MIT D-Lab:  Tackling the Global Poverty Challenge

MIT D-Lab: Tackling the Global Poverty Challenge

Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT

MIT D-Lab is building a global network of university-based and local innovators to design and disseminate technologies that meaningfully improve the lives of people living in poverty. Founded in 2002, the program’s mission emphasizes experiential learning, real-world projects, community-led development, and scalability.

D-Lab has established partnerships with communities around the world in over 20 countries in Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and South and East Asia. With these partner communities, D-Lab has developed a range of technologies and processes, including community water testing and treatment systems, human powered agricultural processing machines, medical and assistive devices for global health, and clean-burning cooking fuels made from waste.  

Research, Field, Entrepreneurship, and Educational Programs

  • International Development Innovators Network (IDIN): Through design summits, innovation centers, business incubators, and a growing network of over 350 innovators in 20 countries, IDIN seeks to create low-cost, high-impact technologies and ventures, while simultaneously documenting and evaluating approaches to international development that value local ingenuity and innovation.
  • Comprehensive Initiative for Technology Evaluation (CITE): D-Lab, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Urban Studies and Planning, is leading an effort to develop rigorous methodologies for evaluating technological solutions to challenges in the developing world. This methodology, and the evaluations CITE generates, will help donors and policy-makers to identify and invest in the most effective solutions.
  • Scale-Ups: Launched in 2011, the Scale-Ups program was created to identify and support technologies with potential for wide-scale poverty alleviation. With active projects in a dozen developing world markets, the program includes an accelerator for MIT and developing world social entrepreneurs, a technical assistance program for social enterprises in East Africa, as well as research and development in collaboration with industry.
  • Creative Capacity Building (CCB): CCB is a methodology that encourages people living in poverty to become active creators, not just recipients or users of technology, through a hands-on curriculum that is accessible at any educational level. Activities include village-level trainings and support for innovation centers in Tanzania, Uganda, Guatemala, and Haiti.
  • Education: D-Lab challenges and inspires new generations of talented students to use their math, science, engineering, social science and business skills to tackle global poverty issues. D-Lab’s 19 MIT courses cover design for the developing world, principles of creativity, collaborative design, cross-cultural dialogue, supply chain management, and business venture development. D-Lab also offers K-12 programs locally and internationally.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT

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