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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. 

The Wall Street Journal

Melvin Konner writes for The Wall Street Journal about new MIT research that shows mobile-money services helped lift at least 194,000 Kenyan households out of extreme poverty. The researchers found that the services significantly helped women, and estimated that mobile banking “induced 185,000 women to switch into business or retail” from farming, and increased saving. 

The Washington Post

Robert Gebelhoff writes for The Washington Post about a study by Prof. Tavneet Suri that shows mobile-money services helped reduce poverty in Kenya. The study “offers good evidence that having a place to put money that’s safe and easily accessible can make the lives of poor people considerably more efficient than cash-reliant economies,” Gebelhoff explains. 


Nurith Aizenman reports for NPR on a new study that shows mobile banking can help lift people out of poverty. Prof. Tavneet Suri says she was “blown away” by the study’s results, which showed that women-led families with access to mobile-money services, “set aside 22 percent more in savings between 2008 and 2014.”

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Kate Baggaley writes that a new study by MIT researchers shows that mobile money services helped two percent of households in Kenya rise out of poverty. “Women especially have benefitted from the spread of mobile money, which has helped many move from farming into business,” writes Baggaley. 


Prof. Tavneet Suri has found that mobile money services helped lift almost 200,000 Kenyan households, many headed by women, out of poverty, reports Neda Wadekar for Reuters. Suri explains that when mobile payment systems “came to an area, women shifted their occupations and their savings went up."