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Study offers a new view of when and how governments distribute land

Allocating land for people to use is one of the most powerful tools a government can have. A newly published study by an MIT scholar now identifies the extent to which state land distribution can be a politically charged act. The research, focused on Kenya in recent decades, challenges some conventional wisdom while bringing new […]

A life-changing fertilizer for rural farmers in Kenya

Most commercial fertilizer travels a long way before it reaches rural farmers in Kenya. Transportation costs force many farmers to rely on cheap, synthetic fertilizers, which can lead to the acidification and degradation of their soil over time. The situation amounts to a multigenerational crisis as elders have watched their crop yields dwindle over the […]

Designing off-grid refrigeration technologies for crop storage in Kenya

For smallholder farmers living in hot and arid regions, getting fresh crops to market and selling them at the best price is a balancing act. If crops aren’t sold early enough, they wilt or ripen too quickly in the heat, and farmers have to sell them at reduced prices. Selling produce in the morning is […]

A force for health equity

After spending three weeks in Kenya working on water issues with Maasai women, Kendyll Hicks was ready to declare it her favorite among the international projects she’s participated in through MIT. As a volunteer with the nonprofit Mama Maji, Hicks spoke about clean water, menstrual hygiene, and reproductive health with local women, sharing information that […]

3 Questions: Professor Kenda Mutongi on Africa, women, power — and human decency

MIT Professor Kenda Mutongi teaches courses in African history, world history, and gender history, and serves on the MIT Africa Working Group. She is the author of two award-winning books: “Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi” (University of Chicago Press, 2017) and “Worries of the Heart: Widows, Family, and Community in Kenya” (University of Chicago Press, 2007). […]

Bridging the information gap in solar energy

Just 30 seconds into their walk to the town center of Kitale, in Kenya, where they would later conduct a focus group about locally available solar energy options, Elise Harrington and her research partner came across a vendor selling a counterfeit solar lantern. Because they had been studying these very products, they knew immediately it […]

MIT D-Lab awards fellowships to six East African social entrepreneurs

The MIT D-Lab Scale-Ups fellowship program, which offers one year of support to social entrepreneurs bringing poverty-alleviating products to market at scale, has announced its six fellows for 2019. This year’s fellows include the founders of homegrown, high-impact ventures in underserved markets in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. “I look forward to learning from — and sharing with — other D-Lab Scale-Ups […]