Tagged: MIT CoLab
New Report by UEP’s Lorlene Hoyt on Education and Entrepreneurship in Chile
| June 16, 2016 | 2:00 pm | Uncategorized | Comments closed

At el Centro de Emprendizaje(CEM) in Southern Chile, relationships are an important part of the educational experience.

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A newly published case study — co-authored by UEP Professor Lorlene Hoyt — explores the approach of the CEM at Valdivia’s Universidad Austral de Chile to integrate higher education with entrepreneurship and collaborative learning. The report, Emprendizaje: Higher Education for Entrepreneurship, Learning, and Collective Intelligence in Southern Chile seeks to flesh out the practical applications of “Emprendizaje,” a concept (emprender + aprendizaje) that the CEM faculty and staff try to live out daily.

This report began with Hoyt’s UEP graduate course, Community Development Planning and Policy, which examined alternative community development approaches that the Global North can draw from the Global South. For the course, students examined case studies from Mondragon, Spain to Lawrence, Massachusetts and conducted interviews with students, faculty, and staff at the CEM. Work on the report continued after the course through Tufts’ Talloires Network, the MIT Community Innovators Lab and the CEM.

The CEM draws from methodologies and theories such as Manfred Max-Neef’s Human Scale Development, which emphasizes greater self-reliance through satisfying human needs, and provides an alternative to neoliberal development approaches focusing on indicators such as Gross Domestic Product.

The CEM’s alternative pedagogical approaches can provide innovative solutions to the world’s crises and therefore worth delving into.

Read the Case Study Here!

Community Development in a Comparative Framework: Colombia & Afghanistan
| March 8, 2016 | 5:16 pm | Colloquium, Events | Comments closed

Huma Gupta from the MIT School of Architecture and Alyssa Bryson from MIT CoLab presented their research at last week’s UEP Colloquium. Gupta, who worked on international aid infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, showcased Integrity Watch Afghanistan’s Community Monitoring Toolkit. The toolkit was developed in response to years of dwindling resources, corruption and a lack of accountability in USAID‘s foreign aid program. Increasing privatization of development, subcontracting labor, and a history of funds going to western agencies rather than local developers ultimately led to Hilary Clinton claiming that “USAID has been decimated.

Gupta worked in 75 communities in 75 districts in northern Afghanistan to train and elect locals to go to development sites, talk to builders, and gather photos and documents. Monitors then gave monthly updates to the government to keep them up to speed on the state of affairs. The Community Monitoring web site was developed to allow other communities across Afghanistan and the rest of the world (the site is currently in Dari/Farsi and English) to mitigate the negative effects of international aid programs. Gupta emphasizes that this is a tool for mitigation, not a solution to lacking infrastructure or corruption. A structural fix would treat the cause rather than the symptoms.

Community Based Monitoring in Afghanistan

Community Based Monitoring in Afghanistan

Alyssa Bryson studied the Colombian Pacific, a geographically isolated area of the country with low human development levels, minimal government and a strong guerrilla presence. Extractive industries are prevalent in the region, which has the greatest population of Afro-Colombians and a large population of indigenous Colombians.

https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Afro-Colombians

poder_pacifico_flyerInternational aid and development in the region has historically focused on big projects, in which profits flow to elsewhere in the country or across borders, rather than efforts to build local wealth. Bryson studied and assisted in the establishment of a network of local indigenous leaders who could advocate for greater inclusion in national initiatives and support local growth projects. The program, Manos Visibles (Visible Hands) is working with former guerrillas to transition to constructive work. They built a school of economics, a school of government, and funds for at-risk women and children.

Visit the MIT CoLab web site to learn more about their international projects.

Anchor Institutions Guest Speaker: Nick Iuviene
| November 10, 2014 | 9:12 pm | Anchor Institutions | Comments closed

Last Friday, Professor Lorlene Hoyt’s Anchor Institutions class hosted Nick Iuviene to talk about his work at MIT CoLab’s Just Urban Economies and the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative(BCDI). Iuviene is a graduate of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and before that worked as a community organizer in the Bronx.

His current work focuses on urban economic democracy. Specifically, the BCDI uses both bottom up and top down efforts to drive comprehensive economic development that builds the wealth, power and leadership skills of low and moderate income residents in one of the poorest congressional districts in the United States. Taking inspiration from Mondragon, of Spain’s Basque Country, and Cleveland, OH’s Evergreen Initiative, the BCDI seeks to apply many of the tools pioneered by these organizations within the context of the Bronx. Iuviene and fellow MIT CoLab staff, Yorman Nunez, are the program coordinators for this project.

The talk began with a brief history of the Mondragon Corporation and the Evergreen Initiative. Mondragon, the largest and perhaps best known worker cooperative organization in the world, has the benefit of over 60 years of development and network building, which has allowed it to prosper even in international markets. It is the importance of network building that Iuviene stressed the most. In a recent closure of one of Mondragon’s plants, he emphasized the “success in its failure”: the corporation guaranteed employees of the closed plant 80% of their salaries for 2 years, though they were all eventually retrained and rehired in new locations. The Evergreen Initiative has a much shorter history, and of course a very different social and geographic context. They utilize the strength of local anchor institutions to build on the model pioneered by Mondragon. They leverage the power and capacity of local hospitals to stabilize the rest of the city, which is currently experiencing high levels of poverty and unemployment. This fact, Iuviene stated, gives the Evergreen Initiative a more top down approach. A desire for a more grassroots approach and the lack of such strong regional anchor institutions is what differentiates the BCDI from its forerunners. In an effort to get local institutions involved, the BCDI had to show that local community organizations could actively build, rather than merely fight inequitable development projects. They have also attempted to aggregate smaller and medium sized nonprofits.

Current work focuses on an economic democracy leadership series in order to build capacity at the grassroots level. In its first stages coordinators were skeptical of the level of interest in the program, thinking that local people would have too many other things going on to be able to focus on learning new economic models. They were surprised when their trainings, designed for 20-30 people, were attended by over 50 people. They are currently in the process of creating an online web series to spread their leadership training model to other cities who could benefit from similar projects.

To end, Iuviene mentioned some organizations in Boston aiming at similar models of economic development. The Center for Economic Democracy and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative are both looking at ways of implementing similar ideas in the Boston area.