Typical street scene in Bluefields. Photo credit: Danbob wind on Wikipedia.
From January 8th through 29th, twelve MIT students will be in Bluefields, Nicaragua as part of D-Lab Waste, an MIT class in which students are developing waste management strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create enterprise opportunities for impoverished people in Bluefields. For students, this trip is the culminating step in a class that began in the Fall 2011 semester. But for CoLab, the trip is a next step in an ongoing partnership between MIT, the United Nations Development Programme, blueEnergy, and the Municipality of Bluefields. CoLab’s Libby McDonald teaches the course.
The course offers students the opportunity to engage in participatory planning processes with the Bluefields community as well as apply lessons from the semester to projects in three subject areas: composting, recycling, and anaerobic digestion.
Project teams comprised of 3-5 students manage each area under the mentorship of professionals in the field. The teams work with community partners to evaluate conditions on the ground that will inform each project.
D-Lab Waste teams will focus on systems integration, which means that they’ll attempt to link all three areas (composting, recycling, and anaerobic digestion) under an integrated, coordinated community plan that will ultimately grow to encompass three municipalities: Bluefields, El Rama, and Corn Island.
Additionally, the anaerobic digestion team will be constructing a demonstration digester at a local public high school to educate community members about the process and prospects of anaerobic digestion as a tool for community economic development.
CoLab Radio will publish updates on this project as it unfolds.
D-Lab Waste team traveling to El Bluff, an island off the coast of Bluefields, Nicaragua, to tour a wind energy monitoring station currently under construction by blueEnergy.