December 2002

Rensselaer and Grupo de Apoyo at Sector Rural for a Sustainable Peru

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Getting appropriate technology to rural areas in Peru is very difficult due to the geographical dispersion of the approximately 70,000 rural communities living in extreme poverty. To help solve the problem, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is collaborating with Grupo de Apoyo al Sector Rural at the Pontificia Universidad del Peru, and the Inca-Bus mobile technology education program in Peru, to create and build systems for sustainable sources of energy, clean water, and air for the rural population using interdisciplinary student design teams from the Engineers for a Sustainable World and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chapters at RPI. Projects will be identified and evaluated based on impact on basic human needs and potential for commercialization, providing long-term sources of income for these communities. The plan also includes curriculum development, student life and professional development, as well as research and technology transfer

BME Design for Global Healthcare Technologies

Stanford University

Northwestern University has an undergraduate capstone design course that includes travel for students to work with researchers at the University of Cape Town in Africa. While students have been able to provide clear needs assessments and propose solutions to identified problems, it has become clear that there needs to be a way to maintain continuity on these projects so that they ultimately become product solutions. This grant supports the creation of an MS program as a way to further support the capstone projects. Specifically, the outcome of this project will be a new program that forms a track within the existing MS and BS-MS programs, but requires additional formal training in Healthcare Technology Management at the University of Cape Town and experience in acting as team leaders for the capstone project teams

Sustainable Manufacturing in Kenya: Collaborative Design of an Agricultural Utility System

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

With this grant, the service learning program at PSU will work to improve rural Kenyans’ economic well-being by addressing challenges of low agricultural productivity due to the use of simple instruments and tools. Service learning program-enrolled PSU students will work with students from the University of Nairboi and Moi University in improving a variety of devices, concentrating on making manually powered machines that significantly improve productivity. These devices will come with attachments that allow the machine to be powered by a small attachable petrol engine. It is expected that farmers' incomes will increase with the use of the improved manual devices, making it possible for them to purchase an engine, thus increasing productivity even further. Examples of potential devices include water pumps, electric generators, posho mills, decorticators, tillers, and power tools

Sustainable Micro-Enterprise Development and Management

Northeastern University

For this grant, Ithaca College is partnering with Ecuadorian NGO Fundacion Maquipucuna (FM), an established organization with non-profit and for-profit wings that sells a range of fair trade, organic products in the US and elsewhere under its brand name, Choco-Andese. The partnership is meant to develop micro-enterprises in Ecuador based around poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability and will build on the ideas of students participating in a course administered this past year.

Ithaca hopes to send more students to Ecuador with this project and bring in partners for work on other projects, such as partnering with Cornell to use synthetic roof thatch made out of waste plastic to make homes more comfortable by absorbing heat