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D-Lab Courses

Practical Impact Alliance

International Development Innovation Network

D-Lab Alumni

D-Lab in the News

Watch the "Making Makers" video from the MIT School of Engineering and see if you can spot the many shots of the D-Lab workshop, D-Lab students, and instructors!

Scale-Ups Fellow Jodie Wu
Meet 17 inspiring US women social entrepreneurs who have built game changing enterprises impacting Africa positively  Lionesses of Africa - Jan 26, 2016

D-Lab: Waste Instructor Kate Mytty
India-Bound: MIT Students Work and Learn
MIT Slice - Jan 26, 2016

Practical Impact Alliance
Credo-Based Project Leads to Innovative Ideas to Help the People of Ghana
Johnson & Johnson - Jan 25, 2016

Potential to lead: Using technology to overcome poverty  Express Tribune (Pakistan) - Jan 22, 2016

ITU Lahore hosted International Development Design Summit  Khaleej Mag (Pakistan) - Jan 22, 2016

Scale-Ups Fellow venture Saathi Pads
2015 – the year that embraced menstruation and brought innovation to women world over  Your Story - Dec 31, 2015

Scale-Ups Fellow venture Saathi Pads
Creating an impact at the grassroot level : top 25 social stories of 2015
Your Story - Dec 30, 2015

Scale-Ups venture Saathi Pads
Promising Prototypes of 2015  Engineering for Change - Dec 12, 2015

Mobile Phones & Behavior Change: Practical Impact Alliance-IDEAS Global Challenge!


The Practical Impact Alliance (PIA) is sponsoring an MIT IDEAS Global challenge on Mobile Phones and Behavior Change. Full-time MIT students may form teams and make proposals for scalable solutions related to mobile phones and behavior change!

D-Lab Registration Day Open House
Feb 1st, 12-1 PM!


D-Lab Spring 2016 Courses

- Matt McCambridge

- Ariel Phillips, Eric Reynolds

- Jessica Huang, Pedro Reynolds-Cuéllar

- Amy Gandhi, Libby Hsu

- Susan Murcott

- Susan Murcott

- Amy Smith, Martha Thompson

International Development Innovation Network Summits 2016

International Development Design Summits (IDDS) are hands-on design experiences that bring together people from all walks of life to create low-cost, practical innovations to improve the lives of people living in poverty.

IDDS Educación
Jun 3- Jun 19, 2016
Bogota, Colombia

IDDS Botswana
Jun 25- Jul 23, 2016
D'Kar, Botswana    

IDDS Amazon
Jul 4- Jul 17, 2016
Para, Brazil

IDDS Cookstoves
Aug 1- Aug 19, 2016
Kampala, Uganda

Header Images (l-r):

1) IDDS Labore Team "Spicy Hath" (women members only) and lady health workers.

2) D-Lab: Development in El Salvador working with long-time community partner ASAPROSAR and Barefoot Angels.

3) D-Lab student in Indonesia over Independent Activities period to develop/test mobility devices in Indonesia with D-Lab: Mobility instructor Matt McCambridge.


January is an exciting time for D-Lab because so many teams of students travel to conduct research, lead trainings, test prototypes, or assess project impact. These trips might be the culmination of a semester of work or be part of a multi-stakeholder project years in the making, but they are always precious opportunities to deepen the relationships with community partners that are at the core of everything we do. 

D-Labbers are returning from Africa, Central America, South America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East where they explored issues ranging from wheelchair manufacturing to village-level enterprise development to off-grid energy products. We also had staff leading trainings on impact assessment in Tanzania while others co-led an International Development Design Summit that just wrapped up in Pakistan. Stay tuned to the D-Lab website and the next Digest for reports on these activities and see the photo header above for sneak previews.

We appreciate your interest and feedback (keep those comments coming!), and look forward to another year of hard, fun, productive, and inspiring work together. 

                       - Kofi Taha, Associate Director

D-Lab Courses

Innovation in Relief, Recovery, and Rebuilding

D-Lab founder and co-director Amy Smith has teamed up with colleague and international relief veteran Martha Thompson to create and teach a new MIT D-Lab course, Innovation in Relief, Recovery, and Rebuilding. "Refugees have always had to innovate and be creative to survive," writes Martha Thompson in a blog post about the course, "but humanitarian organizations are now turning to innovations in participatory design as a way to provide better aid."  

