March 13

Blog #8

Identify FIVE specific things in your slides that you could have done differently. 

  1. Emphasize on air pollution impacts on cognitive ability
  2. Better describe the quasi-experimental study
  3. Bring together all of the aspects of our project 
  4. Explain where the air monitors can be placed/used and who they target
  5. Ways to promote our products and reach to our target customer


Identify FIVE specific ways in which you could have delivered your presentation better. 

  1. Used more strategic pauses
  2. Emphasized on the statistics
  3. Showcasing our prototypes
  4. Kept the themes of the slides more consistent
  5. Used more graphics and pictures


Identify FIVE specific ways you could have built your credibility further. 

  1. Said why we are passionate about this project
  2. Tie in our personal goals for this project
  3. Referenced professionals in the field
  4. Referenced more studies and statistics
  5. Talked more about what the previous team members did


Identify FIVE specific questions that you could have answered better. What was the question, how did you respond, how should you have responded? 

  1. We were asked where the air monitors were going to be placed, responded by saying low income houses, should’ve said that they are portable and can find amount of PM from anywhere
  2. Asked who the quasi-experimental study was going to study, responded with college students, should’ve also added that we are going to study students in different income areas in the future
  3. One of the questions asked where exactly in the room will the air monitors be placed because depending on where you put it will give you a different measurement of PM. We should have answered that air monitors should be placed in a central location where air can circulate freely. But not next to any windows, fireplace, or cooking appliances so that it won’t alter the accuracy of the air quality in the room
  4. The judges also asked how is our product getting advertised to be purchased in the market? We talked about social media but also spreading our products through the school system. With the success of our quasi-experiment we can get schools to encourage people to buy our air monitors/filters that are efficient and cheaper than other air monitors. 
  5. Judge asked why we are repeating the experiment if there is already a proven relationship between air pollution and cognitive performance. We answered we are conducting this experiment in Almaty specific context because might help people to realize the seriousness of the issue as it makes the issue personal.
March 6

Blog #7

  1. What is the Total Available Market and Total Addressable Market for your product or service?

Air monitors and filters

  1. Total Available Market
    1. People living in an area with air pollution 
      1. Mostly developing countries
  2. Total Addressable Market
    1. Low-middle-income households in an area with air pollution
      1. Low-middle-income households in Almaty, Kazakhstan
  1. Identify three different primary stakeholders on your project, and come up with a list of 10 distinct questions you would ask each of them. Remember the aspirational/emotional /functional categories of needs and desires and try to find a balance of questions that might give you the information in each of those areas. 
    1. Lehigh team
      1. How to find sustainability equilibrium in our project? How to find balance?
      2. How to sustain our system in Almaty? How to set up our Assembly shop?
      3. What is our cost structure? What are our revenue streams?
      4. How we can integrate indigenous knowledge into our project?
      5. How we can circulate our sources and use a ”cradle-to-cradle” design?
      6. What is the environment of our research? 
      7. Can our product be introduced to a bigger market (global)? What should we do to make it happen?
      8. Should our products rely on local materials?
      9. How to achieve affordability and durability together?
      10. Whom our products are benefiting? Are we hurting anyone?
    2. AlmaU team
      1. What is their desired result from this project?
      2. What they can specifically contribute to the project (in what way)?
      3. To what extent they are willing to participate in?\
      4. What do they need from us?
      5. How they can contribute to our Assembly shop?
      6. How they can contribute to our quasi-experimental study?
      7. Which one they are valuing more: affordability or durability or both?
      8. How they can help our fieldwork testing?
      9. How they can participate in our distribution channel and customer relationships?
      10. What do they think about the local sustainability (source) of our project?
    3. Almaty people (users)
      1. Do they agree with our value proposition?
      2. How much are they willing to pay?
      3. Do they prefer affordability or durability or environmental sustainability?
      4. What type of distribution channel do they prefer?
      5. Are they ready for behavioral change?
      6. How much they are willing to change?
      7. What indigenous knowledge do they want us to integrate into our product?
      8. Are our products culturally appropriate?
      9. Will they be able to maintain the product?
      10. How they can cooperate with us on the Assembly shop?
  2. Identify all of the key customers for your product/service/creation/solution. List specific ways that you will ensure that your product will meet their aspirational, emotional, and functional needs and desires. 


