Friday, 16 January 2009

Collaborations with the Indian Institute of Technology

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Potato Processing:
Throughout the last two years, CTI volunteers Shiv Murty, Steve Laible, and Nancy Laible have been in contact with Prof. Narendra Shah at the Center for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay to discuss the rural community needs and potential solutions in the region near Mumbai.

A major need in the area is to preserve the potato harvest in a way that will generate income.  To that end, a project to disseminate small-scale equipment to make “processed potato products” was initiated at CTARA. The project involves developing equipment for making puffed potato cubes which can be consumed or sold at market. To help streamline the manufacturing process, CTI offered its potato peeling and slicing equipment from West Bengal.  After a visit to CTIvolunteer Bibek Ray’s potato-processing facilities in Gohaldanga, West Bengal, Prof. Shah and his team decided to purchase the peeler and slicer units for testing. The units will be fabricated in West Bengal and shipped to Mumbai by March where they will be placed with a local entrepreneur for field testing.  It is everyone’s hope that the field tests will prove the equipment useful in streamlining the production of these income-generating puffed potato cubes.

Launch of a “CTI Fellowship” at IIT Bombay: 

CTI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay to offer a fellowship for one Masters in Technology student to undertake a two year program in Technology and Development at the Center for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA). The fellowship will be offered for five years beginning in June 2009.

Funds for this “CTI Fellowship” at CTARA were underwritten by long time CTI supporters Gale and Shivram Murty (IIT Bombay alumnus).  For more than twenty five years, CTI has worked with in-country partner organizations to disseminate technology developed by our dedicated volunteers. With the launch of this program, Shiv and Gale note, “We hope that CTI’s investment in people will be just as beneficial in disseminating our technology. As the “CTI Fellows” complete their studies and join various organizations, their awareness and knowledge of CTI will enable them to integrate our technology solutions into other related programs.”  Over time this program may be extended to other parts of the world with several CTI Fellows around the world making an even greater impact in alleviating hunger and poverty.

(CTARA started a new Masters in Technology program in Technology and Development in July 2007.)

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