D-Lab: Water and Climate Change

New course D-Lab: Water and Climate Change taught by Susan Murcott.
This D-Lab class is about real-world answers to climate change as it relates to water. Through weekly student and teacher-led seminars comprised of films, readings and round-table discussions, the course will include learning together about the scope of the problem and a wide range of solutions. Susan Murcott is a water and wastewater engineer and mentor to a generation of MIT students whose creative innovations are at the interface of water, sanitation and hygiene solutions for the bottom billion. Read Susan's blog post about the course.

D-Lab: Education *and Learning*

The D-Lab: Education course got its start in 2013 as a collaboration between the D-Lab Youth program and the Practical Education Network (PEN). This year's revamped course will be taught by Jessica Huang and Pedro Reynolds-Cuéllar, has been renamed D-Lab: Education and Learning in the spirit of exploring how learning also happens outside of formal education systems. They will be collaborating with a number of community-based innovation centers in the International Development Innovation Network (IDIN), whose educators are at the forefront of utilizing local resources to nurture creativity in learners, all with the aim of solving challenges in their own communities. Read Jessica's blog post about the course!

Practical Impact Alliance

MIT Practical Impact Alliance 2016 kick-off

The MIT Practical Impact Alliance kicks off a second year of activities for its growing network of leaders working across industries and geographies on market-driven solutions to poverty. In addition to the launch of new PIA Working Groups in the coming weeks, events for this year include the Annual Meeting and hands-on workshop for members in March, Scaling Development Ventures Conference on April 1, and a Field Co-Design Summit in Zambia in October. Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved throughout the year!

Johnson & Johnson reflects on the PIA Ghana Co-Design Summit: "It reframed our thinking about developing countries."

Johnson & Johnson was a founding member of D-Lab's Practical Impact Alliance (PIA). Aimee Sealfon and Michael Moscherosch from J&J attended the PIA Co-Design Summit in Ghana last fall. "This experience was incredibly powerful because it is rare to have the chance to co-create innovations together with the end user in such an accelerated timeframe. It reframed our thinking about developing countries . . .The KNUST team is now developing a prototype for the conversion of plastic waste into fuel. In New Longoro, Benjamin, one of our team members, is ready to use the prototype to address the plastic waste issue in his village." Read more!

International Development Innovation Network (IDIN)

A Conversation with Amna Batool, an organizer for the first International Development Design Summit in Pakistan

"In Pakistan, we have very good software development experts and wide experience in the information technology domains, but somehow very few of these resources are channeled toward designing for the bottom of the pyramid. . . In this particular summit, we are looking for technical interventions in the information communications and technology space that can help improve local communities’ approach to health, agriculture, disaster preparedness and relief, and education." Read full interview with Amna!

Blogging from IDDS Lahore: Team "Spicy Hath" devises a communication system for healthcare workers Polio

IDDS Lahore team Spicy Hath worked to develop an electronic-based tracking and information system for lady health workers administering polio vaccinations. The system, which they named "Polio Buddy," is aimed at reducing the number of unnecessary polio vaccinations children receive, helping health workers better plan their routes, building trust with parents, and more. Read more from IDDS Lahore co-instructor Dr. Kendra Sharp!

D-Lab Alumni

"D-Lab continues to have a huge influence on how I work and how I approach life." - Maddie Hickman

Maddie Hickman, MIT class of 2011 writes: "My time in D-Lab taught me a lot: how to weld and use a hacksaw, how to travel and make the most of new experiences, (how to gumboot dance), and how to design and fail and try again. D-Lab also showed me the value of project-based learning, and in doing work that is personally meaningful" She goes on to say, "D-Lab has given me an ongoing community of friends and mentors to whom I regularly go for advice, and connected me to all sorts of interesting projects, inspiring people, and ongoing learning." Read all Maddie's reflections on taking classes, going on trips, working on projects, and staying involved with D-Lab after graduation.


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MIT D-Lab is tackling the poverty challenge through experiential learning, real-world projects, community-led development, and scalability.

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