Development t4i

Development T4I is launching as a study seminar and international internship group for current Tufts University Students across schools and departments. A six-part study group will focus on the new agenda of T4I, and expose students to the context and interdisciplinary skill-set necessary in order to transform human-centered technology projects into social enterprises and development initiatives. This course will be followed with a month long internship in Central Asia, the Middle East or Africa which will allow students to:

~apply their knowledge with an organization in the field
~participate in forums and workshops with regional experts on informality, development, design, and ICT4D
~complete a collaborative research project
~transform their research into strong analysis and content production during a wrap-up workshop in field

The program will launch this term (Spring 2010) on the Tufts Campus with the six-session seminar and study group. Depending on available support, all students who participate and contribute to the course in a meaningful way will be invited for internships with specifically matched organizations in the field. These organizations will be a combination of new technology centered projects and businesses, along with traditional organizations hoping to use technology to forward their missions.

The three regions being considered for programming and student placement are the Middle East (including Istanbul, Jeddah, and Cairo), India (Mumbai), and Kenya (Nairobi). All of these regions present great challenges(widespread poverty, slums, lack of infrastructure and support) and great promise (youth heavy demographics, strong local organization and participation, pervasive lightweight technology infrastructure that can be harnessed for good, and a culture of innovation). In each location we are fostering a network of policy makers, technologists, designers, and NGOs that work with technology, informal settlements, development, and social entrepreneurship. Our intention is to not only link students to local practitioners and communities, but to link these networks and communities to each other as well in a new and meaningful way through the lens and community around T4I, positively impacting the pursuit of development in the region at large.

Groupshot’s “technology for informality” has been recognized and awarded as a promising take on development. The World Bank, FrontlineSMS and Ushahidi are just some of the organizations that have supported and collaborated with us on the development of the T4I program, and will be interested in seeing the results of the Development T4I program as well as potentially participating in the publication, research or future symposiums of student and practitioner work.