The Importance of Inclusion

Inclusive education is a concept that stems from the idea that all children around the world, regardless of disability, race, class, sex, religion or language, are entitled to an education.  It contains many similarities to the more widely known method of integration, which focuses primarily on disability and special needs. This is derived from Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: everyone has the right to education (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). However, we believe this needs to go a step further, as is defined by Sustainable Development Goal No.4: Quality Education (UN, 2015). The concept of quality education means that education is not just imparted but it is delivered in a way that maximises its constructive effects on the children. And with quality education there is a close tie to inclusive education. Inclusive education is about giving the world’s future the highest possible ability to adapt to change and solve the challenges that arise, as no one is left behind.

There are a number of factors preventing inclusive education in developing countries. At the root of many of these factors is poverty. For example, some parents cannot afford (more so that opportunity cost is higher) to send their children to school once the children are old enough to work or get married. The challenge with opportunity cost is the “short-term gains vs long-term benefits”- the cost of sending a child to school with a growing list of investments such as uniform and transport. These are perceived larger due to the high rate of absenteeism amongst teachers, which often is also closely linked to poor economic incentives and lack of school funding. At InAGlobe we believe that technology can help bridge some of the challenges, whether it is related to affordability of educational material, or other.

Then there is the value of alternative education. Alternative education methods have been the norm amongst communities until education became part of a system, whether it was from a religious stand-point or as a result of the Industrial Revolution. However, alternative methods of education can be hugely impactful in communities where schools are overloaded. Mike Wamaya, the founder of Project Elimu (Wamaya, 2017) has been a driving force with his vision on alternative education in Kibera (a slum in Nairobi home to approximately 100,000 people). After a career as a professional dancer, he returned home to Nairobi and started a ballet school. InAGlobe personally met Mike in April this year and we hope to find ways of complementing his envisioned alternative education project so that innovation can be an enabler.

Furthermore, a lack of funding means schools cannot often cater for disabled children, unless supported by another organisation. Children with special needs are a huge source of untapped potential, many hold perspectives on life that no-one else could possibly imagine. The emergence of echolocation as an alternative to sight amongst the blind is just a glimpse of the capabilities that visually impaired individuals have. It is heart-breaking to see a system that so poorly adapts to disability, and it is socially, politically and economically foolish. But disability is not only the visually impaired, it is the amputees, the victims of polio, those with learning difficulties, individuals that were victims of conflict, accidents, violence and disaster, it is a myriad of diversity that can contribute to a better understanding of the world, as well as help build a more inclusive world. In the same way that political institutions should be pluralistic, giving voice to minorities, this also applies within disability, and inclusive education is a necessary stepping stone so that these individuals can become more heavily involved in building a world that works for all. InAGlobe is partnering with the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust to develop a low-cost device that will help teach visually impaired children mathematics. There is no reason why a visually impaired child cannot dream of being an engineer, a scientist, a mathematician, a statistician or an accountant.

This is but a glimpse of the complexity behind the challenge of inclusive education for children with special needs, there is a more pressing imperative which is that the mainstream reality is that many of these children are often socially marginalised, with immense levels of stigma. This is a barrier that is being cleared by countless organisations working on the ground, but it is not enough that organisations do this out of charity. Educational inclusion leads to economic and social inclusion, and along the way the removal of a stigma that is often more disabling than the disability itself.

Inadequate sanitation is another issue causing absenteeism. It often prevents girls from attending school once they begin having their period. The leading cause of school absenteeism is parasites, and other water-borne diseases that are tightly linked to poor sanitation. Effective Altruism, an organisation that helps focus the efforts of motivated individuals towards tackling large impact challenges sees de-parasiting as the most effective leverage point towards education (Effective Altruism, 2019). The list is seemingly endless, and the paradigm is complex, such that the UN estimates that 617 million youths worldwide lack basic numeracy and literacy (UN, 2018).  Despite the barriers, small steps can be taken to ensure that communities are progressing towards the goal. These can include: 

  • The use of teaching assistants or specialists: these staff can make sure that specific attention is given to struggling students, meaning that more students overall can achieve basic numeracy and literacy skills. 
  • Implementation of an inclusive curriculum: this aims to include themes relevant to the local community and contributions by marginalized and minority groups. It should include children of all abilities, and ideally teach vocational skills for students unable to learn conventional academic skills. 
  • Specific teaching aids and enabling technologies: this can range from innovative technological solutions that allow more children to be included within the system or elevating the current educational experience by considering alternative forms of learning. (Open Society Foundations, 2019)

Of course, these measures can only be properly implemented if there is significant funding going into the progression of education in developing communities. Often, NGOs or local charities will bring in volunteer teaching assistants or will purchase teaching aids for schools to keep and use. However, the core ideology of inclusivity has only been ingrained into very few schools in developing countries. The idea of rolling out the inclusive education framework almost sounds fanciful, particularly in areas where basic education is considered a luxury. However, by approaching different facets of the problem (e.g. lack of technology, social stigma, poverty), it may eventually be possible to bring education to all.

Due to to InAGlobe’s strong ties with the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, we approach this topic with an emphasis on technological solutions. There have been numerous advances in assistive and educational technology in developed countries to improve the standard of disabled children’s education. This can encompass everything from adapted sitting chairs, to low- and high-tech braille devices, to modified computer controls for children lacking fine motor control. These technologies can make a world of difference to a disabled child and can result in their acquisition of key skills needed to live a more full and independent life. However, technologies such as these are often extremely expensive to manufacture, which reduces their viability in developing countries. If we could make these technologies affordable enough to allow for their implementation, we may be able to reduce the burden of disability on children, parents and schools alike. 

So how can we bring about the implementation of these technologies? We believe that by using innovative thinking and human-centred design, we can either come up with brand new solutions or remodel existing technologies to allow for their use in developing countries at a fraction of their current cost. This is something we are striving to promote at InAGlobe, as one of our main priorities is the education of every child. Beyond this, we have a further goal: to raise awareness for these issues so that the engineers and scientists of tomorrow may take on the challenge of finding innovative solutions to global issues.  By bringing issues such as inclusivity in education to the mainstream, we hope that we can encourage large-scale involvement and collaboration to tackle these challenges.

Written By: Kavya Ganabady (09/07/2019) - Outreach Volunteer for InAGlobe Education. 

