Extraordinary presentation on infrastructure development

Post Reply
User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1288
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Extraordinary presentation on infrastructure development

Post by Guysanto » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:47 pm

Today, Ann Pale feels privileged to welcome in its midst a new member, Cat Lainé. In activating her membership, I was curious enough to seek information about the organization embedded in her e-mail address. This has led me to this video, which I want to share with you because I found it fascinating, to say the least.

Two days ago, we also welcomed Georges Valme, who posted some information about his biodiesel stove and wvo generator. Is Ann Pale becoming a development platform for Haiti? That's probably too much to hope for, but if we can in any way facilitate the networking for some of the actors in this field, that would be a nice development indeed.

Without further ado, please watch the following video: http://www.businessinnovationfactory.co ... claine.php



Presenter:

Cat Lainé

Deputy Director, Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group

Lainé is helping people in developing countries get environmentally sound and affordable access to energy, sanitation and clean water. AIDG create small businesses that manufacture, install and repair green technologies for people living between $2-4 a day. These technologies help communities and families meet their basic needs for energy, sanitation and clean water, basic services that will improve their health and change their lives. Lainé is currently a PhD candidate and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute PreDoctoral Fellow.
Source: Business Innovation Factory

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1288
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Post by Guysanto » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:55 pm

More on the presenter...
Source: Business Innovation Factory, http://www.businessinnovationfactory.co ... -laine.php

[quote]Cat Lainé

Deputy Director, Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group

Born in the Bronx, New York, Cat Lainé spent most of her childhood in Southern California, where she says the weather is beautiful and the people are friendly. But she's back on the East Coast now. She likes it better because it's "gritty."

Lainé doesn't shy away from the underside of life, a personality trait that led to her decision to leave academia, where she was studying infectious disease epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. A self-described "autodidact," she prefers to be in the field, analyzing problems and creating solutions from the ground up.

She was always scientifically minded. As a kid she "devoured" her Rand McNally science books, Omni magazine, and her older brother's biology text. Because her father was a medical doctor, her family had nudged her in the direction of medicine. Her father was also a political exile from the Duvalier dictatorship that ruled Haiti from 1957 to 1986. He died when she was very young, but she absorbed enough of his experiences to comprehend the fragility of human rights in a chaotic world, and to see her own future in a clearer light.

"I knew that politics wasn't the thing I was going to do, but that helping people was," she says.

A graduate course in infectious disease opened Lainé's eyes to some of the starkest needs of the world. Here, she learned that much of the steep decline in infectious disease mortality since 1900 was due not to antibiotics or vaccines, which surfaced in the forties and fifties, but to improved housing and infrastructure that created more sanitary living conditions and reliable supplies of clean water. Lainé began to find her niche.

As Deputy Director of Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group (AIDG), Lainé has worked to bring renewable electricity and solar hot water to families and agricultural workers in Guatemalan villages, and dry composting latrines to women in the Cap-Haitien marketplace in Haiti. Simple infrastructure projects like these have a dramatic effect on quality of life.

With AIDG, Lainé attempts to stretch the goals of a traditional NGO by throwing savvy "business acumen" into the mix. She brings her own scientific background to the table when the group spearheads a new project, but she also knows the value of a good old-fashioned sales pitch. This sometimes involves convincing a husband in Guatemala to buy a more efficient wood-burning kitchen stove so that his wife and children will inhale less indoor smoke on a daily basis. Bringing new technology to such communities is a matter of gaining trust, according to Lainé, and demonstrating a need for the product—the same challenges faced by large corporations looking to tap into emerging international markets.

"You have to make a really strong case for someone to buy your product," she says. "It's difficult to serve people who don't make a lot of money. They want a really fast return on investment."

Lainé calls herself a "jack-of-all-trades." She has learned to approach problems from multiple angles—from the fields of science, business, art, or mathematical modeling—all in an effort to solve some of the most complex problems in the world. She seeks out like-minded individuals, and notes that most AIDG donors are "regular people" who see themselves making a difference in the lives of others. She says we are "on the forefront of social entrepreneurship," a growing movement that she admits is "a bit trendy, but incredibly powerful." AIDG's website will eventually provide information for designs and specs for performance for its projects. There are no business secrets here—if AIDG produces an efficient biodigester or a windmill for under $100 (a current venture with Engineers Without Borders), then it will gladly tell the world.

Lainé's penchant to seek out the "gritty" side of life keeps her constantly in a fluid space. She passed on the Harvard Ph.D. because it wasn't preparing her for the unpredictable needs of the world, such as having to evacuate a country in the middle of an infrastructure project.

"Your dedication to the cause is what gets you through those moments," she says. "What you can't learn is passion. If you have that, it will get you so much farther than a degree."

© 2009 Business Innovation Factory · 60 Valley Street, Unit 25, Providence, RI 02909 · (401) 270-7906
[/quote]

Serge
Posts: 326
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 10:39 am

Post by Serge » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:38 pm

Guy,

I just finished watching the video from Dr. Laine aand I have yet to watch George Valme's. But this will not be for long. I just wanted to say how impressed I am by Dr Laine's work and how frustrated I feel every time I come across people like her. The reason for this frustration is that I realize the terrible loss for Haiti of such competence and the terrible lack of leadership and governance prevailing in Haiti, which prevent willing, able and competent people like Dr Laine and Mr. Valme to put themselves at the service of their country. This is absolutely maddening!

I believe Dr. Lainé is the daughter of Dr. Lionel Lainé, an extremely bright doctor, who instilled these values in his daughter; he was also one of the founding members, along with Dr. Laurent Pierre-Philippe and others, of the Association of Haitian doctors abroad. She is following in his footsteps in the most spectacular fashion.

I too welcome her on Ann Pale.


Serge

Post Reply