and formed part of the True North exhibition at the Anchorage Museum.

The imminent relocation of the village makes the material produced through KVAK TV’s workshops an important platform for Kivalina’s youth to share site-specific stories of home. The geotagged Youtube videos were compiled onto a website and grouped into the narrative categories: “Being Young in Kivalina,” “Current Events,” Tradition,” and “Relocation.”


Alemany Outdoor Kitchen

Tackling the need for outdoor cooking space at Alemany Farms, the IMPACT Award Team built a kitchen from scratch. Running as a scrappy and efficient design firm, Alemany Outdoor Kitchen branded their kitchen, designed a web page, organized workflow, managed labor, hosted events, and obtained city permit approval. With a beautiful new kitchen to show for it.

Located near multiple public housing complexes, the Alemany Outdoor Kitchen is a community resource and offers hands-on experiences for food education and production. Initially developed in an Upper Division Interdisciplinary Studio Course at CCA, Alemany Outdoor Kitchen [AOK] provides an open air space for food preparation alongside the existing food production available to community members at Alemany Farm. As providers of fresh organic produce for local individuals and families to feed themselves, Alemany Farm envisions the potential of a kitchen project.  


Our team is proud to create some buzz in the city with Alemany Outdoor Kitchen and we hope that success will reflect well on Alemany Farm, California College of the Arts, and the Center for Art and Public Life. With recognition from the city of San Francisco we hope to get more leads to new public projects and similar opportunities to start our careers as young designers.” –Alemany Outdoor Kitchen, IMPACT Awardee 2012


After IMPACT, Alemany Outdoor Kitchen offers jobs to the residents; it connects them to new non-profit organizations, improves curb appeal and offers recreation space.  During the process, the team functioned as a small architecture and design firm, branded their project, created a web presence, organized workdays, managed contract labor, hosted events, and gained permit approval from the city. Team AOK also launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the project. Alemany Outdoor Kitchen was recognized by the city of San Francisco for their design leaving Team AOK excited to serve as a model for similar projects in the future.  With the kitchen successfully completed, members of the community and the Alemany farm use the space for sharing and celebrating food.



Juabar is a CCA student designed – solar powered, mobile charging station for Tanzania’s rural community. The kiosks use solar energy to charge multiple cell phones at a time and provide a unique business opportunity for the “juapreneurs,” or local entrepreneurs, operating the stations.  

Project Overview:

Juabar is a mobile charging station that harnesses solar power for Tanzania’s off-grid community members and is both a solar energy and a retail platform for the community. Tanzanian operators use the charging stations as pop up energy businesses, simultaneously creating new jobs in rural areas and improving access to solar power. Juabar’s scalable system cultivates, trust and demand for solar products while highlighting the benefits for cleaner energy sources in off-grid communities.

Juabar works closely with local partner Appropriate Rural Technology Institute [ARTI] who supports Juabar with a work team, solar supplier, communication (translation), and the community credibility needed to work within Tanzania’s off-grid communities.

We have evolved our thinking around what is the biggest impact that we could make with Juabar and moving forward our mission is to develop profitable small business opportunities while meeting community energy needs by designing and building local, low-cost phone charging kiosks powered by solar. – Juabar, IMPACT Awardee 2012

Project Outcome:

Revenue sales grew faster than expected for the first Juabar kiosk and inspired the Juabar team to think bigger about the impact their mobile kiosks could have on off-grid communities. Team Juabar developed a reasonable payback structure for the local entrepreneurs, or “Juapreneurs,” that allowed them to “rent-to-own” each Juabar charging kiosk. Team members Olivia Nava and Sachi DeCou continue to run Juabar as a vibrant business with 30 new charging stations and have expanded to also distribute solar lighting from Juabar kiosks to over 4,000 customers.