Gulland A. 2019. Lack of toilets and water at school puts girls’ education at risk. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/lack-toilets-water-school-puts-girls-education-risk/

N/A. 5 Examples of Assistive Technology in the Classroom. 2015. Retrieved from https://www.masters-in-special-education.com/lists/5-examples-of-assistive-technology-in-the-classroom/ 

N/A. Eliminating Parasitic Worm Infections. 2019. Retrieved from https://www.effectivealtruism.org/articles/ea-global-2018-eliminating-parasitic-worm-infections/

N/A. Sustainable Development Goal No.4: Education. 2018.  Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/

N/A. The Value of Inclusive Education. 2019. Retrieved from https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/explainers/value-inclusive-education 

N/A. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 1948. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/  

N/A. What is Inclusive Education?  https://www.allfie.org.uk/definitions/what-is-inclusive-education/

Wamaya M. 2017. https://www.projectelimu.org/

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Overcoming Barriers to Education with Technology

Nowadays, basic education is expected from the government and the law requires citizens to attend school up to a certain level. Education is not only a human right, it is also a duty to fulfil. Indeed, literacy rates and enrolment rates have increased over the years, in which there were 62 million out-of-school lower secondary school children in 2015, a large decrease from 97 million in 2000 (UNICEF, 2019). However, if we really recognise education as a right, then much can still be done since there are still people who are illiterate (according to UNESCO (2017), 750 million people) or unable to attend school. The problem is most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, where in 2015, net enrolment rate was 79% (UNICEF, 2019). This essay will discuss how the lower rates of education in some communities can be attributed to some factors, which are often linked in one way or another.

Overcoming Barriers to Education


1. Lack of sanitation and clean water

It is shocking that 1 in 3 primary schools do not have clean water or decent toilets. According to a report by UNICEF and WHO (2018), the lack of clean drinking water is affecting 570 million children and the lack of decent toilets is affecting 620 million children. In fact, a child under the age of 5 is dying every 2 minutes due to diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilets.

In the short term, this increases the risks of children falling ill and being infected by parasitic worms, leading to diarrhoea and anaemia. Recovering from an illness at home means a loss in school days, hindering the learning of children they must spend more time and effort to catch up. Even if the child is well enough to attend school, he might struggle to concentrate. In the long term, since these students are in the phase of life in which they are developing cognitively and physically, it is thus possible that their bodily functions are affected if they fall ill on a frequent basis. The bottom-line is that education does not come as a priority to good health, and health is heavily affected by access to clean water and sanitation.

In addition to the poor toilets, many schools only have mixed-gender toilets. This makes it difficult for girls to go to school especially when they hit puberty and need to clean themselves during menstrual periods. The lack of privacy and unsafe water deters girls from attending school, resulting in greater gender inequality. In the same report by UNICEF and WHO (2018), in 2016, 355 million girls were affected by the lack of facilities to wash their hands after changing sanitary pads.

Kelly Ann Naylor, the chief of water, sanitation and hygiene at UNICEF, puts into words the importance of sanitation and clean water very nicely: “If education is the key to helping children escape poverty, access to water and sanitation is key to helping children safely maximise their education. To neglect this is to be careless with the wellbeing and health of children.

Possible Solution

To emphasise the importance of toilets in Mozambique, InAGlobe partnered with SNV to seek a collaboration with local artisans (e.g. ceramicists, brick-makers etc.) to design affordable permanent toilets out of locally sourced materials. If these designs can be implemented into schools, it will not only help safeguard the health of the students, it will also encourage job creation and also lower carbon footprint.

 

2. Opportunity costs for households

Often in developing countries, even if education is free, the costs incurred from transportation, uniforms and textbooks (just to name a few) can substantially increase the cost of education for the family, especially if the family has many children. Moreover, children are often expected to contribute to the family’s income or to stay at home to help with the chores, such collecting water and firewood or taking care of the younger siblings.

This especially affects girls. The fact that girls get married off and become part of her husband’s family does not encourage the families of the girls to send them to school, since the income she gets will belong to her husband’s family. Furthermore, in the short-run, if the family has many children, they might choose to marry their daughters off once they are of age to lessen the financial burden on themselves. Hence, there is little to incentivise the family to warrant an expenditure on education for the girl. As a result of all these, drop-out rates increase, and gender inequality widens. This issue is further reinforced by the increased likelihood of becoming pregnant.

Possible Solution

Although technology might not have the ability to change cultural beliefs and traditions, technology can help reduce the opportunity costs of households. Having water storage systems or agricultural technology means the dependence on physical labour is reduced, which can possibly allow children to go to school. If these systems in place can aid the improvement of family’s income and induce a higher spending capacity, perhaps due to more efficient methods of processing the goods or the production of higher quality products, they might be more willing to send their children (regardless of gender) to school.

 

3. Crises and Conflicts (and Displaced People)

Crises and conflicts (as well as the aftermath), such as natural disasters, epidemics and political conflict can adversely affect education. During such situations, besides the destruction of schools, there is also the disruption of amenities and infrastructure such as water supply, transportation and electricity. With the lack of water, children are likely to fall ill and are unable to attend school (as mentioned earlier). With damaged roads, the journey to school may be unsafe or unpassable.

Particularly in times of political instability, danger is lurking everywhere. In recent history, it is not uncommon to see children recruited as child soldiers. This definitely disrupts the schooling of these children as now they are directly involved in the conflict, not to mention the underlying psychological effects of extreme violence and the physical legacy of war itself. Moreover, militia leaders often give drugs to the child soldiers to desensitise them against the acts they are carrying out. Child soldiers also take drugs to forget the memories of their former lives and continue to take it after coming out of the army as an act of denial to the acts they performed against their community. This makes it difficult for them to integrate into society because they become addicted and violent, which results in society rejecting them. They feel even more isolated and turn back to drugs, making this a vicious cycle.

Moreover, conflict often leads to displacement, forcing people into refugee camps or even to leave the country. This relocation can mean a change in educational system, language and teaching style for the children.

Delayed and slow schooling eventually leads to low productivity, which is an economic hurdle. Further, crises and conflicts are especially problematic given that priorities shift from making investments towards the future (such as with education) towards immediate survival-driven decision-making (such as fleeing), and subsequently upon the end of the crisis, the reconstruction of infrastructure rather than education.

Possible Solution

These events can cause great trauma to the children, affecting their ability to learn. This makes schools even more important as it can induce a sense of normality and also aid in the restoration of their lives, counteracting the psychological impact of the trauma.

Since the destruction of infrastructure is a common sight after a natural disaster, we can research into building materials that are stronger and at the same time affordable such that buildings like schools stay strong and stable. Also, these buildings can also serve the purpose of being a refuge place, reducing the need for people to relocate.