  1. Air monitor:
  1. Feature: Much cheaper than what is out there in the market
  2. Benefit: Saving money
  3. Value: Cheaper option same result
  1. Air filter
  1. Feature: Low maintenance (no electricity, only rinsing with water)
  2. Benefit: Saving money
  3. Value: Cheaper option same (or even more durable) result


  1. Articulate your value propositions for each of your customer segments (using the format presented in class).


For people living in Almaty, Kazakhstan, whose health is impacted by air pollution and who cannot afford available preventable measures, our air monitors and filters will provide necessary prevention methods so that they can improve their health by preventing themselves from exposure.

March 1

Blog #6

 Blog #6: Individual Prompts–

  1. Give three examples of something very interesting you learned
    from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.

    1. A friend taught me about cryptocurrency and was interested in stocks. I had first heard it from family members who discussed it with each other but I was not really comprehending what was being said. A friend one day explained it to me talking about how with stocks who can own a piece of the company and depending on the company the value can go up or down. It was alien to me because it was digital money that was not being used by a credit card or debit card. But it is also interesting how cryptocurrency is becoming more and more relevant in people’s lives.

    2. Another example: a teacher that is originally from Senegal told me about the issue in Senegal. I would consider him my friend as we were really close during my time in high school. He told me the issue is that Senegalese people who are given the opportunity to succeed and leave the country don’t come back to support the communities they were born in. This was new for me because I would like people to come back to support their families. But in reality, it does not happen as often as we think in different countries so that is why there is so much economic inequality. As people who come from small villages and go to school for education only do it to be better themselves than return and support the community they were once from.

    3. I have learned a little bit of history from a friend who taught about the coming of capoeira. He told me that it was art that was used so that slaves in Brazil could know how to fight but the slow movements made it seem like a dance to the slave masters. This was new to me as material arts was used as a dance and has now been culturally implemented in Brazil.


  1. List ten things that make you feel human.

    1. Five senses

    2. School

    3. Surrounded by different cultures

    4. Life influenced by politics

    5. Experiencing different mental emotions

    6. Able to communicate with other people

    7. Body structure/skin color

    8. Living in a home

    9. Using technology in a daily life

    10. Living in a capitalist society

  2. Articulate your philosophy of engagement as it pertains to your work with the Impact Fellowship. Specifically discuss:

    1. Why should I engage?

      1. This is a community that is in need of help but is unaware of the issue. Air quality is something that everyone can breathe clean air. This will better health issues within the community while also reducing climate change from CO2 emissions.

    2. How must I engage?

      1. Engage that encourages citizens in Kazakhstan to care about the issue and want to make change themselves. Improve the air monitors to prove that the air quality is a big issue that needs to be prioritized. Making sure the monitors are accessible to everyone in the market.

    3. With whom must I engage?

      1. Must engage with the communities that suffer the most from air quality. Engage with Aluma U school to prove that the air affects students cognitive learning process. While also engaging the government that has the funds to truly change the outcome of air quality in the city.

    4. What kinds of challenges, opportunities, and approaches should I care about?

      1. Lack of interest from people in Kazakhstan, hard to communicate with because of the language barrier, the experiment could fail as air may not have an effect on students cognitive learning. Opportunities to prove that the air quality does affect students’ learning abilities so that it can connect to affecting the economy as workers can’t reach their highest potential due to air quality.

    5. What might my epitaph read?

      1. My epitaph might read “That person who came to challenge the way to look at addressing air quality. Wanting first to better countries with extreme CO2 emissions that need assistance first and with the success of better air quality in Kazakhstan. Branching to other countries with a similar approach. Kazakhstan turned into such a success as his team attacked issues that weren’t even thought of. This Lehigh team’s success brought a new perspective to the world on how to tackle the issue of air quality.

