Establishing a Platform for Evaluating Engineering Solutions in Developing Nations

Client: Engineering for Change
availability of clean drinking water computer stations Analysis of Available Platforms and Methods infographic Appropriate Solutions Evaluation Platform conceptualization graphic isolated hut

Project Overview

In order to inform the development of a portal that will allow Engineering for Change’s (E4C) members and the public to monitor, evaluate, and disseminate appropriate technology solutions for low- and middle-income countries, Nexight Group helped E4C gather, organize, and present research on appropriate solutions.

Need

Many of the world’s most pressing humanitarian issues—lack of fresh water, limited access to vaccines for curable diseases, malnourishment, insufficient sanitation—can be addressed with existing technologies. Yet, the quality of life of people in underserved populations continues to suffer, partly due to a lack of coordination between solution designers, developers, manufacturers, implementers, funders, and users. Providing information and standards that help these stakeholders make the right decisions about which technologies to implement in communities around the world is a valuable contribution to the global development community that could substantially improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. E4C is a dynamic and growing community of engineers, technologists, social scientists, NGOs, local governments and community advocates whose mission is to improve quality of life in communities around the world by facilitating the development of affordable, locally appropriate and sustainable solutions to the most pressing humanitarian challenges. Recognizing the need for an integrated, system-based approach to aggregating, monitoring, evaluating, and disseminating such a compendium of appropriate technology-based solutions, E4C conceptualized and engaged us to assist with the planning and development of the Appropriate Solutions Evaluation Program (ASEP).

Our Solution

We are currently working with E4C to plan and develop the ASEP platform, which will serve as a portal for a collection of available fit-for-service technology solutions. To establish a working knowledge of currently available solutions, we refined a lengthy background research document on existing solutions into a clear, well-designed report that made the information much more accessible to the E4C audience. To further ease accessibility to this information, we created a two-page infographic that visually represents the key findings of the analysis and organizes more than 60 pages of research results into three discrete focus areas (discovery, development and deployment, measurement and evaluation). We then facilitated a two-day workshop with internal and external stakeholders to address how the ASEP would take shape. In preparation for the workshop, we worked with the ASEP steering committee to accomplish the following:

  • Develop the program’s scope
  • Define the customer base
  • Establish an evaluation process that addressed criteria and content
  • Create a roadmap to introduce the ASEP tool to the market
We synthesized the results of this workshop, as well as input from in-person meetings, into a meeting summary document that provided E4C with a clear path forward for developing and launching the ASEP platform.

Impact

E4C is currently using the infographic and background document as well as the workshop results to inform the development of a portal that will help users select technologies that are appropriate for introduction in countries across the globe. We are currently helping E4C develop a near- and long-term plan to use this information to increase the adoption and success rates of international development initiatives and help to improve the overall health and quality of life for members of these communities.