In 2001 I asked some friends at the MIT what would happen if, hypothetically, we were to give an MIT technology tour for a visiting Bangladesh women’s collective.
This question led to a student-led for-credit seminar to engage engineering students with developing technologies for under-served communities, then a global conference involving NGOs from thirteen countries, and ultimately a not-for-profit organization, Design that Matters, that partners with engineering schools and social entrepreneurs to design products that address basic needs in developing countries.
Design that Matters has completed projects in health care, education, micro-finance and renewable energy. The organization has worked in Mali, Benin, Kenya, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Indonesia. In 2012, Design that Matters received the National Design Award for Corporate and Institutional Achievement.