10 Takeaways:

Life’s Principles as a Framework for Designing Successful Social Enterprises

  1. Social responsibility of business is to increase its profits

  2. Address issues as it part of larger system rather than just a issue on its own

  3. Having a social enterprise is what cares about social issues while create new innovations and maintaining financial discipline

  4. Hard to maintain social enterprises in the long-run as business lack adjusting to change in environment, negative externalities, and conserving financing

  5. Life adapts to external change in the environment

  6. Creating people who innovate while also appreciating life’s principles

  7. Sub-system having their purpose but it can help the more border system reach its goal

  8. social enterprises rely on self-organization to leverage interdependence

  9. Products must be easy to use without any training or extra tools to install

  10. New technology must adapt to local culture not the other way around


The Wisdom of the Tree

  1. Technology feeds either of the two metabolic systems, biological and technical

  2. Producers of technical nutrients are different than manufacturing a product that you sell and once sold you don’t believe it’s your problem

  3. Ensure to go through the cradle-to-cradle system

  4. The plan that wants to get “zero waste” does not create sustainable cradle-to-cradle cycles

  5. Cradle-to-cradle needs new ecosystems to create new consumption that will produce economic growth

  6. Cradle-to-cradle creates new opportunities for reduced cost, new revenue streams, and more last customer/supplier relationships

  7. Must have good coordination of transportation of product

  8. Cradle-to-grave reduce consumption, design for recycling, and reduced toxicity

  9. Seeing industry as good and consumption as fun

  10. Need an “eco-effective” perspective to replace this limited agenda


Blog #6: Team Prompts

    1. What are the technological, social, economic, and political trends that will impact (help or hurt) your ventures? 
      1. Technological trends:
        • Air Quality Monitors: help by detecting air pollution, needs improvement to detect more harmful and bigger pollutants
        • Water Heaters: used widely in kazakhstan to heat water, which is why air quality is worse in winter
      1. Social trends:
        • Language: Language barriers 
        • Weather: While certain plants are natural air purifiers, but weather may not allow them to thrive 
        • Norms: people may be used to way of doing things, and although are intentions are to help, we cannot force anything as visitors to Almaty
      1. Economical trends:
        • Lower class: uses the city wide heating system → open windows → poor air inside home
        • Upper class: uses heating just for their house → not enough pressure on government for social change from people of power → no big governmental changes
      1. Political trends:
        • Government: already has been trying to make small changes to improve air quality
  1. What is the Total Available Market and Total Addressable Market for your product or service?
    1. Everyone since all people are affected by poor air quality, but our experiment addresses college students specifically
February 27

