EC.701J | Fall 2009 | Undergraduate

D-Lab I: Development


This page includes several films and videos assigned for the class as well as assigned readings.

[Smillie] = Smillie, Ian. Mastering the Machine Revisited: Poverty, Aid and Technology. Practical Action, 2000. ISBN: 9781853395147.

1 Introduction  

Development role play

D-Lab philosophy of development

Stakeholder analysis & Participation

Crosette, B. “Kofi Annan’s Astonishing Facts.”
3 History of development: (1950-1970): The colonial legacy

[Smillie], pp. 3-47.

Film: Life and Debt (2001)


History of development: (1970-1990)

Appropriate technology

Intermediate technology

Schumacher, E. F. “Social and Economic Problems Calling for the Development of Intermediate Technology.” Part III, chapter 2 in Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. Harper Perennial, 1989, pp. 181-201. ISBN: 9780060916305.

[Smillie], pp. 86-103.


History of development: (1990-present)

Millennium development goals

Participatory development


Guest speaker: Mitch Resnick (MIT Media Lab)

Chambers, R. “Poverty and Livelihoods: Whose Reality Counts?” Environment and Urbanization 7, no. 1 (1995): 173-204. (PDF)

United Nations Millennium Declaration [AKA “millennium development goals”]. September 8, 2000.


“Entrepreneurship, government, and development in Africa”

Guest speaker: John Kufuor, (former president of Ghana)

Tayo, S. “Ghana: Following the Gentle Giant.” The World Today, November 2008, 64, no. 11.


Agricultural technology showcase: Post-harvest processing

[Smillie], pp. 104-36.
8 Projects and partners VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas). The Role of Volunteers in International Development.

More projects and partners

Agricultural technology showcase: Drip irrigation

Fuller, P. “More Crop Per Drop.” New Agriculturist (September 1, 2004).

Smith, A. “D-Lab Technology Brief: Low-Cost Drip Irrigation.” (PDF)

Film: Peanuts (2002)

10 Country team meetings  

Agricultural focus groups:

- Green revolution
- Agriculture and external aid
- Agriculture and human rights

The Green Revolution

Rosset, Peter. “Lessons from the Green Revolution.” Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy. April 8, 2000.

External Aid

Aristide, J-B. “Haitian Pigs Meet Globalization.” May, 2000.

Gaertner, P. “Whether Pigs Have Wings: African Swine Fever Eradication and Pig Repopulation in Haiti.” 1990.

[Smillie], pages on Lake Turkana project

Human Rights

Smaller, C. “Planting the Rights Seed: A Human Rights Perspective on Agricultural Trade and the WTO.” THREAD, March 2005. (PDF)

Daley, J. “Forget Fairtrade - Only Free Trade can Help Poor,” Telegraph (UK), February 25, 2008.

Velasquez-Manoff, M. “The Challenge of Fair-trade Chocolate.” The Christian Science Monitor, June 9, 2009.

Fairtrade Foundation. “OCFCU - Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union.”

Optional: Structural Adjustment and Agriculture

Lee, Christine. “All Pain No Gain: How Structural Adjustment Hurts Farmers and the Environment.” Global Pesticide Campaigner 11, no. 1 (April 2001): 8-10.

International Monetary Fund. “The IMF’s Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF): Is It Working?” September 1999.

Hampwaye G., E. Nel, et al. “Urban Agriculture as a Local Initiative in Lusaka, ZambiaEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy 25, no. 4 (2007): 553-72.

Baffoe, J. K. “Structural Adjustment and Agriculture in Uganda.” International Labour Organization, Working Paper WP.149, March 2000.

Structural Adjustment Participatory Review International Network (SAPRIN). “Impact of Agricultural Sector Adjustment Policies on Small Farmers and Food Security.” Chapter 6 in The Policy Roots of Economic Crisis and Poverty: A Multi-Country Participatory Assessment of Structural Adjustment. April, 2002. (PDF)


Energy: Biomass, biogas and biodiesel

Energy lab: Charcoal

[Smillie], pp. 137-53.

Warwick, Hugh, and Alison Doig. Smoke: The Killer in the Kitchen. ITDG Publishing, 2004.


Energy: Sun

Energy Labs: Photovoltaics, LED lighting

Guest speaker: Jim Bales (MIT Edgerton Center)

Bishop, J., J. Bales, et al. “The Photovoltaic Primer.” D-Lab Technology Overview. (PDF - 1.3MB)

Energy: Human power

Energy Lab: Human power production

Wilson, D. G. “Understanding Pedal Power.” VITA Technical Paper #51, 1986.

Energy: Wind and water

Guest speakers: Shawn Frayne (Humdinger Wind), Peter Haas (AIDG)

Practical Action. Micro-Hydro Power. 2009.

———. Energy from the Wind. 2008.