We can also make use of the internet cloud to store teaching materials to ensure nothing gets lost during emergency times and schools can resume more smoothly once things around stabilise. Mobile phones can also play an interesting role in the education of children in times of conflict. Viamo (formerly known as VOTO Mobile) uses interactive voice response (IVR) technology in a mobile device to deliver education. The material is related to the lesson content on radio, in which students can participate in live-polls or quizzes by dialling the hotline or through text. Xavier Project (a humanitarian organisation) collaborated with Eneza Education (a mobile course provider) to provide children in Kenya primary education using short messaging service (SMS). Besides receiving explanation on why the answer is correct or wrong, other services come with the SMS study tool such as Auto-Quizzes and live Ask-a-Teacher feature, enabling them to direct their questions to a qualified teacher.

 

4. Social Stigmatisation

In many places, stigmatisation arises as a result of deep-rooted religious and cultural beliefs or due to the lack of awareness and hence lack of tolerance. However, do note that this attitude is not necessarily uniform across the community.

Developing countries contain 80% of the population of children with disabilities. These children are often excluded from education because of the lack of appropriate resources and expertise to teach them. However, false beliefs on disabilities also contribute to the inaccessibility of education for such students. Some beliefs include: a punishment from God (or bad karma), a demonic possession, and an ancestral curse. This results in not only rejection of school admission for these children, but also parents protecting their children from negative perceptions by keeping their children away from social activities. According to the United Nations, 38% of caregivers of children with disabilities in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia reported doing the latter action. Even the children of disabled parents suffer from the same fate even if they do not have any disabilities.

Children with albinism are one such disadvantaged group. According to Standing Voice (accessed in 2019), the prevalence rate is higher in Sub-Sharan Africa, with 1 in 1,400 people suffer from albinism in Tanzania compared to the global average of 1 in 18,000. There are misconceptions that children with albinism have a shorter lifespan, hence communities are not keen to devote resources to their education. Moreover, besides being bullied in public which can affect mental health, people with albinism are believed to possess magic powers and hence are often abducted or killed and mutilated for their body parts. With these dangers, families would rather protect their children at home than to send them to school.

Myths and superstitions extend to girls menstruating as well. In Nepal, Chhaupadi is practiced, in which Hindu women who are menstruating are not allowed indoors, including their own homes. This is because they are considered to be impure. This inevitably results in the loss of school days. It should be noted, however, that the Nepalese government is taking steps to stop this practice, in which they banned the practice in 2005 and criminalised it in 2018. Knowing that it is a long-running tradition, the government also stops giving state support to families that practices this act and families that stops their daughters from going to school.

Besides cultural beliefs, the lack of awareness also prevents the education of children in some communities. The high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is no less amongst children. 1.9 million out of the 2.5 million children, age 15 and under, living with HIV/AIDS are in Sub-Saharan Africa (Medscape, 2018). They experience a degree of stigmatisation that prevents them from attending school at times. This is fostered by the incorrect belief that the virus can be transmitted through human contact rather than fluid exchange.

Possible Solution

Realising that proportionally, there are many forms of disability that are more prevalent in countries that cannot afford current assistive technologies such as teaching aids, affordable tailored technologies have immense potential towards creating inclusion. Due to the focus of both the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, and Jaime’s previous focus of humanitarian work and engineering, InAGlobe has a special focus on assistive technologies, collaborating closely with the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust. Through technology, we can lessen the burden of disability and increase the inclusiveness of society, playing a part in ensuring that every individual gets a chance in school, eventually contributing actively in the economy and hopefully, reduce the burden of stigma.


These issues are multi-faceted and there is not a single solution that can solve all of them. Although many of these problems are social problems and technology might not be able to change human mindsets, innovative technological solutions can be developed to alleviate some of these problems. We need to constantly question ourselves: How can technology play a role in, directly or indirectly, increasing education rates?  Who is not being included in the current system, and how can this be changed? At InAGlobe, these are the kinds of problems we want to raise to higher education institutions to inspire them to come up with innovative solutions. By raising awareness, we hope to play a part in global education to empower the lives of individuals and communities.

 Written By: Jaynell Ng (22/06/2019) - Outreach Volunteer of InAGlobe Education. 

References:
 Ahmed, M. (n.d.). InnoCentive Custom Challenges. Retrieved from https://www.omnicompete.com/crisisandconflictedtech.html

 Albinism. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.standingvoice.org/albinism

 Baker, C. (2018, November 21). Children with albinism find it hard to navigate school. Teachers can help. Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-children-albinism-hard-school-teachers.html

 Bindu, L. (2010, January 15). Drug Addiction Hinders Child Soldier Reintegration. Retrieved from https://iwpr.net/global-voices/drug-addiction-hinders-child-soldier

 Briggs, B. (2018, December 28). Education under attack and battered by natural disasters in 2018. Retrieved from https://theirworld.org/news/education-under-attack-in-2018-conflicts-natural-disasters

 Education . (n.d.). Retrieved from https://data.worldbank.org/topic/education

 Franklin, A., Lund, P., Bradbury-Jones, C., & Taylor, J. (2018). Children with albinism in African regions: Their rights to ‘being’ and ‘doing’. BMC Int. Health Hum. Rights.,18(2). doi:10.1186/s12914-018-0144-8

 Gulland, A. (2019, June 11). Lack of toilets and water at school puts girls' education at risk . Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/lack-toilets-water-school-puts-girls-education-risk/

 Kadariya, S., & Aro, A. R. (2015). Chhaupadi practice in Nepal – analysis of ethical aspects. Medicolegal and Bioethics,5, 53-58. doi:10.2147/mb.s83825

 Kathmandu, R. A. (2019, January 14). Destroy 'period huts' or forget state support: Nepal moves to end practice. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jan/14/destroy-period-huts-or-forget-state-support-nepal-moves-to-end-practice-chhaupadi

 Leege, R. (2015, September 17). Education to Children in Crisis and Conflict Zones. Retrieved from https://businessfightspoverty.org/articles/education-to-children-in-crisis-and-conflict-zones/

 Literacy Rates Continue to Rise from One Generation to the Next[PDF]. (2017, September). UNESCO.
 http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs45-literacy-rates-continue-rise-generation-to-next-en-2017.pdf

 Lone, P. (n.d.). Commentary: Keeping girls in school. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/pon96/edgirls.htm

 McCarthy, D. (2018, September 4). Back to school: Young children most at risk from lack of water, sanitation and hygiene in schools. Retrieved from https://www.wateraid.org/uk/media/back-to-school-young-children-most-at-risk-from-lack-of-water-sanitation-and-hygiene-in

