Reflections on an earthquake: moving from plight to promise

By Kofi Taha, D-Lab Associate Director

Kofi Taha

When tragedies such as the earthquake in Nepal strike, we are all called upon to act, be it through active participation in relief efforts, donations, prayers or reflection.

These moments highlight our shared humanity, our collective vulnerability and resilience, and our inescapable dialogue with the earth. Our hearts ache, our hope endures, we learn and we seek pathways between plight and promise. 

I feel deeply privileged to be part of D-Lab where we collectively try to learn how to best answer the call to act, not only in moments of dramatic crisis, but also in response to the quiet crises that threaten opportunity and well being every day for half the world's population.

Through our small program – where an exciting mixture of students, staff, faculty, alumni and international collaborators from the public and private sector regularly interact with creative force – we will only touch a tiny fraction of the need we speak of when discussing "global poverty," but without a doubt, we are learning more everyday about moving from plight to promise. 

You are invited to explore the wide range of ways we pursue this knowledge, be it through class projects that will be highlighted in the D-Lab Spring Student Showcase, hosting the multi-disciplinary MIT Scaling Development Ventures conference, partnerships with international organizers to hold International Development Design Summits in three countries this summer, launching an alliance of corporate, social sector and nonprofit actors interested in social impact, or disseminating our research briefs.

All of these activities are outstanding examples of how D-Lab strives to learn how technology and innovation can measurablly and ethically contribute to ending poverty.