Blog #2

  1. Submit your matrix of research and venture goals for the Spring semester, Summer/Fieldwork, and Fall semester. 


  1. Spring 2023
    1. Project goal
      1. Air monitor
        1. Learning to assemble monitors (new members)
        2. Assembling 20 air monitors and sending to Alma U for the quasi study
        3. Creating exterior design for the air monitors
      2. Air Filter
        1. Doing research on the design of affordable and insertable air filters
        2. Analyzing the old prototype we build last summer
        3. Listing and purchasing necessary materials for the filter
        4. Building the first air filter
        5. Creating an exterior design for the air filter
      3. Air monitor and air filter
        1. Testing the air monitor and filter at Lehigh before the Fieldwork and collecting data
          1. 3 weeks
          2. Open window; closed window; open window+air filter
        2. Improving the monitors and filters based on the test
      4. Assembly shop
        1. Doing research on establishing an Assembly shop
        2. Finding local partners to collaborate on the Assembly Shop
      5. Social media
        1. Creating and developing social media account
    2. Research goal
      1. Quasi-experimental study
        1. Getting CITI certificate
        2. Designing the method and the environment of the study
        3. Monthly online meetings with partners
        4. Writing research proposal
        5. Applying for the IRB
        6. Writing consent form (if needed) and translating the consent form
        7. Start collecting data through our local partners
      2. Last year’s study
        1. Conference in REEESNe
    3. Resources needed
      1. Air monitor parts for air monitor 
      2. The old air filter design to analyze
      3. The information on how our partners can cooperate with us on the study
      4. Testing location at Lehigh
      5. Local partners to collaborate on the Assembly Shop
  2. Summer 2023
    1. Project goal
      1. Air monitor and filter
        1. Finding the necessary materials in the local market
        2. Replicating the test at Lehigh in Almaty in a shorter time period
          1. 3 days
          2. Open window; closed window; open window+filter
        3. Testing in multiple locations to collect data
          1. Indoor; outdoor; downtown; outer area of the city
        4. Fixing the models based on the fieldwork testing
        5. Repeating the 3-week test at Lehigh
          1. 3 weeks
          2. Open window; closed window; open window+air filter
        6. Finalizing the design of the air monitors and air filters
      2. Assembly shop
        1. Finding local partners
        2. Establishing the agenda and the practices
        3. Setting up the Assembly shop
      3. Social media
        1. Informational posts about the consequences of air pollution
          1. Sharing the result of the study
        2. Promotional posts for monitors and filters
        3. Keep posting and updating the account with the process of the project and research
    2. Research goal
      1. Experimental study
        1. Exploring the social dimension and selecting another organization to conduct the study and to scale up our study
        2. Continue collecting data at AlmaU
        3. Finish collecting the data 
        4. Analyzing the data
        5. Writing a paper
        6. Applying for conferences
        7. Applying for publication
    3. Resources needed
      1. Airfare
      2. Funding for materials of monitors and filters
      3. Locations to test the monitor and filter
      4. Finding local partners for the Assembly shop project
      5. Assembly shop logistics
  3. Fall 2023
    1. Project goal
      1. Air monitor and filter
        1. Participating in conferences to introduce our low-cost monitors and filters
      2. Assembly shop
        1. Training Assembly shop workers
        2. Starting the mass-assembly of monitors and filters
      3. Social media
        1. Promotional posts for monitors and filters and the Assembly shop
        2. Keep posting and updating the account with the process of the project and research
    2. Research goal
      1. Experimental study
        1. Participating in conferences to share the results of the study
        2. Formulating the next year’s study
    3. Resources needed
      1. Promotion of the products
      2. Funding for conference traveling

February 20

Blog #5



  1. Does your work require IRB approvals…right now? At a later stage? If Yes, articulate your detailed IRB strategy. If No, explain why you don’t need IRB approval and identify situations when you might need IRB approval


As of right now, our team is in the process of building the air monitors. Once we successfully finish our first prototype we will need IRB approval on whether the monitor will exceed more harm than potential benefit. We will need approval on consent forms for high school participants that will be formulated once our team decides on how to approach our cognitive learning experiment. For our experimental study of examining the relationship between cognitive performance and air quality, we might need IRB approval. It depends on which approach we will choose to conduct the research. In order to determine the impact of air pollution on cognitive ability, we are planning to compare students’ performance in different times of the year with different levels of air pollution. We expect to see visible improvement in the performance as the air quality gets better. For our method, we have two options: repeated observation or single-entry observation. Doing repeated observation has many benefits, but we will need to collect identifiable information, which will require us to get IRB approval. On the other hand, in the single-entry approach, we do not need to identify the participants, but we will not be able to rule out extraneous variables. Therefore, first of all, we need to decide on the method of our experimental study.

  1. Repeated observation
  • Identifiable personal information
  • IRB approval
  • Getting consent /students are underage; we will need to get consent from the parents; we will need to translate the consent form/
  1. Single-entry
  • Randomization 


  1. Based on your life experience, skills and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like? 


In high school I was part of a team project in Senegal, part of our design process that made the project go smoother is building prototypes. The purpose of this project is to build two classrooms for a village near Dakar to help create an academic setting for young children who do not have access to an education. Before traveling to Senegal my team and I built prototypes of the chair and desk that would be implemented in the classroom. Doing this made things a lot more efficient as we were able to eliminate future problems with constructing the furniture. Issues like if the furniture pieces would stay together with the given material, having the right measurements, and maintaining comfort when using the furniture. We also as a team mastered the tools needed to build the chairs and desk so when we got to Senegal we already knew how to use the tools. 


Coming to a similar approach with building the air monitors is creating a prototype of one at Lehigh. Test it here at Lehigh or if possible send one to Kazakhstan to make sure the product is doing what it was designed to do. Then develop the monitor based on critiques and observations that can make the product better. This will help eliminate or at least minimize any issues with implementing air monitors in Kazakhstan. While making a product that the public can depend on.