 Nebre, M. (2018, May 15). Social discrimination against people with albinism[PDF].
 https://www.csustan.edu/sites/default/files/groups/University Honors Program/Journals_two/17_nebre.pdf

 Primary School Age Education. (2018, July). Retrieved from https://data.unicef.org/topic/education/primary-education/

 Rivera, D. M., & Frye, R. E. (2018, November 16). What are the statistics on pediatric HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa? Retrieved from https://www.medscape.com/answers/965086-160121/what-are-the-statistics-on-pediatric-hiv-infection-in-sub-saharan-africa

 Roser, M., & Ortiz-Ospina, E. (2016, August 31). Global Rise of Education. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/global-rise-of-education

 Secondary education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://data.unicef.org/topic/education/secondary-education/UNICEF

 Talbot, C. (n.d.). Education in Conflict Emergencies in Light of the post-2015 MDGs and EFA Agendas[PDF]. NORRAG. http://www.norrag.org/fileadmin/Working_Papers/Education_in_conflict_emergencies_Talbot.pdf

 The Importance of Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pearson.com/corporate/about-pearson/the-importance-of-education.html

 Toolkit on Disability for Africa[PDF]. (n.d.). United Nations.
 https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/documents/disability/Toolkit/Cultures-Beliefs-Disability.pdf

 Verbruggen, Y. (2018, August 24). Young children most at risk from lack of water, sanitation and hygiene in schools. Retrieved from https://www.wateraid.org/uk/media/young-children-most-at-risk-from-lack-of-water-sanitation-and-hygiene-in-schools

 VOTO Mobile. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://allchildrenreading.org/winners/voto-mobile/

 Xavier Project. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://allchildrenreading.org/winners/xavier-project/

 

Education – A Tool for Change

We usually associate education with academic knowledge obtained through institutions, such as primary and secondary schools and universities. Education can also refer to vocational training, where practical skills are obtained instead of purely academic skills. However, is education the equivalent of schooling? The answer to that – sometimes, but not always. As defined by Mark K Smith, education is “a process of inviting truth and possibility, of encouraging and giving time to discovery.”  Essentially, education encourages independent thinking and the capacity to act upon these thoughts. It is the process of making sense of this world through one’s experiences and observations. Though education is not merely a qualification or certificate, this is not to disregard the importance of academic institutions.

Education

Schools can help inspire students to question the things around them and to seek truth. It is this sense of curiosity and imagination that increases creativity levels, and thus promote the development of innovative solutions. Ultimately, we would want a society in which people can be discerning and are able to form independent conclusions based on given facts. This diversity in thinking can enable better consensus between individuals because of the different angles from which different people see. InAGlobe complements higher education institutions by creating collaborations with humanitarian organisations, striving to raise social awareness and global acumen among students, and give rise to a new wave of humanitarian engineering. Hopefully, this can spark a collective sense of social responsibility and inspire them to bring positive impact to the global community.

The benefits of education are numerous. Zooming in on individuals, as mentioned before, education aids in our thinking and discernment. Since these are soft skills that employers seek, higher degrees of education enable higher chances of finding a higher paying job. This allows people to raise their standards of living and the benefits can trickle down to the next generation. Moreover, education helps make people aware and in turn be adaptable to face unexpected situations.

For example, sanitation and safe water would be ensured if the individual knows the importance of hygiene. One cause of children not going to school is parasitic worm infections, which has a higher prevalence in children. Walking around barefooted and consuming contaminated food and water are some ways that the worms enter the blood circulation system and gut, leading to anaemia and malnutrition. This shows how important hygiene is in protecting education, as poor health is a barrier to learning. Also, mothers who have some degree of health and nutritional education will provide their children with a healthier and more balanced diet, avoiding unhealthy foods and unsafe sources. This can reduce the rates of parasitic worm infections as well. These two examples promote the prevention of malnutrition and avoidance of diseases, leading to a healthier population. With good health, people are enabled, empowered and unhindered by preventable causes, allowing them to reach their fullest potential. Improved health is heavily important in lifting individuals out of poverty. And in turn, deparasiting is seen as one of the most effective solutions to keeping children in school.

Zooming out to the community, an educated workforce brings about increased productivity, driving the economy. The gains from an improved economy can be used to invest in other areas such as education, healthcare and transport. Improvements in infrastructure and amenities can increase the accessibility to schools, hence further improving education rates, leading to a positive feedback loop of growth. Also, the ability to form independent comments and conclusions can aid in political stability since people can discern truths and vote for people who are genuine in improving lives in the community.

By developing technological solutions that can aid in the education of children in impoverished environments, we open the door to equipping the future with the tools and the skills to better determine their futures. Due to the focus of both the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, and Jaime’s previous focus of humanitarian work and engineering, InAGlobe has a special focus on assistive technologies. In the realm of education there is an imperative element of inclusion, not simply the enabling of basic education systems. Children with special needs across the developing world suffer from extreme marginalisation, and there are countless organisations working on aiding shift towards social, economic and educational inclusion of these children. Whether it is a child with impaired vision, an amputee or a victim of Polio, tailored technologies have immense potential towards creating inclusion. This is magnified when realising that proportionally, there are many forms of disability that are more prevalent in countries that cannot afford current assistive technologies, such as teaching aids. This can be either increased rates of cataracts due to dust or traumatic injury, or higher proportions of amputees due to landmine heritage. Technology can create productive agents in society and the economy, as well as lessen the burden of disability, if only they receive adequate attention from engineers and technologists.

InAGlobe wants to go a step further, the development of technologies is but a nominal aspect to its intended impact in education. By incorporating projects into the curriculum of higher education institutions where students become the engineers, scientists, mathematicians, technologists that build the world thereafter, we seek to create generations of professionals versed in problem solving with humanitarian engineering constraints. It will expose the technological minds of the future to challenges that will be shared globally due to the interconnectivity of the environment and of people. Moreover, the exercise of collaborating with individuals in wildly different contexts with different cultures grows the social awareness and global acumen of the students. Also, by including such projects in the curriculum, InAGlobe gives exposure to entities that work in this problem space that are often resource-constrained when seeking talent. By shifting our mindset through education that includes emerging markets, humanitarian engineering may become a mainstream job market, rather than niche. This is likely the most important aspect of InAGlobe, and it is the same reason that we are writing these essay series: to create awareness and understanding about the imperative of global collaboration towards the forthcoming challenges.


