EC.715 / 11.474 (G) D-Lab: WASH

D-Lab: Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Environmental Innovations for the Common Good


D-Lab: Dissemination WASH focuses on disseminating Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) or water/environment innovations in developing countries and underserved communities worldwide.

Structured around field-based learning, case studies, lectures and videos in which teams propose an idea and are mentored through the process of bringing that innovation to fruition. Emphasizes core WASH and water/environment principles, culture-specific solutions, tools for start-ups, appropriate and sustainable technologies, behavior change, social marketing, building partnerships, and the theory and practice of innovation diffusion.

Guest lectures on specific real-world WASH and water/environment projects which have been disseminated by MIT faculty, students, alumni, and others. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. 

Course Information
Instructors: Libby Hsu, Susan Murcott
Semester Offered: Fall (Offered since 2005)
Lecture Location: N51-350
Lecture Times: W 12-3 pm
Units (credit hours) 3-0-6
Class Size: 30 students
Grading: A/B/C/D/F
Course Student Projects
2013Aghast-Good LifeCooperative design and construction of toilets appropriate for the community, in collaboration with students and faculty at Taha Village School
Fr. Waste to GoldAfforestation initiative that uses fast-growing trees toward sustainability, economic benefit, and waste minimization
Hope in FlightUsage of Black Soldier Flies to resolve sanitation challenges in developing world communities while providing local entrepreneurs with a socially beneficial revenue stream
SPOUTS of WaterA sustainable, locally-run, ceramic water filter factory in Uganda to help increase the access to clean drinking water to all
The Art of WasteMaking art installations functional in the form of decentralized wastewater treatment systems for marginalized low-income communities
Uganda Flood RiskA system to forecast floods for the communities in the Manafwa basin, Uganda
WatA Test!A hydrogen sulfide (H2S) bacteria test that is a dry powder version of a typically liquid water test: accurate, convenient and cheaper than any other
2012Networked IrrigationPlastic pipe, with data network on embedded wires, lowers cost and simplifies installation. Remote moisture sensors and valves supply water only where needed
OpenIRweb application for saving lives in disasters, offering geo-located infrared data as on-demand map layers and translating the data so that anyone can read it easily
SchoolHousePotentialImplementation of a bio-digestion process at the secondary school built in Lenana, Kenya. Methane is for the school’s kitchen and fertilizer is sold to local farms
Shared Water for Shared Health Several households share one large rainwater harvesting system for improved water access and reduced cost in Uganda
WecyclersEstablishing a recycling program in Lagos, Nigeria that emphasizes community participation and implements bicycle transportation
2011Brundt Rainwater Purification SystemUtilizing Harar, Ethiopia’s natural resources to make clean water available for all the people, including rainwater harvesting and filtration systems
GrubCycleConversion of organic waste into a value-added commercial animal feed using a type of grub, Black Soldier Fly larvae, in Kibera, Kenya, one of the world’s largest slums
Renewable H2AllSlow sand filter adjusted to the customs of the community of Tamahula, Mexico and a for-profit enterprise which includes a low-cost dry season irrigation system
ZacatechA unique approach to educating rural subsistence farmers in Zacatecas, Mexico, about low-cost agricultural technologies
ZimbaPlusA small-volume dispenser for hand pump chlorinators
2010Comunidea!Student-based initiative to establish IDEAS-like competition at Loja Universityu, Ecuador
My City, My FutureYouth in the slums of Rio mapping their world
PiecemealImproved, modular, hygienic, lightweight and affordable food carts for street vendors in Bangkok, Thailand
The Grease ProjectBiodiesel retrofit for waste pickers in Sao Paulo, Brazil
2009Global Citizen Water InitiativeCoupling of inexpensive water quality test kits with open source spatial mapping for community water quality monitoring
Global Cycle SolutionsBicycle-Powered Businesses (Tanzania, Peru)
NutriVSystem to help health institutions keep track remotely of the progress of nutritional programs for undernourished children
Plastic Bag RecyclingA simple device to turn waste plastic bags into plastic yarn
SolSourceRural Energy Product Distributor (Greater Himalayas)
Urban AgricultureLow-cost household hydroponic system to produce higher yield crops
2007Biogas NicaraguaAlternative biogas energy solutions for rural and urban populations
ECVOWater distillation unit running off of excess automotive engine heat
Learn TB3-week educational curriculum to teach the school population about the TB disease, contraction, prevention, and treatment
Mapping DiseasePublicly-accessible, continuously-updated database to map disease outbreaks in specific geographical locations
New DOTSSolution for monitoring TB drug adherence paired with economic incentives
Sustainable SheltersAppropriate, innovative and affordable housing design to facilitate owner-driven reconstruction in disaster relief
Vac-CastHuman-powered, low-cost vacuum device used for sand-casting (SC) fitting to make prosthetic limbs