International Development Innovators Night


International. Innovation. Invention. Ingenuity. Inspiration. Are you IN?

Hear the amazing stories of 5 innovators who are blazing trails on the ground in India, Tanzania and Uganda. Get their insights on how to take action on societal issues in creative and effective ways. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet 5 unique leaders and change agents in one room!



Fatuma Acan ~ Uganda ~ was the first woman in Africa to be trained as a wheelchair technologist. Fatuma, who contracted polio as a child, uses a wheelchair herself and runs the non-profit MADE, which stands for Mobility Appliances by Disabled Women Entrepreneurs. Fatuma also directs the Pan-African Wheelchair Association.

Suprio Das ~ India ~ is an independent inventor in India with over 7 years of experience working with rural communities. He is the leader of ApurvaJal, a project that works on the local production and automatic dosing of chlorine to treat water, and is also a senior adviser to Aqua Welfare Society, an organization that provides safe drinking water in regions with arsenic contamination. Trained as an electrical engineer, he has also worked on devices to generate electricity from daily tasks, such as through the use of a hand pump or riding a cycle rickshaw. Suprio is currently at MIT as a D-Lab #mce_temp_url#designer-in-residence until May 9.

Harish Hande ~ India ~ co-founded and directs SELCO Solar, a social venture that promotes sustainable technologies in rural India. He earned his PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, in Energy Engineering, specializing in Solar Energy for Developing Countries. He is an engineering graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, one of India’s most prestigious technical universities. SELCO has won two Ashden Awards and Harish has been named an Ashoka Fellow, Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year and Fellow of the World Economic Forum.

Ralf Hotchkiss ~ United States ~ is a wheelchair-rider, engineer, inventor who co-founded Whirlwind Wheelchair International. With over 35 years as a wheelchair-designer, builder and trainer, he won a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and has been a recipient of countless other honors and awards. He has experience working in 42 countries, teaching people who need wheelchairs how to build and maintain them for themselves, and is an advisory board member of Women Pushing Forward.

Bernard Kiwia ~ Tanzania ~ leads all of Global Cycle Solutions R&D and supervises the manufacture of products both locally and abroad. Having attended the first annual International Development Design Summit at MIT in 2007, he then became a prolific inventor, with a pedal-powered hacksaw, a pedal-powered drill press, and his bicycle-powered cell phone charger, which Global Cycle Solutions is now helping him bring to market. Bernard is currently at MIT as a D-Lab designer-in-residence until May 9.

moderated by

Joost Bonsen is an MIT leader and entrepreneur, who energetically juggles several hats ranging from Co-Founder of Howtoons to Fellow at the MIT Program in Development Entrepreneurship. At the MIT Media Lab, he is an innovation ecologist studying global transformations and teaches Development Ventures, a class in the D-Lab program. Joost has a Bachelor's in Bio-Electrical Engineering from MIT and finished the Management of Technology program at MIT Sloan. Prior to Sloan, he ran the MIT Founders project. Named Boston's “Venture Catalyst” by, he has advised several start-ups and sits on the Board of Directors of the MIT $100K Competition.

For more information please contact d-lab-innovators at mit dot eduSponsored by
International Development Initiative