Grants IAP 2011

The Americas

Soacha on the outskirts of Bogota, Colombia

Alyssa Bryson (DUSP MCP, 2011)
Alyssa received a General Grant to travel to Bogota, Colombia to work with a Consoritum of Women’s Organizations that she began work with as a DUSP-PSC Intern in summer 2010. Alyssa will be primarily working with organizations in Soacha, Colombia (on the outskirts of Bogota). Her work will focus on running workshops with women to discuss safety issues in their daily lives. She will work toward creating a map that will highlight safe and unsafe routes for women traveling around the region.

Sao Paolo, Brazil

Ciro Iorio (Sloan, 2012)
Ciro received an Expedition Grant to explore a GPS tracking and mapping project with catadores (waste pickers) in Sao Paolo, Brazil for a potential IDEAS Competition entry. Ciro’s plan is to innovate a way to use tracking as has recently been used in the United States in Brazil to find the route that waste takes. This will work to support the catadores as they take on a larger role in waste picking due to a recent Brazilian law requiring their use.

Nicaragua’s Big Corn and Little Corn Islands

Kristin Kagetsu (Course 2, 2012)
Kristin received an Expedition Grant to travel to Nicaragua’s Big Corn and Little Corn Islands to work with wastepickers in identifying ways to improve their work. Wastepickers on the islands currently collect trash and carry it on their back. Narrow, unpaved roads prevent the use of any existing trailers, rickshaws, etc. Kristin will begin exploration of potential solutions, including new models for rickshaws pulled by either bicycle or horse, depending on the preference of the wastepickers. She plans to continue building her solution in collaboration with Gwyn Jones during spring semester.


Nairobi, Kenya

Ani Vallabhaneni (Sloan, 2011)
Ani received a General Grant ($2,500), sponsored by Yunus Funding, to travel with David Auerbach (Sloan, 2011) to Nairobi, Kenya to continue work on Sanergy. While in Nairobi, they will undertake two projects to move Sanergy forward. David will work in Kibera, where they already have two toilets, to explore the areas for further development, including recruiting workers, identifying sites for 30 more toilets, and looking for local funding. Ani will work in a different slum, where SC Johnson is willing to provide funding to build toilets between now and June, 2011.

Kimilili, Kenya

Beneah Kombe Wekesa (Course 6, 2012)
Beneah received an Expedition Grant ($1,000) to travel to Kimilili, Kenya to explore issues related to education of young women. Girls in the region do not typically get through high school, and Beneah plans to meet to explore the reasons and possible solutions to this. He has scheduled meetings with the chiefs, local NGO’s, high schools, and local government agencies to explore steps in the right direction.

Segou, Senegal

Jessica Bainbridge-Smith ((Course 2, 2012)
Jessica received an Expedition Grant to travel to Segou, Senegal to work with the 10,000 Girls Program. 10,000 Girls is planning a new campus for its girls, focused on environmental learning. Jessica will consult with the team designing the campus on an irrigation project, including exploring ways for the girls to modify and experiment with the project. Jessica will work with MIT students that have traveled to 10,000 Girls to consider follow-up.


Shen Huang (Course 2, 2012)
Shen received an Expedition Grant to travel to Zambia with D-Lab.



Emily Lo (MArch, 2012)
Emily received a General Grant to travel to Cambodia with D-Lab: Schools. Emily’s work will focus on new materials in building in Cambodia. Continuing on the work of last year’s course, Emily will explore the use of rice husk ash (RHA) as a cheap, locally-available material to act as a substitute for cement in construction. While past use of RHA has been simply for small projects (like a bench), Emily will move toward the use of RHA is larger construction projects, and hopes to demonstrate its use. This project will continue in future years as the technology is developed and improved upon by future D-Lab Schools students.

Rachel Buchhorn (Course 11, 2011)
Rachel received an Expedition Grant to travel to Cambodia with D-Lab: Schools. In addition to the work of the course on building a new structure for the local schools, Rachel is part of a team that is working on creating a Khmer language story database. She plans to interview Khmer speakers and record their work, in order to help the youth hear the stories of their ancestors in the schools. She hopes to also work with Khmer speakers in the Cambridge area to build this database.

Ed Hallen (Sloan, 2012)
Ed received an Expedition Grant to travel to Cambodia to work with IDE Cambodia (International Development Enterprises), in conjunction with D-Lab. Ed’s focus will be to support IDE in the creation of an innovation center for Cambodian entrepreneurs. He will explore the setup of the center, and will also identify and run workshops that can be replicated in the area. This is part of a project to attempt to create a long-term relationship for MIT students and D-Lab.

Kimberly Sparling (Course 6 & 11, 2012)
Kimberly received an Expedition Grant to travel with D-Lab: Schools to Cambodia. Kimberly’s focus will be on water and sanitation issues in Cambodia. Many students in the area do not regularly use latrines, either due to their lack of access or knowledge about the benefits. Kimberly plans to run workshops to decrease the prevalence of open defecation in villages. She also plans to work with the local community so the workshop can be run again after time. Kimberly is extremely interested in continuing this work on water and sanitation in the developing world.

Cambodia and Vientiane, Laos

Gabrielle Tiven (Sloan, 2011)
Gabrielle received a General Grant ($500) to support travel to Cambodia and Laos to work with Digital Divide Data, a non-profit dedicated to alleviating poverty in those countries. DDD provides training, experience, and access to education to young people, with the goal of moving them to high-paying jobs elsewhere. However, DDD does not currently have the quality control processes necessary for further growth to impact more young people. Gabrielle will use her business experience to create a training program and quality control process for use in Laos, and which can be replicated in new sites.

Taksera, Nepal

Ram Rijal (Course 14 and 18, 2012)
Ram Rijal received a General Grant ($2,000), sponsored by Yunus funding, to travel to Taksera, Nepal, a small village in the northern hills. Ram will work with apple farmers in Taksera to identify ways to gain more profit from their work. The location of the village leads to many apples rotting before they are able to go to market. This rotting also leads villagers to sell their apples for low price (1 cent), while nearest cities are importing apples which they purchase for 40 cents. Ram will teach the apple farmers to dry their fruit, and will explore other opportunities for greater income to come from the apple farms

Anaikatti, India

Hamsika Chandrasekar (Course 9, 2013)
Hamsika received an Expedition Grant to travel to Anaikatti, India to work with the Jayavarthanavelu Rural and Tribal Hospital and its associated mobile medical van unit. Hamsika plans to use her experience as an EMT to work with the ambulance and explore possible ways to serve more patients in the area. Hamsika will use her time to identify the needs of the hospital that may be served by MIT students, including herself, on return trips.