CAMBRIDGE, MA - Over the past several months, the Initiative: Eau team has been actively engaged as a participant in the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge. The competition, which "connects students with the passion and talent to improve the world with the experience and resources of the MIT community worldwide," provides up to $10,000 dollars in grant funding to teams focused on improving quality of life through innovation and entrepreneurship. It is through the IDEAS Global Challenge that Initiative: Eau's newest project, WASHMobile, has been developed. The I:Eau IDEAS Team is comprised of President Donald Brooks, Project Lead Samantha Harper, as well as software engineers Corinn Herrick and William Lopez-Cordero, both students at MIT.
The rigorous, multistage competition provided the team with the framework and timeline to construct the technology so that robust and sustainable development can proceed in the future as the technology grows in scope and in implementation. With guidance from such water experts as Susan Murcott, a research scientist and senior lecturer in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Development Lab, respectively, the I:Eau team received much input on how to ensure that WASHMobile is culturally appropriate and useful to individuals on the ground. The team advanced to the final round of the competition, but in the end, was not selected to receive grant funding from the Institute. When asked about the situation, Brooks responded, "While I am disappointed that WASHMobile was not selected to receive the necessary seed funding to allow us to conduct a full pilot test in Ouagadougou this summer, the competition did give us the opportunity to develop this technology in a relatively short timeframe with input from leading experts in various areas of the international development field."
Initiative: Eau will still proceed with a pilot test of WASHMobile in the peri-urban areas of Ouagadougou this summer, but will be on a smaller scale. Learn more about the specifics of the WASHMobile system here.