Module 00- Micro-economy Kit

Chapter 1: Developing Nations: Problems and Solutions


Many developing countries suffer from extreme poverty. These are the statistics from the 2018 Human Development Report by the UN Development Program to show the multitude of ways in which poverty impacts the quality of human life.

50% (3 billion people) of the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day. 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate water access.
75% of the total world income is accounted for by the richest 20% of the population. 1 in 7 (270 million) children live with no access to health services. 
22,000  children die each day due to poverty. 1 in 3 (640 million) children live without adequate shelter.

The Underlying Problem

People of developing countries engage in resourceful and self-sustaining practices as a way to the cycle of poverty. Solutions to the problems of developing countries must be affordable, locally-based and renewable. Below are just some examples.

Developing Nations: Problems and Solutions

Problem 1: Lack of access to energy and electricity

  • Solution: Use of wind to generate energy.

Watch TED TALK 1 by: Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba, who at 14 built an electricity-generating windmill from spare parts, working from rough plans he found in a library book.

How-I-built-a-windmill_Ted-Talk Transcript [DOC]

Problem 2: Lack of access to clean water

  • Solution: Use of a nanotech filter that could save lives in emerging economies and disaster sites.

Watch TED TALK 2 by: Engineer Michael Pritchard invented the portable Lifesaver filter, which can make the most revolting water drinkable in seconds.

Clean Water Everywhere Transcript [DOC]

Problem 3: Air pollution

  • Solution: Use of clean-burning charcoal from farm waste in kitchens with open cooking fires.

Watch TED TALK 3 by: Amy Smith, the MIT Engineer, who presented a solution that could save 2 million children a year in the developing world.

Simple Designs To Save A Life Transcript [DOC]

Problem 4: Access to quality health care

  • Solution: Use of an inexpensive small sleeping bag for premature babies.

Watch TED TALK 4  by: Jane Chen, who showcases a solution that is cheaper than expensive incubators, but just as functional.

A Warm Embrace That Saves Lives Transcript [DOC]


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Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Design Copyright © 2023 by Jacqulyn A. Baughman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.