Written By: Jaynell Ng (27/05/2019) - Outreach Volunteer of InAGlobe Education.
https://examplanning.com/importance-of-education-comprehensive-article/ 
http://www.mheducation.co.uk/openup/chapters/9780335223510.pdf 
http://infed.org/mobi/what-is-education-a-definition-and-discussion/ 
http://www.cedol.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/28-31-2008.pdf 
https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/10-barriers-to-education-around-the-world-2/ 
https://theirworld.org/news/10-reasons-why-children-don-8217-t-go-to-school 
https://www.cochrane.org/CD000371/INFECTN_deworming-school-children-developing-countries
https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/what-is-deworming-how-it-works-why-its-needed-5301325/
https://www.who.int/elena/titles/deworming/en/

Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking, or systems science came slowly into the scene with a set of academic dialogues between experts in Biology, Psychology and Ecology. The discovery of the Cell, the Theory of Evolution and Genomics catalysed these conversations (Capra, 2019). During the 1920s and 1930s, scientists began to observe levels of complexity in their discoveries that they were unable to fully comprehend using Descartes’s reductionist approach to science. It took almost half a century with the invention of the Von Neuman’s computer and Complexity Theory before the non-linear mathematics that was used to describe complex models could be solved (without linearizing). Conventional linear thinking has been incredibly useful in realms such as medical diagnostics and quantum physics, but it has provoked what Fritjof Capra describes as a “Crisis of Perception”, calling for a change in paradigm of world view. In order to tackle the interconnected and interdisciplinary challenges, it is imperative to admit and analyse the multi-facetted nature of a specific challenge and find the points of leverage. Capra identifies 4 dimensions to the Systems View of Life (Capra, 2019), aspects that technology can have an effect on but must also consider when being designed:

  1. Biological
  2. Cognitive
  3. Social
  4. Ecological

“ A living (biological, cognitive, social or ecological) system is an integrated whole whose properties cannot be reduced to those of smaller parts.”

-Fritjof Capra (Capra, 2019)

In essence, Systems Thinking is a conceptual framework. At the core, we have the science of relationships, the interactions and dynamics (flows) that exist between what Donella Meadows labelled as stocks.These building blocks give rise to the “Bathtub Theorem” of economics, which is essentially the smallest unit of a system. In this case, a bathtub is supplied with water through a tap (flow in), and water exits through leakage or the drain (flows out); where the bathtub holds a stock of water (Meadows, 2009)(or whatever liquid you enjoy bathing in). Another key concept in Systems science is that of feedback and causal loops, the first to emerge were those of positive and negative feedback loops (represented as Circles of Causality) which led to the first two archetypes: Balancing (negative – reduces the difference between the disturbed state and the goal-state)and Reinforcing (positive – accelerates the present trend of a process) (Capra, 2019). The concept of delay is crucial to understanding these circles of causality.

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The ‘dynamic-yet-stable’ state of systems is a key characteristic which allows a system to adapt to changing environments. From this concept arises the term “Structural Coupling” (Capra, 2019), entailing that a system is structurally coupled to its environment, which when disturbed adapts and thus learns, setting a historic in the system itself. One can quickly see how systems science suddenly becomes incredibly complex. Hence, the importance of applying non-linear mathematics to Complexity Theory, where the solutions are not a number but instead a pattern or a geometry (such as fractal geometry). Without going further into this, I want to introduce what are considered the building blocks of Systems analysis, several archetypes identified by Peter Senge in his book The Fifth Discipline. By generalising the dynamics of a system you are trying to analyse into one of the archetypes described by Senge, you can quickly understand what type of system you are dealing with (Stroh, 2015)(the following link leads to a PDF that has an explanation of these: https://thesystemsthinker.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Systems-Archetypes-I-TRSA01_pk.pdf(Kim, 2000)). The flowchart below is a useful tool to navigate these archetypes. This is a convenient way of diagnosing what trends exist in a system and what kind of interventions would be successful. Bear in mind, that systems can have multiple archetypes embedded within, so amongst different feedback loops one can find different dynamics. This also means that multi-faceted interventions are usually necessary for tackling challenges systemically.

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In order to help make these abstract concepts appear more practical I will present a series of examples that have helped me grasp the essence of systems thinking. During the 1980s, European countries along with the US and Australia were experiencing a pandemic of HIV/AIDS. Without a cure, and with little hope of finding any in the near future, a systems analysis of the incidence and spread of disease allowed mapping of transmission channels and find leverage points. These leverage points were locations where interventions would be most successful and efficient, which was imperative for what was becoming an incredibly expensive disease. This exercise showed that most of the infections were occurring in users of injected drugs, such as heroin and other opioids, as a result of sharing and re-using needles. By identifying the main cause of transmission, instead of focusing all resources into research and development of cures, governments and health care systems intervened by providing sterile needles for drug-users (free of cost) and places for them to be disposed of safely. This hugely decelerated the propagation of the disease. Such intervention was critical to saving economically in the long-run and prevented an innumerable amount of infections (Burack & Bangsberg, 1998) (National Academy of Sciences & Institute of Medecine, 1995) (Stimson, 1995) (Wodak & McLeod, 2008). This in turn has allowed a larger proportion of the budget to be dedicated to the identification of the cure. This is a good example of a systemic intervention to a challenge.

At the heart of one of Capra’s narratives in the Systems View of Life is that of the Web of Life, which supports itself not only on the shift from food chains to food webs, but also on evolutionary theory. Most specifically the advancements brought by Lynn Margulis and her theory of Symbiogenesis, leading to the Gaia Hypothesis co-developed with James Lovelock (Capra, 2019). The Gaia Hypothesis suggests that living organisms form complex, synergistic and self-regulating systems with the inorganic matter that surrounds them, such that life is perpetuated. This suggests that organisms co-evolve as the environment changes. The Gaia Hypothesis has in turn led to the philosophical and ecological movement of Deep Ecology, where the worth of all living beings exists regardless of their instrumental utility by humans (Capra, 2019). The argument sets itself on a balance that exists between all the members within a system, due to the high degree of interconnectivity, once again observing the relationships between them. This can be taken another step further and extended to the interconnectivity between the economy and the ecological framework known as Gaia (Capra & Jakobsen, 2017). Capra argues that humans are members of at least two core communities on Earth, that of ‘Humanity’ and that of ‘Oikos’. Within Humanity, we have an imperative to respect and exercise everyone’s human rights, defending each persons’ dignity, such that the system is inclusive. And with Oikos, humans are part of the Earth’s biosphere, sharing our space with all the other living organisms. In recognition of this following the 1992 World Summit, the Earth Charter was devised by a multidisciplinary team, a document that summarises how we must “join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.” (Earth Charter Commission, 2000).

