Identifying Needs and Exploring Solutions in Developing Regions

Brown University, 2010 - $26,500

This grant supports development of a three-part (spring-summer-fall) undergraduate experiential learning curriculum that is part of a larger initiative with corporate partners that comprehensively addresses developing world needs. In the spring, students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design will form into teams and learn ethnographic observation techniques that will develop their skill in uncovering needs and understanding situational constraints in developing regions. In the summer, they will take ten-week trips to the regions themselves, doing more observation and problem-finding. In the fall, they will create new solutions to problems they encountered. The PI is partnering with IBM to provide platform technologies and other resources that could be adapted to developing world needs.

The students will focus on four themes: healthcare in rural Africa; water in India; communication trends in developing countries; and commerce in informal settlements in Africa.