To further our design process we will choose whether we want to do repeated observation or single-entry for the cognitive performance experiment but also keep in mind the second option if the first one does not seem to work. Connect with the school principal on how to get as many students to participate to have more detailed analysis, ideally getting a variation of students’ different academic standing. 


  1. Identify your three most important stakeholders and list five UNIQUE attributes for each one of them. 
  1. High School Students in Kazakhstan
  • Participating in our experimental study
  • Working together with us to build affordable air monitors
  • Experiencing the impact of air pollution (lives in Almaty)
  • Eager to help (contacted us first)
  1. Alma U
  • Partnering with us on our project
  • Cooperating with us to collect data
  • Serving as a counselor for our project
  • Providing us with necessary information (locals)
  1. Lehigh University
  • Providing us with opportunity to do work on our project
  • Supporting us to do the fieldworks (to conduct the research, meet the partners, etc)
  • Counseling us on the appropriateness of our experimental study
  • Help us build connections for possible funding for the air monitors and air filters
  • Allowing us to implement the project that we put our ideas, perspective, and innovation together to help others


  1.  Identify three ways in which you will validate your project concept, technology, usability, and business model.
  1. Concept validation
  • Air pollution definitely must be addressed as it impacts people’s lives on many different levels. We are conducting this experimental study to detect the impact of air pollution on cognitive performance, to alarm Almaty people, and to change their indifferent attitude towards the situation. Citizens of Almaty understand their situation (from what we found from our last year’s study), but we need to provide more alarming facts to let them start taking actions to change the situation or at least start preventing themselves from the exposures (air monitors and air filters). Once people see the benefits of this change from our study, they might change their attitude towards the issue. 
  1. Technology validation
  • We are aiming to build affordable air monitors and air filters to make equipment that will help Almaty people to prevent themselves from the exposure. We are experimenting on prototypes, and we are planning to collaborate with local high schools to build cheaper designs. As planned, we will test the prototypes during our fieldwork, and also we need to visit local markets to see if we can find materials locally. 
    • Finding materials from local markets
  1. Usability 
  • We are aiming to make our monitors and filters easy to use. Air monitors we are building displayed emoticons indicating the pollution level, so no one needs specific knowledge on PM 2.5 levels to read the result. We are planning to make air filters that can be inserted on the window, so it does not use any electricity. The user only has to wash it once in a while. 
  1. Business model
  • Our experimental study will help us to change Almaty people’s attitude.
    • We need to find a way to distribute the result of our study.
  • Our air monitor and air filters help Almaty people to prevent themselves from indoor exposure to air pollution. 
    • We are planning to open assembly shop in the Almaty to make the monitor and filters more sustainable: employing locals (volunteers) and using locally available materials. 
February 13

Blog #4

Blog #4: Team Prompts– 

  1. List the top 20 questions your team needs to answer to advance the venture forward. Categorize the questions if necessary. 
  1. When is the heating season in Almaty?
  2. Where are the powerhouses located?
  3. What is the general map of the city?
  4. Where are the main roads located?
  5. Where are self-heating traditional houses mainly located?
  6. Where are the schools located? 
  7. When will we conduct the experiment?
  8. How can we make our monitors and filters easily accessible?
  9. How many participants do we need?
  10. How will we analyze the data?
  11. How can we convince citizens to take better precautions?
  12. What is the best way to educate people about the effects of poor air quality?
  13. What is the most effective way to make air monitors?
  14. Can we persuade the government to make meaningful changes?
  15. How much help can we anticipate from Kazak organizations?
  16. What other potential partnerships can we form? 
  17. Realistically, will we be able to improve the air quality? 
  18. How to build sustainable and affordable air filters with local products?
  19.  How to share the result of our experimental study?
  20. Do we need funding? How can we get any?
  1. Develop and Visualize the Theory of Change (Logic Model) for your venture. Please submit a crisp visual. 

