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Millions of South Africans live in dire conditions. This is your chance to make their lives better 

We all want to make a difference, but don’t always know where to start. One step is to find and use affordable and effective design ideas to improve the quality of life for people who live in South Africa’s informal settlements, backyard shacks and RDP housing.

Step two involves devising ways to collect those ideas, giving producers and creators a chance to take their design from concept to production, onto the shop floor – and into people’s homes.

Introducing the Better Living Challenge
The Better Living Challenge (BLC) is a competition that draws out the great ideas from around the world that will help deliver structurally sound, comfortable homes that connect South African families to their communities.

The BLC is open to designers and innovators, inventors and creators, students and professionals, manufacturers and retailers from anywhere in the world.

Enter now!

Get your entries in now. The BLC opened on 1 March 2014 and it closes on 31 May.

Visit for full details.

The BLC isn’t just about finding the ideas. It’s also about creating a platform for seeing a great idea become a household name. Three winners will each receive tailored business and product support worth R500 000 to commercialise their home improvement solutions. Among other areas, this support could cover coaching, business consulting, legal services, prototyping, market research, graphic design and more. Students will compete for a R40 000 cash prize.


  • Structural home This covers innovative products and materials to construct safe, sustainable homes.
  • Comfortable home Here, we mean products used to create interiors that people enjoy being in.
  • Connected home This category calls for products and services that connect a home to its surroundings and beyond, digitally or physically.

BLC-New-Rest-Dunoon---David-Harrison“The Better Living Challenge is significantly different from the usual design contests. For a start, consumers can test the entries. It also hopes to persuade financial institutions to support the development process. And: the winning manufacturers and designers will receive bespoke support to transform their ideas into products on shop shelves.”

Huge needs, huge opportunities
We spoke to CCDI Executive Director, Erica Elk, about what the BLC wants – and needs – to achieve.

“Millions of South Africans live in dire housing conditions. Their needs are much greater than the government’s capacity and resources to deliver,” she explained. “That’s why we need to find solutions for home improvements that are affordable, produce better living conditions and quality of life, and give people the choices and resources to help themselves at their own pace. There are so many needs − and so many opportunities.”

Over to you.

The BLC is open to people from anywhere in the world. But South Africans already have a world-class record when it comes to coming up with game-changing innovations. They include heart transplants and CAT scans; the swimming pool vacuum cleaner and cybertrackers; the dolosse breakwater and Pratley Putty, the only South African invention to make it to the moon. Back in the 1950s, the Tellurometer revolutionised map making, while more recent South African breakthroughs include the world’s first oil from coal refinery and the speed guns used at cricket grounds worldwide.

Now, it’s over to the world’s designers and innovators, inventors and creators, students and professionals, manufacturers and retailers to bring their innovations and inspiration into the heart of South Africa’s low-income homes.

Find out more

For more information visit, find us on Facebook and follow them on Twitter – @TheBLChallenge and #WDC2014 and #BLCgreatidea