Due to the nature of InAGlobe’s remit, I want to bring focus to the work of David P. Stroh in Systems Thinking for Social Change. There are two examples that I find particularly helpful for understanding the practicality of systems thinking: Homelessness and Criminality. In the thematic of homelessness, focusing on metrics and siloed organisations shows an example of unintended opposition. Temporary shelters are incredibly important in ensuring that homeless people do not sleep rough, and are an invaluable stepping stone into permanent housing. Now, say the metric that temporary shelters report on is the percentage of occupied beds. If this number is increasingly high, close to 100% (and above) a temporary shelter can justify that they require more funding to install more beds. In turn, having more beds will take more people off the streets temporarily and make the problem of homelessness be perceived as ameliorated. This intervention could be seen as a “Quick Fix”, because the metric of number of homeless people has not been reduced, and if anything, has increased (due to the parallel with increased demand for beds). On the other hand, affordable, permanent housing with the supporting services necessary to introduce homeless people into the formal economy as well as treat those who abuse substances, would permanently help remove people from the streets. Yet, if temporary shelters are exerting pressure for funding, budgets for permanent housing and inclusion services suffer. Stroh states that the first step to solving a problem systemically is to convene all the stakeholders in a problem space and define a set of shared goals, in this case: Reduce the amount of homelessnessand define a representative metric, for example,number of individuals transferring from temporary shelters into permanent housing (Stroh, 2015).

The second example, that of criminality, looks at the mass incarceration in the United States. Once again, public perception plays a crucial role in this process by influencing legislation. In order to make the streets safe from crime, criminals are incarcerated. The motif for incarceration is variable, but let’s say that petty crimes (generally in a cumulative sense) lead to eventual incarceration (as do violent crimes). By incarcerating criminals, the immediate effect is that there are less criminals on the streets, and thus the streets appear safer. Petty criminals spend their sentence in prisons where they harden up, through exposure to more violent individuals, and come out into society with a criminal record that gets in the way of them participating in the formal economy normally. This incarceration of the petty criminal has bred an alienated hardened criminal who is now more likely to commit a crime, and especially a violent crime. Hence, the street is now less safe than before the initial incarceration. This in turn leads to harsher laws on criminality, which leads to more individuals being incarcerated, reinforcing the original problem – this illustrates a system of Shifting the Burden/Escalation. This goes into the argument that Michel Foucault so well presented, where punishment in its historical sense rarely rehabilitates individuals, and prisons are but an exponent of this. The argument that Stroh provides is that legislation must have an outlook on reinsertion such that petty criminals do not recidivate, entering a spiral of increasing alienation and aggressiveness (Stroh, 2015). Bear in mind that both examples are an extremely simplified and condensed account of what Stroh presents in his book, and I strongly suggest picking up a copy if you found these topics interesting.

By understanding relationships between living organisms and the non-living environment, InAGlobe seeks to utilise systems thinking to analyse problem spaces in proposed innovation projects. In this manner, interventions must consider possible side-effects and domino effects, as well as providing the most efficient approach to problem solving. There is not a day that passes where systems thinking is not useful in our process, whether it is in analysing problem spaces for innovation or for management of students and stakeholders, as well as internal processes. For anyone interested in diving deeper into this topic, I strongly advise looking into the referenced material for this piece as they are of immense quality.

Written by Jaime Aguilera Garcia (16/5/2019), CEO & Co-Founder of InAGlobe Education



Bibliography



Burack, J. H. & Bangsberg, D., 1998. Epidemiology and HIV Transmission in Injection Drug Users.



Capra, F., 2019. CapraCourse: Systems View of Life. London, UK: s.n.

Capra, 

F. & Jakobsen, O. D., 2017. A conceptual framework for ecological economics based on systemic principles of life. International Journal of Social Economics, 44(6), pp. 831-845.



Earth Charter Commission, 2000. The Earth Charter. Johannesburg, South Africa: s.n.



Kim, D. H., 2000. The Systems Thinker Toolbox: SYSTEMS ARCHETYPES I. [Online] 
Available at: https://thesystemsthinker.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Systems-Archetypes-I-TRSA01_pk.pdf
[Accessed 29 4 2019].



Meadows, D., 2009. Thinking In Systems. London, UK: Earthscan.



National Academy of Sciences & Institute of Medecine, 1995. Preventing HIV Transmission: The Role of Sterile Needles and Bleach. Washington D.C., National Academy of Sciences & Institute of Medecine.



Stimson, G. V., 1995. Aids and injecting drug use in the United Kingdom, 1987–1993: The policy response and the prevention of the epidemic. Social Science & Medicine, 41(5), pp. 699-716.



Stroh, D. P., 2015. Systems Thinking for Social Change. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.



Wodak, A. & McLeod, L., 2008. The Role of Harm Reduction in Controlling HIV Among Injecting Drug Users. AIDS, 22(2), pp. 81-92.

Understanding Human-Centred Design

HCD

Human-centred design is a framework that emphasises the human perspective in all steps of the design process. It serves to provide the end user with a product that they will truly want, need and find useful. It is also often seen as something more than just a design framework: it is a mindset and a tool that intends to create a long-lasting, positive impact on the user.

According to IDEO.org, the approach to human-centred design consists of 3 phases: Inspiration, Ideation and Implementation.

HCD - Ideo.org

[Image taken from ideo.org]

Inspiration: The aim is to learn and truly understand exactly what the user needs. There are a series of steps that designers follow in this phase that enable them to deepen their understanding of the requirements for the project:

HCD - Inspiration

Ideation: This gives the designer the opportunity to make sense of their findings, draw meaning from them, and prototype potential solutions. This can again be broken down into a series of straightforward steps:

HCD - Ideation

Implementation: This is the phase that brings the solution to life. By following a co-design process with the people involved, the solution is more likely to be something they utilise and hold agency over. The steps are as follows:

HCD - Implementation

It is clear to see that this has all the makings of a successful method. The process of iterating and continuously developing and adjusting ideas for the benefit of people leads to enhanced user satisfaction, which leads to greater success for the business. There are numerous examples, in different industries, of this working in the favour of both the business and the consumer. Recently, companies such as IKEA and Apple have chosen to focus on the emotional relation between their products and the consumer, rather than focusing purely on technology.