  1. Develop a Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) plan for your venture. Identify short-term and long-term outcomes.
  1. Metric of success: we are going to measure success through cognitive tests. The results of the tests will tell us if air quality has an effect on cognitive performance.
  2. Short term: educate people on ways to keep protect themselves from poor air quality and create air monitors
  3. Long-term: infrastructural change and improved air quality will decrease the health issues associated with air pollution


February 6

Blog #3

Blog #3: Team Prompts


Air quality in Almaty


Our research: Cognitive ability vs air pollution [comparing cognitive performance]

Goal: Motivating citizens to take action individually and collectively to reduce air pollution by raising their awareness of the severity of air pollution through our research and project. (Last year’s research studied people’s general attitude on the issue.)


  1. What SDGs does your project target? What might be reasonable indicators for those SDGs? 
  • SDG#1. Quality Education [#4]

Indicator#1: Community’s attitude towards air pollution

  • SDG#2. Good health and well-being [#3]

Indicator#1. Health conditions caused by air quality 

Indicator#2. Declining cognitive abilities caused by air quality [comparing students’ test performances at different times of the year]

  • SDG#3. Sustainable cities and communities [#11]

Indicator#1. Not eco-friendly, sustainable heating system (fossil fuels)

Indicator#2. Infrastructures and buildings (overheating→opening windows during winter)

  • SDG#4. Climate Action [#13]

Indicator#1: Ecosystems declining due to water heating in Kazakhstan 

Indicator#2: Fossil fuel usage and emitted air pollutants and their impact on climate change


  1. Crystallize the larger challenge your venture seeks to address, the specific problems you are targeting, and the kinds of opportunities you hope to leverage. 
    1. Larger challenge: Climate change and air pollution
    2. Specific problems: Almaty people’s  lack of knowledge on the severity of air pollution and their attitudes on the issue
  • Opportunities:
  • Last year’s research and project
    • Research on the attitude of the general public toward the issue
      • Now that we know how the people in Almaty perceive the situation as indifferent, we can work this year to address the situation.
    • Project of building affordable air monitors
      • Now we know how to build it easily, we have the necessary parts, and thus, we would be able to move on to our next project of establishing an Air Monitor Assembly Shop in Almaty.
    • Project of recommendation notecards
      • We have all the necessary information for the recommendation, so now we will transfer it to poster size and place it around the city.
  • Fieldwork in May
    • Meeting our local partners
    • Conducting our research and collecting data
    • Setting up the Air Monitor Assembly shop
  • Partnership with locals [high school; university; hospitals]
    • Local high school
      • To collect data on our research on the effect of air pollution on cognitive ability
      • Collaborating on the innovation of affordable air monitors
    • Local hospital
      • Distributing our posters and notecards with recommendations regarding preventing from exposure to air pollution


  1. Identify the two most important social, economic, and environmental bottom lines that matter to your project. 

Triple bottom line:

Our goal: Raising people’s awareness of the severity of air pollution

  • Social: Change the social aspect of how Almaty people perceive poor air quality and health issues caused by it
  • Economic: Saving annual medical expenses caused by poor air quality by introducing effective and affordable ways to prevent exposures [air monitors; informational posters] 
  • Environmental: Reducing air pollution in Almaty by motivating people to find an alternative, more sustainable way of heating


  1. Describe ten cultural factors that might impact your project at various phases in its lifecycle. 
  • General cultural differences: It is necessary for us to put ourselves in Almaty’s people’s situation to understand them and to also find a sustainable solution to the problem, but as we do not have any experience (except our one member who is from Almaty, Kazakhstan) with Kazakh culture, we might miss cultural aspects those need to be considered in our research and project. 
  • Language barriers: Even though we have a team member who is proficient in the language, it still might be challenging for us to communicate with our local partners. 
  • Different views on topics (such as air quality perception): As we lack personal experience with air pollution, we might have completely different views on the air pollution topic compared to that of the Almaty people. Therefore, we might miss considering factors that later can affect the implementation of our project. 
  • Political views: We might come across someone with opposing political views which come from different cultural backgrounds. We have to remain considerate of this, and not allow it to bother us or treat anyone differently.
  • Poor air quality: In studying poor air quality, we will most likely find ourselves in places with poor air quality. Coming prepared with masks and other things endorsed by healthcare professionals will help minimize risks associated with breathing in polluted air.
  • Different views within Almaty’s class system: Lower classes use the coal-burning centralized heating system and higher classes have their own heating systems. Lower classes must open windows to cool down their houses, whereas high classes get to control their own heat.
  • Transportation difficulties: We may find ourselves trying to get someplace and not having a direct route, so patience is important.
  • Time Difference: People may value time differently than we do in the US, and its important to maintain patience and understanding if a meeting runs longer than expected, or starts later than was planned.
  • Time Zone Change: Since we are going to a different country, we will have to deal with time zone differences at the beginning of our trip as well as when we get home
  • Clothing differences: Some types of clothing may not be culturally appropriate, and we must be mindful about offending locals when we dress for our trip


