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Info Session on IAP/Spring Workshop on Measuring Social and Economic Impact in Chile

October 10, 2013, 3:00 pm, Room 9-417

CoLab will be holding an information session to gauge interest in a possible IAP and spring workshop on these issues on Thursday, October 10th, at 3 pm in 9-417. The workshop will bring together students and faculty from MIT with their counterparts at the Universidad Austral de Chile to measure the holistic economic and social impacts of a new development initiative in Southern Chile. Participants would be expected to make a two-week trip to Valdivia, Chile over IAP (January 13-24) as well as participate in a half-semester independent study upon returning. More detailed information about the context and schedule is below.

If you plan to attend the information session, please RSVP to Maggie Tishman at If you are interested but cannot make the scheduled meeting time, please let us know as well.

In 1999, Universidad Austral (UACh) began offering education and entrepreneurship training through its unique Em-Préndete program, which takes students through a three-part entrepreneurship training including capacity building, implementation, and individual assistance. Recognizing the particular economic challenges of the region, UACh has strategically targeted indigenous students and young mothers to participate in the program, as well as graduate students in related disciplines. Trainings and workshops are tailored to the specific cultural and economic needs of target groups and are approached as an interactive process of sharing and co-producing knowledge within the community context.

Given its ambitious goal of not only expanding economic opportunities for marginalized communities but also strengthening community resilience overall, UACh needs a comprehensive assessment tool to measure the program’s multiple impacts and a strategy for incorporating findings into program operations. UACh is also looking for more effective ways to recruit new students and maintain involvement from alumni once they complete the curriculum.

This new component of the MIT-UACh partnership will unfold in three stages. In the first, MIT staff and students will travel to UACh from January 13 to January 24 to work directly with students and faculty of the Em-Préndete program. During the trip, members from both institutions will work together to familiarize themselves with the regional context, explore a series of topics related to the project, and begin to develop a methodology and metrics to assess the program’s direct impacts on student participants and indirect impacts on the broader community, including indigenous groups. The metrics will incorporate the Fundamental Human Needs Matrix previously developed by faculty at UACh, while also responding to the specific cultural dynamics of the target population of the Em-Préndete program.

In the second phase, students at MIT and UACh will participate in a guided, half-semester independent study to refine these metrics and develop recommendations for how to incorporate results into the program’s operations. Through regular online communication, students will continue the collaboration they began in Chile in January to fully explore key concepts behind measuring human progress and develop a draft monitoring and evaluation plan for the Em-Préndete program.

In the third phase, students and faculty from UACh will travel to MIT for a workshop on best practices in alternative approaches to economic development and measurement, highlighting existing cases from Latin America.

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