D-Lab is a program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that fosters the development of appropriate technologies and sustainable solutions within the framework of international development. D-Lab’s mission is to improve the quality of life of low-income households through the creation and implementation of low cost technologies. D-Lab’s portfolio of technologies also serves as an educational vehicle that allows students to gain an optimistic and practical understanding of their roles in alleviating poverty.
There are currently sixteen different academic offerings that make up the suite of D-Lab classes, falling into the broad categories of Development, Design and Dissemination. All D-Lab courses are based on the same values and principles of providing experiential learning, using technology to address poverty, building the local creative capacity, promoting local innovation, valuing indigenous knowledge, fostering participatory development and co-creation, and building sustainable organizations and partnerships.
D-Lab is an ambitious program--one that seeks to give each student a deep and meaningful experience and that is committed to making a long-lasting impact in the communities where we work. This cannot happen remotely, and thus D-Lab provides an opportunity for fieldwork to each student and maintains strong relationships with partner organizations. As a result, D-Lab offers a very unique educational opportunity for university students.
D-Lab excels in engineering appropriate technologies: technologies designed to suit the needs of the community it is intended for, being culturally sensitive, environmentally responsible and spreading productive employment opportunities. D-Lab’s know-how encompasses a wide range of such technologies including community water testing and treatment, clean-burning cooking fuels, post-harvest processing, pedal and human power production, medical devices for global health, mobility aids and physical rehabilitation. The sustainability aspect of technology dissemination and implementation is addressed through a worldwide network of community partners. D-Lab stimulates economically viable solutions through developmental entrepreneurship, facilitates South-to-South transfer of technology and continually explores new models for scaling-up innovation and facilitating technology access.