A proponent of this approach is Tricia Wang, a ‘global tech ethnographer’. She focuses on ‘thick data’ (small-scale qualitative, human-centred data) rather than ‘big data’ (large-scale, quantitative analyses). She believes that thick data, though smaller in scale, is crucial in finding out what users truly want or need. Whilst big data can be useful to uncover patterns, it is thick data that provides context and detail to these patterns. Therefore, she believes integrating the quantitative approach and the human-centred approach can yield the best results.

This is not to say that human-centred design does not come with its drawbacks. It has often been criticised for stifling true creativity. It has also been argued that this type of design does not push boundaries, as it only attempts solve to present-day problems instead of thinking ahead.

Human centred design is particularly important in the developing world, hence our adoption of it at InAGlobe. By liaising with stakeholders on the ground, we can understand what it is that communities truly need and practice inspiration alongside them. With contextual constraints in mind, we can hand over projects to academics at Imperial, and other universities to carry out the ideation and implementation phases. In particular, two of these projects involve human-centred design: a mathematical brailler for unlocking numeracy and a pill-organiser to facilitate self-medication.

The first is a project proposed by Kilimanjaro Blind Trust, operating in East Africa: an electrical brailler that includes a series of design constraints that will allow visually impaired children to unlock their abilities in STEM. Currently, numeracy levels amongst VI individuals is low because the focus of their education surrounds a braillers that tackle literacy. A user-centred approach has been taken to cater for the specific needs of visually impaired children, and for the educators such that the device can be easily integrated in their current educational practice. This ranges from the inclusion of mathematical symbols to various refreshing working lines or affordability and energy requirements.

Meanwhile, the pill-organiser has been taken up by a final year MEng Biomedical Engineering student and is currently undergoing prototyping cycles. This involves mapping the user needs: understanding that young adults and children are the main focus, and therefore predicting the conditions the pillbox will be exposed to and how this affects engineering constraints. For instance, clear audio feedback is crucial for blind children.

Both projects directly reflect the needs of communities in developing countries, and we hope that their implementation can have a long-term, positive influence on the lives of those affected by the issues.

Human-centred design is a process that we advise anyone working in any form of interface with users to incorporate, so that the usability can be as smooth and relevant as possible. It will allow entrepreneurs to adjust prototypes accordingly before great investment is made, and improve the experience of stakeholders. There are many resources out there which can be utilised for free, ranging from courses on +Acumen or tool kits on https://www.ideo.org/ and https://movestheneedle.com.  


Written By: Kavya Ganabady (23/04/2019) - Outreach Volunteer of InAGlobe Education.

Resources:
https://www.ideo.org/approach 
https://medium.com/ethnography-matters/why-big-data-needs-thick-data-b4b3e75e3d7
https://movestheneedle.com

For more information on Tricia Wang, see her TedTalk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk35J2u8KqY

What Sustainability Means to Us

Sustainability. In recent times, it seems that the word is increasingly under our radars. Perhaps this is due to the heightened awareness that our modern, urban lifestyles are so deeply unsustainable. We are consuming fossil fuels and other non-renewable materials at an alarming rate and churning out unfathomable quantities of landfill waste. We are wreaking havoc on our planet and inadvertently harming others and ourselves in our increasingly consumer-driven cultures. But can we do something about it? 

 Many organisations believe that we can, by making changes to the way we impact the environment. In fact, 3 pillars of sustainability were identified in the World Summit on Social Development (2005). If we adhere to these 3 pillars, we may be able to make a positive change. They are as follows: 

sustainability

1. Environmental Protection  

The first pillar is perhaps the most obvious one. Many feel it is the primary concern for the future of humanity. It defines how we should study and protect the environment. It also concerns how technology will drive us towards a greener future. The development of novel technology is the key to protecting the environment of the future from the potential damage that technological advances could bring.  

2. Social Development 

There are many points to make about social development. For businesses, it places importance on awareness of what goes on in every aspect of the supply chain. For instance, is child labour used for cheaper manufacture? Are workers being paid fair wages? There is an increasing demand for products that are made ethically – that is, with the health and social wellbeing of workers in mind. Another element of social development is education – encouraging people to participate in environmental sustainability and teaching them about the effects of environmental protection, as well as warning of the dangers if we cannot achieve our goals.  

3. Economic Development 

To be sustainable, a business must be profitable. However, this profit cannot come at the cost of the other two pillars. Therefore, this pillar is about incentivising sustainability, so that businesses and other organisations adhere to environmental policies and guidelines. One such incentive is the fact that, nowadays, appearing to be more ‘eco-friendly’ is often more profitable. 

 Whilst many organisations in developed countries are attempting to alter their business models to better adhere to these pillars, the lack of resources in developing countries is hindering such progress. 

 Whilst changing business models can have some positive impact on these issues, they cannot solve the problem entirely. With the rapid increase in population, there will soon be a huge increase in demand for basic amenities such as clean water, energy and food. Developing countries are particularly afflicted by this, as an increase in population makes it more difficult to maintain sanitation, find housing and supply energy, to name just a few problems. This is where science and technology come in. Novel technologies to battle this issue need to be developed – and quickly.  

 The problem is that innovative technologies are designed for the West, and are then adapted to fit the context of developing countries. This often comes with unforeseen challenges that hinder the implementation of potentially useful technology. This is where InAGlobe Education comes in. Our aim is to find out exactly which problems need solving, via contact with partners on the ground. By having a field partner, we can make technology ethically, social, economically and culturally inclusive. The task of coming up with solutions is then given to scientists and engineers. Projects that are proposed should follow the three pillars closely, they should consider the environmental, social and economic implications; this will often include characteristics such as low-cost, clean and energy efficient. They must also be carried out using local resources, local logistics channels and local labour. Education is then provided to give the local population the power to maintain their new resources. With all of these aspects in mind, InAGlobe hopes to make technology as inclusive as possible. 

 This model therefore adheres to all the pillars of sustainability. By using local resources and emphasising the use of renewable materials, the environmental pillar is fulfilled. The inherent nature of the projects results in the health and social wellbeing of the local population being increased and maintained at a higher level. In terms of the economic pillar, providing education gives the local population greater autonomy. It means they can live without having to consistently depend on the help of NGOs or other charitable organisations, which ultimately benefits both parties. 

 Ultimately, we hope to expose future engineers and scientists to challenges found in the developing world, so that they can carry these lessons into their professional careers. We hope that by sourcing projects with contextual constraints, we can further the development of technologies that are low-cost, energy efficient and clean. 


 

Written By: Kavya Ganabady (02/04/2019) - Outreach Volunteer of InAGlobe Education.

