Posts tagged ‘technology’

December 15, 2018

E4C Research Fellowship 2018

From May until September while I was in Beni serving with IRI, I also had a part-time job working as an Expert Fellow with E4C. I oversaw the work of three fellows from Guatemala, Kenya, and India. One of my fellows was working within the habitat sector and the other two within agriculture. One of the ongoing tasks of the fellowship is to research products to be included in E4C’s growing Solutions Library, a database of technologies that are intended to be accessible to low-income populations around the world. My role as a research fellow was to assign my fellows their tasks, keep them on track in completing them, and finally review and edit the finalized reports. I also had the privilege of helping push three larger research reports, two in agriculture in partnership with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and another in habitat with Good Earth Global. I particularly enjoyed the report about earthquake testing trends as I did not have experience in this area. Here are links to the final reports:

Working remotely has its rewards and challenges. It was quite an interesting challenge getting on calls with everyone from around the world. For me in Beni the calls happened in a window between 4pm and 10pm. I was thankful for the extra financial support, another opportunity to learn about products and services being implemented around the world in the habitat sector, and the opportunity to take leadership and grow my network.

October 24, 2017

Impact Engineered

In mid-October I had the opportunity to go to an event hosted by Engineering for Change (E4C) in New York called Impact Engineered. Even though it wasn’t a regular part of the E4C fellowship that I did over the summer, it was a great way to wrap up the experience with them. Impact Engineered was a half-day event that brought together mechanical engineers, policy-makers, and global development practitioners across multiple sectors, to share and celebrate work that is happening in the domain of technology for development around the world. The event was also partnered with an event for the ISHOW (Innovation Showcase) finalists. The E4C fellows were invited to come a day early to help interview the finalists to see if their products would be appropriate for inclusion in the E4C Solutions Library database. It was a great opportunity to meet the finalists from India, Africa, and the USA, who have designed products that have the potential to alleviate poverty. The innovations included (in India) a compact sanitary pad making machine, a neonatal breathing device, a braille reading and writing tool, (in Africa) a malaria diagnostic tool, a science set, a sign-language to speech translation glove, (in the US) a clean cookstove, a portable eyeglass prescription device, and a low-cost mobile refrigerator. That evening we had an informal dinner so that we had a chance to continue talking and networking.

The Impact Engineered event was held the next day at the Centre for Social Innovation. It didn’t start until the afternoon and so Grace, a fellow E4C researcher, and I decided to work a bit at a cafe in the morning and then walk across town to get there. I introduced Grace to the Highline which was very close by to the venue and saw the Zaha building almost complete and the Shed still under construction. The Centre for Social Innovation is located in an old industrial building that had been transformed into a creative and flexible work and event space. There were options to participate in a main group of presentations or break off into smaller workshops depending on our interest. Themes included discussing how to enable an ecosystem for social impact, what engineering for 2050 might look like, and case studies of different solutions being implemented around the world. After the sessions there was an awards ceremony and a reception. I met many interesting people including a few designers and construction material experts who I interviewed during my research fellowship! It was also nice to spend more time with the other E4C fellows who attended. After the event we were pretty fatigued, but hungry, and so Grace and I went to a bar around the corner from our hotel where we had a good meal, shots on the house, and I learned that in the US they call mixed drinks with the cheapest liquor “well drinks”. The following morning I headed home already and by the afternoon was back at work!

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E4C research fellows reunited!