Modeling energy systems


Village energy assessment

NREL. Getting started Guide for HOMER Version 2.1. April 2005. (PDF)
17 Water Lab 1: Bacterial testing  

Water issues in the developing world

Guest speaker: Susan Murcott

UNICEF and WHO. Meeting the MDG Drinking Water and Sanitation Target: A Mid-Term Assessment of Progress. 2004.

Film: FLOW: For Love of Water (2008)


Harnessing the wind

Guest speaker: William Kamkwamba

Supplemental videos: William Kamkwamba at TED
20 Water lab 2: Chemical testing  

Institutions of development: WB and IMF

Guest speaker: Rachel Glennerster

[Smillie], pp. 226-45.

Institutions of Development Discussion

Role of NGOs in Development

[Smillie], pp. 48-66.

Sanyal, B. “From the Benevolent to the Evil State: History of the Rise of Anti-government Sentiment in Developmental Discourse.” In Cooperative Autonomy: The dialectic of State— NGOs Relationship in Developing Countries. Geneva, Switzerland: International Institute for Labour Studies, 1994. pp. 3-27.

———. “Rural Development and Economic Stabilization: Can They Be Attained Simultaneously?” Chapter 9 in Africa’s Agrarian Crisis: The Roots of Famine. Edited by S. K. Commins, et al. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1986. ISBN: 9780931477607.

23 Microfinance

Jain, P. S. “Managing Credit for the Rural Poor: Lessons from the Grameen Bank.” World Development 24, no. 1 (1996): 79-89.

Hammond, A., and C. K. Prahalad. “What Works: Serving the World’s Poor, Profitably.” World Resources Institute, 2004. (PDF)


Micro-enterprise case study: Grameen phone

Guest speaker: Iqbal Quadir

Isenberg, D., D. Lane, and C. I. Knoop. “Iqbal Qquadir, Gonofone, and the Creation of Grameen Phone (Bangladesh).” Harvard Business Review. Case: 807099-PDF-ENG, March 12, 2007.

MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship. “Bangladesh Calling.” (Video profile of Iqbal Quadir, by CBC, March 2008). Accessed March 4, 2010.


Discussion of Drowned Out

Development Role Play

Guest speaker: Balakrishnan Rajagopal

Rajagopal, B. “India’s Water Crisis: When the Rains Fail.” The Economist, September 10, 2009.

Shukla, N. “Power, Discourse, and Learning Global Citizenship: A Case Study of International NGOs and a Grassroots Movement in the Narmada Valley, India.” Education, Citizenship and Social Justice 4, no. 2 (2009): 133-47. DOI: 10.1177/1746197909103933

Film: Drowned Out (2002)

26 ICT4D Brewer, E., et al. “The Case for Technology in Developing Regions.” IEEE Computer 38, no. 6 (2005): 25-38.


Guest speaker: Mitch Resnick

Resnick, M. “Sowing the Seeds for a More Creative Society.” Learning and Leading with Technology (2007): 18-22. (PDF)

Optional: Video of talk at Google, October 26, 2006 (54 min)


Creative capacity building

Concrete lab

Deora, A. “Toilet Talk: Appropriate Toilets for Developing Countries.” (PDF) (Courtesy of Amy Deora. Used with permission.)
29 Cooking lab  
30 The AIDS/HIV crisis

UNAIDS. “Executive Summary.” In Report on the global AIDS epidemic. (PDF - 2.1MB) 2008.

Film: Living with AIDS (On the Frontlines of AIDS) (2005)


Health issues in the developing world

Guest speaker: Jose Gomez Marquez (MIT D-Lab: Health, IIH)

Gordon, B., R. Mackay, et al. The Atlas of Children’s Health and the Environment. WHO, 2004.
32 Team presentations  

Valuing indigenous knowledge

Cultural taboos

Cultural implications of development

Packing List and Tips for Traveling (PDF)

Market approaches to development

Supply chains

Guest speaker: Paul Polak, IDE

Polak, P. “The Three Great Poverty Eradication Myths.” Chapter 2 in Out of Poverty. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2008, pp. 27-48. ISBN: 9781576754498. [Preview with Google Books]

Edwards, M. Just Another Emperor. 2008. (PDF - 1.5MB)


What works: Lessons from JPAL

Guest speakers: Kamilla Gumede (Jameel Poverty Action Lab)

Duflo, E., M. Greenstone, et al. “Cooking Stoves, Indoor Air Pollution and Respiratory Health in Rural Orissa.” Economic & Political Weekly 43, no. 32 (2008): 71-6. (PDF)

Kremer, M., E. Miguel, et al. “Water Technologies: What Works Best in Poor Countries?Boston Review, September/October 2008.


Climate change


Guest speaker: Ben Linder

37 Panel discussion with Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) fellows [Smillie], pp. 246-61.
38 Evaluations  
39 Final posters and presentations  

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples
Activity Assignments
Written Assignments with Examples