  1. Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to address community/market problems.
  • Learning the most common phrases in Russian
  • Researching/learning about Kazakhstan more
  • Wearing masks/covers to help with air quality 


January 30

Blog #1

Why did you join this Impact Fellowship program (motivation, prior interests)?

My reason for joining the Impact Fellowship is that I have a strong interest in helping those in need. Looking back on previous community engagements that I have been a part of I traveled to Senegal with peers from my high school. During our three-week period in Senegal, we helped a village infrastruct two classrooms to create a productive learning environment for children living in the village. We built desks, chairs, and painted the classrooms. While also becoming familiar with Senegalese culture, and understanding what the villagers did in their daily lives. It was a lot different from what you would expect from people living in Urban areas because this village was segregated from any urban city. The closest city was a kilometer away from the village. I think I have gotten some understanding of helping in rural communities but I want to get a glimpse of what it is like to help urban communities. Helping urban communities seems to have additional layers to fixing its issues. I want to see the connections that are made to inforce reform or even create reform to better communities that are in need. Going into Kazakhstan will give me somewhat of an introduction of what needs to be done to make progress in urban settings while also getting the chance to experience a little bit of central asia.

How do you envision this course making you a better () student?

I envision this course will make me a better researcher, finding evidence that will further push the project in the right direction. While being more engaged within the community to obtain statistical evidence from reliable sources. I see this also improving my writing skills as the presentations and papers need to be discrete and direct on what was learned from the team. The course will better my writing skills in a more professional style as some of the writing can be published. Presentations will improve my public speaking as I believe in most professional settings you need the ability to speak confidently with knowledgeable individuals to address concerns that need to be addressed or in this case convince certain individuals to care about your topic. Being in the political science field will be a great trait to strengthen before getting more serious in my field. Still trying to find an exact interest in all of this, my hope is in Kazakhstan I may find interest in public policy and want to dive deeper into that field. As I may get a better understanding of the political implications that are not easily seen when trying to fix political issues. Another important aspect I hope to strengthen is team collaboration. This course has made me approach this project a lot differently than other school projects. The impact we have on these communities is determined by how much effort we put into this project, not saying I did not put 100% in my previous class projects but this is definitely not a project that should be taken lightly. I believe to heighten our progress to its maximum potential we as a team must be willing to collaborate with each other on what we find in our research and build on each other’s ideas. I think that is something I am willing to work on also thinking on the fly as I am constantly hearing different opinions. Knowing what comes with collaboration is agreement and criticism.

The World Health Organization estimates that over one billion people who need eyeglasses do not have access to them. The vast majority of these people live in developing countries where there is barely one optometrist for every one million people. Given the high poverty levels, access to eyeglasses is almost non-existent. Lack of proper eyeglasses severely impacts people and their livelihoods by decreasing their productivity at work, limiting or eliminating new opportunities, affecting their quality of life, deteriorating their general health, and possibly leading to (preventable) blindness. What solution do you propose to address this problem?

I would first want to understand what is causing the problem in these developing countries because most of the reason for their loss of vision is the toxic waste that surrounds them. For example, textual waste is something that can alter people’s vision as the used clothes are piled on top of each other which later produces toxic chemicals that can cause defects to young children that are carried onto them for their whole lives. Making sure to create subtopics in my research on other possibilities of what is hurting people’s ability to see. I would then start to approach the public bringing awareness to the issue at hand as to why there are so many people who are in need of eyeglasses. I would also address the root of the cause whether it is the government, neighboring countries, or even the U.S. on what they are doing to cause these problems. I would bring awareness to government officials to give more financial support to more optometrists in the areas so that the general public can go back to working efficiently which should in return help build the economy faster.