Over Independent Activities Period (IAP), dozens of MIT students traveled around the world to develop solutions to critical quality-of-life barriers as part of the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge, a competition that charges MIT students to work with alumni and community resources to invent and innovate around public service. The budding projects will be finalized over the next two months and submitted to a panel of expert judges in early April. Top teams will win up to $10,000 to implement their solutions.
The Takachar team visited Nairobi, Kenya, last month to research robust ways to convert waste into cooking fuel. In Kenya, wood charcoal production contributes to severe deforestation. With fellowship support from the MIT International Development Initiative (IDI) and the Public Service Center (PSC), the team is developing efficient ways to produce high-quality charcoal from biomass, such as maize husks and other food products, rather than from wood.
- Learn more about Takachar’s efforts on the team’s blog.
Meanwhile, graduate student Diana Jue, a PSC grantee and IDI fellow, met with potential business partners, suppliers and consumers in India. Her team, Essmart, noticed that many important technologies never reach their intended end-users in developing countries because of distribution challenges. The team is researching ways to more efficiently disseminate much-needed technology, including solar lanterns and inverters, for a greater impact.
- Read more about Essmart’s efforts on Jue’s blog.
Currently 41 teams are participating in the competition, many of which are also traveling around the globe as they develop their projects. Visit the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge website for more information and ways to get involved with the competition.