Resources:
United Nations, General Assembly. 2005. 2005 World Summit Outcome. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/hiv/universalaccess2010/worldsummit.pdf  

Rethinking Innovation: Why the World Needs a Frame-shift

Innovation is a term we often hear. We say that Apple is innovative, so is Facebook and Dyson. However, innovation goes beyond the realm of technology. Innovation is the initiation of an idea through imagination and ultimately, the invention of a novel product when there is enough information. That seems to be a lot of ‘i’s to take in. Basically:  

Innovation = Information + Imagination + Ideation + Initiation + Invention

With these concepts in place, it’s no wonder innovation is often associated with digital technology in the 21st century because there have been many ground-breaking digital products. With the same concepts, this was how society advanced in the Renaissance Period with the emergence of new philosophical ideas and in the Industrial Revolution which had the aim to achieve greatest efficiency.  

It is with innovation that humanity can keep advancing and achieve even higher standards of living. However, those who really need innovation are not getting it. This can due to how businesses operate in a free market. The demand for the innovation might be there, but those who would truly benefit from it just cannot afford the product. Hence, companies would reduce their cost by placing their products in markets that can afford their products. Even if companies have the aim to create low-cost products, many cannot afford the goods since each cent spent is one less cent available for competing needs.  

Despite the struggles, low-resource environments are a fertile ground to rethink technologies, especially in the area of sustainability and affordability. There has been successful innovation that sprouted from such environments, from energy to agriculture, from healthcare to education. One very successful example is M-Pesa, which enabled 93% of the Kenyan population to have access to mobile payments. In a place where it is difficult to travel from rural areas to the city, M-Pesa connects these places and allows people to send money to their loved ones whenever necessary.  

Here are some terms often heard in these places: Innovation (enlarged)

1. Frugal Innovation
More and more people are thinking of how to develop high-quality products while reducing the complexities and increasing the value of the products. This is called Frugal Innovation. One such example is a fridge made of clay that does not require electricity created by Mansukhbhai Prajapati after an earthquake struck India and all he had was clay.  

2. Reverse Engineering
Reverse engineering happens when innovation done in less-developed communities is brought into developed communities. This is what Beth Kolko and her company, Shift Labs, believes in and is doing. By focusing on the needs of less-developed communities, such as unstable electricity supply and shortage of manpower, the company develops low-cost medical devices which managed to get the attention of some US hospitals.  

3. Leapfrogging Technology
The immediate adoption of modern technology and bypassing intermediate technological stages is referred to as leapfrogging. For example, a HIV clinic in South Africa makes use of a robotic pharmacy system to prescribe medication to patients. Using this system reduces the errors made and the waiting time.  

Indeed, a society’s status is not solely driven by innovation. But if the United Nations recognise increasing innovation as one of the sustainable development goals for 2030, innovation must have a significant role to play in lifting people out of poverty. Like how the UN is proposing a program called ‘STI doctors’ (or ‘Science, Technology and Innovation Doctors’) which consists of foreign professionals to solve technical bottlenecks, InAGlobe Education is also seeking to fill up any voids in resources and knowledge low-resource environments might have. We hope to encourage academic institutions to develop innovative solutions for specific problems a society might have. We believe that innovation has a large role to play in improving the livelihoods of those most in need.   

Written By: Jaynell Ng (15/03/2019) - Outreach Volunteer of InAGlobe Education.

Resources:  
1. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/feb/08/obsession-with-ending-poverty-is-where-development-is-going-wrong
2. https://www.fastcompany.com/90278790/how-we-can-encourage-innovative-solutions-to-poverty-and-inequality
3. https://businesscollective.com/how-the-leapfrog-effect-may-affect-your-business/index.html
4. https://www.cam.ac.uk/frugalinnovation
5. https://www.cairn.info/revue-journal-of-innovation-economics-2016-3-page-9.htm
6. https://eu.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/07/09/ozy-third-world-innovation/12401465/
7. https://mag.n26.com/m-pesa-how-kenya-revolutionized-mobile-payments-56786bc09ef
8. https://singularityhub.com/2018/05/06/leapfrogging-tech-is-changing-millions-of-lives-heres-how/#sm.000jltwycsjcd2w11rp1f175ch1wx  

 

Introduction to InAGlobe’s Backbone Themes Essay Series

More than ever, in a world of increasing complexity, we need to become aware of the countless challenges that the forthcoming generations will need to tackle, we need to be aware of what is happening. This sounds journalistic, but the difference is that a lot of information is already there, we just need to interpret it, we need to understand it. At InAGlobe we see our mission as far more than simply building partnerships towards humanitarian innovation. We believe that we have a responsibility in bringing understanding and exposure to the topics that we engage with day-in and day-out, those that feed ambitions that have an element of fantasy. By equipping individuals with the tools to understand and tackle complex problems we will be propagating a narrative that requires as many people as we can possibly involve. Second of all these are topics we love thinking and talking about, so ever more the joy!

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Over the next few months, we will re-purpose the blog that was losing traction, in favour of furthering operations. Do more, talk less. But now, by talking more we involve more, we engage more, we educate more. This seems a lot more like InAGlobe. I am pleased to announce a series of short essays written by the team at InAGlobe surrounding the topics of relevance to our vision, mission and operations. In the essays we will cover topics ranging from the most basic elements that guide us, such as sustainability, education and innovation, and tools that we use everyday such systems thinking and human-centred design. We will also explore topics related to the projects currently and prospectively running within Imperial College London. These include topics such as assistive technologies, infectious diseases, inclusive technology as well as sanitation and climate change. We have followed a structure which contextualises these in terms of tackling the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as these are the defined standards which humanity should be seeking to reach upon the end of the next decade. There are 17 SDGs, and we don’t claim to tackle all of them, but they are often problems that are interconnected in between them, and so it is important to consider the impact of each solution to a problem far past the individual SDG that you are measuring. Although not immediately obvious, a good example is those living in poverty that are seeing the biggest negative impact due to climate change, such as farmers or herders living in the Sahel impacted by desertification. Climate change is most taxing on those that have fewest alternatives.

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By publishing these essays we seek to be more explicit about the work that we do at InAGlobe and the things that we care about. We hope that this brings you closer to our cause and may engage you in some way, even externally to InAGlobe. We want to partake in a global frameshift that allows people to make educated decisions and share the responsibility in making planet Earth the best version of itself that it can be. InAGlobe seeks to contribute to a minute aspect of the challenge, and we want every single person that reads these pieces to be a flagship towards building a better and fairer world.

 

Written by Jaime Aguilera Garcia (11/04/2019) -CEO and Co-founder of InAGlobe Education.