It’s a long way from Boston to Oaxaca but that didn’t stop the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from assisting a group of local entrepreneurs to create an innovative prototype of a rainwater capture and filtration system.
Project leader Eduardo Valencia explained that by using conduits made from plastic pipe and recycled PET bottles, the team built a low-cost ultraviolet (UV) light filtration system that can convert rainwater into drinking water safe for human consumption.
Valencia added that the system is designed to be used in communities where there are water shortages. It can be installed directly in people’s homes.
Communities in the Triqui region of Oaxaca are slated to be the first to benefit from the new system, which costs less than 200 pesos (US $10) to make.
Apart from a water shortage, many of the region’s waterways are contaminated, making it an ideal area in which to roll out the initiative.
State Governor Alejandro Murat said the entrepreneurs’ idea would help mitigate one of many problems faced by people living in the state’s most marginalized areas and would receive backing from state and federal authorities.
“. . . We’re starting to create citizens’ solutions to big social problems, which the state and federal governments are subsidizing to generate short-term and long-term policies and actions that allow us to create a more sustainable Oaxaca,” he said.
Murat added that he will seek to make scholarships available to those who continue to collaborate with the MIT through funding from the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt).
MIT provided training and advice for the project as part of its Creative Capacity Building collaboration with the National Institute of the Entrepreneur (Inadem), the Oaxaca Institute of the Entrepreneur and Competitiveness (Iodemc) and the Technological University of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca (UTVCO).
The president of Inadem also praised the project, adding that people are the southern state’s most valuable resource.
“The most important part is human capital, that’s why Oaxaca has hope, because there are women and men who are ready to work for the state, looking for business ideas that revolutionize our communities, generating technological changes that enable the structural changes we need,” Alejandro Delgado Ayala said.
The Global Trainings Manager at the MIT D-Lab, which coordinated the collaboration, emphasized that Oaxaca has been an ideal learning space to undertake collaborative and innovative projects.
By using its methodology based on participative innovation, MIT helped entrepreneurs in Oaxaca to generate creative and important ideas, Sher Vogel said.
Source: Milenio (sp)