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DESAKU, From Despair to Hope

Posted by admin 2 - January - 2010

KDK, together with its partner Dian Niaga and W3-O Design Lab Singapore, has successfully helped to rebrand and repackage its line of local spices for the Yogyakarta community for sale in the commercial market – bringing a new hope to the people of Yogyakarta.

In 2006, a devastating earthquake rocked a village in Yogyakarta leaving it in ruins. Kerabat Desa Kota (KDK), an NGO based in Yogyakarta, immediately got on the scene to help rebuild the communities that were most affected. Instead of merely giving aid, one of KDK’s main focuses was on life sustainability – KDK wanted to make sure that the people can continue to rebuild their life even after they leave – by teaching them how to earn money.

2006 Earthquake in Yogyakarta

2006 Earthquake in Yogyakarta

Farming is one of the main sources of income for the people of Yogyakarta, but there’s just one problem – they’re not utilising all of their harvest. Instead, they are letting excessive harvest go to waste or selling them at super low prices

Using the Sun-Drier (Glass House) method that KDK taught them, the people at Yogyakarta was able to convert excess harvest into dry goods which could be sold at more competitive rates. There was, however, one more problem that they faced. They had trouble naming and branding their goods. Without a proper name and brand, they couldn’t sell their goods at a price that was sustainable to them.


Dried chili

Dian Niaga, a partner of KDK, came to know of this problem and consulted The Humanity Forum (THF) with regards to making the products more appealing and marketable. THF had previously worked with Dian Niaga and JMHI, and successfully rebranded and marketed Dorsata. THF then invited W3-O Design Lab Singapore (who had previously supported JMHI on the rebranding of Dorsata) to come on-board this project. W3-O Design Lab Singapore, knowing that they could help the people of Yogyakarta, immediately agreed to help and support this project on a pro-bono basis as part of their CSR program.

With the support of THF and W3-O Design Lab Singapore, a brand new packaging was revealed. The packaging was not only attractive, it also managed to educate consumers about the history of Yogyakarta with its interesting visuals.

There were altogether 10 different packaging that were successfully developed. These 10 different packagings were for: Red Chilli, Ginger, Turmeric, Coriander, White Pepper, Bird’s Eye Chilli, Cinnamon, Clove, Black Pepper, and Nutmeg.



Most NGOs are good at what they do, but as illustrated in this example, there are some tasks (such as marketing and branding) that are best left to the professionals. This is another example of “humanitarian branding”, and THF hopes that more NGOs will engage the help of professionals when the tasks exceed their area of expertise.

THF would like to take the opportunity to thank W3-O Design Lab Singapore in lending their help and support for this project. THF would also like to wish Dian Niaga, KDK, and the Yogyakarta community all the best in whatever they do.

Photographs are courtesy of TEAM 9, KDK & W3-O Design Lab