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Prof. Danielle Wood and her team are developing new techniques to use satellite data to monitor and manage environmental problems in remote areas, including an invasive weed growing in parts of Africa, to help inform local decision making, reports Ramin Skibba for Wired. “Our goal is to make it an affordable and operationally feasible thing for them to have this ongoing view, with data from space, data from the air, and data from the water,” says Wood.


WCVB-TV spotlights two MIT startups, True Moringa, a beauty and wellness company that uses the oil from Moringa trees grown in Ghana to directly benefit farmers in Ghana, and Sourcemap, which traces supply chains and provides transparency about where goods are stemming from. Says Kwami Williams ’12, co-founder and CEO, of his inspiration for True Moringa: “I started to ask myself, if aerospace engineers can help put a man on the Moon, then what can I do to help put more food on the table for families” in Ghana.


The Economist spotlights the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa initiative, launched by J-PAL and Pratham (an NGO in India), which aims to help increase educational gains among students in Africa by offering a model of catch-up classes.   


A new working paper by MIT researchers details how the use of a universal basic income (UBI) helped people in Kenya with difficult economic situations, writes Kelsey Piper for Vox. The researchers found that the UBI provided “income benefits in good times and then stability benefits during bad times,” says Prof. Tavneet Suri.


Wired reporter Aarian Marshall spotlights how Prof. Sarah Williams has been developing digital tools to help map bus routes in areas that lack transportation maps. “The maps show that there is an order,” Williams explains. “There is, in fact, a system, and the system could be used to help plan new transportation initiatives.”


A study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that a movie and texting campaign effectively encouraged people in Nigeria to report corruption, reports Yomi Kazeen for Quartz. “Given the popularity of the local movie industry and the prevalence of corruption in Nigeria,” writes Kazeen, “the researchers looked to study how Nigerians report corruption using high-profile actors to model behavior.”


A new study by MIT researchers shows that the Sahara desert and North Africa alternate between wet and dry conditions every 20,000 years, reports the Xinhua news agency. The researchers found that the “climatic pendulum was mainly driven by changes to the Earth's axis as the planet orbits the sun, which in turn affect the distribution of sunlight between seasons.”


Forbes reporter Anne Field highlights MDaaS Global, an MIT startup that aims to operate low-cost primary and diagnostic care centers in Africa. After seeing how a lack of medical equipment made it difficult for doctors to treat patients in rural areas, MIT graduate Oluwasoga Oni decided, “to build critical infrastructure in a scalable way across the continent.”

The Financial Times

Writing for the Financial Times, Associate Prof. Tavneet Suri explains the importance of measuring the benefits of philanthropy in sub-Saharan Africa. This data “could help resource- or skills-constrained African companies to leverage the benefits of impact measurement tools, to better understand their positive impact on poverty,” Prof. Suri explains.


Science reporter Gloria Emeagwali reviews Prof. Clapperton Mavhunga’s new book, which examines how Africans have contributed to science throughout history. “Eurocentric assumptions about the history of science and technology, entrepreneurship, epistemology, and scientific methodology are directly challenged in this scholarly collection of essays that masterfully document the historical and contemporary scientific contributions of Africans.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Jason Bordoff writes that MIT researchers have produced a map of the Nairobi bus system using GPS data collected from riders’ mobile phones. “With these networks now mapped, users can access the system more easily and efficiently, and local officials can plan bus and train routes around it,” writes Bordoff. 

New York Times

A study by Prof. Tanveet Suri shows that a mobile-money service called M-Pesa had a long-term impact on poverty in Kenya, writes Tina Rosenberg for The New York Times. The researchers found that M-Pesa “helped women graduate from subsistence agriculture to small business, perhaps because having an M-Pesa account gives a woman her own money…and a greater sense of agency.”

Scientific American

In an article for Scientific American, Kavya Balaraman writes that MIT researchers have found that climate change could impact rainfall conditions over the Nile, potentially exacerbating water conflicts. Prof. Elfatih Eltahir explains that with the increased frequency of El Niño and La Niña, “we are projecting enhanced variability in the Nile flow.”

CBS News- 60 Minutes

During this 60 Minutes segment, Anderson Cooper speaks with Mubarik Mohamoud, a senior majoring in electrical engineering and computer science, about his journey from Somaliland to MIT. Cooper notes that Mohamoud’s success has inspired his former classmates at the Abaarso School of Science and Technology, a boarding school founded to help train Somaliland’s future leaders. 

Boston Globe

In an article about the Abaarso School of Science and Technology in Somaliland, Boston Globe reporter James Sullivan highlights Mubarik Mohamoud, a senior at MIT. Mohamoud came to MIT from Worcester Academy and was the first student from Abaarso to be accepted at an American school.