THE LESOTHO SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT PROJECT

A study on the connection between energy, health and poverty in developing countries aimed at determining sustainable development solutions to identified problems. This study was a collaboration between the Baker Institute Energy Forum and Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies at Rice University.

The goal of this project is to develop integrated, cross-disciplinary approaches to sustainable development that can be implemented at the community level in developing countries. Research investigates the correlation between energy use, income level and health, and identifies barriers to improved energy efficiency, access to energy, and reliability of energy sources, as well as air and water quality. The team works in partnership with local communities in Lesotho to conduct research assessments (field surveys) and focus groups to identify trends in income, family structure, energy use, social capital, and health.  Based on this information, we aim to develop strategies to design and implement cost-effective, sustainable solutions that improve energy efficiency and health.

To Learn More:

LSAP Internships

RICE University students who participated in the spring 2010 course "Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Development" were eligible to participate in a summer internship abroad with the Energy Forum and Rice 360°.

LSAP Summer 2009

Rice faculty and students conducted a 6-week, community needs-based survey assessment and implemented small-scale, sustainable, community-maintained projects in 3 peri-urban communities around Maseru, Lesotho in southern Africa. House-to-house surveys for qualitative and quantitative data collective were co-coordinated by Kristen Matsumura, Researcher, Department of Civil Engineering, University of California, Davis.

Urban Homestead Gardens: Reducing Erosion, Water & Energy Consumption & Improving Nutrition

Coordinated by Rice interns Mark Hoffman (Civil Engineering) and Kelley Liao (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Earth Science)

Rainwater Harvesting: Storing Water for Urban Agriculture Irrigation Practices

Coordinated by Rice interns Margaret Murphy (Civil Engineering) and Marielle Schweickart (Natural Sciences Division)

Weatherization and Insulation: Improving the Energy Efficiency of Urban Structures

Coordinated by Rice intern Amanda Hu (Psychology)

Rice Faculty and Staff Advisers Include:

  • Amy Myers Jaffe, Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies, Baker Institute
  • Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Stanley C. Moore Professor and Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering, Rice
  • Eugenia Georges, Associate Professor and Department Chair in Anthropology, Rice
  • Ron Soligo, Professor of Economics, Rice
  • Lauren Vestewig, Executive Director, Rice 360° Initiative
  • Lauren Smulcer, Energy Forum Research Associate, Baker Institute

LSAP June 2008

The Lesotho Sustainability Assessment Project sent Rice faculty and six Rice student-interns to Maseru, Lesotho to conduct an on-site, four-week community needs-based assessment in Maseru, Lesotho in Summer 2008. While in Maseru, the team identified and implemented a few immediate solutions to small-scale problems identified on the ground, interacting and educating locals and students about the systems and their maintenance. However, the target goal of the summer 2008 assessment project is to identify large-scale problems, needs, and obstacles to implementing sustainable, cost-effective solutions in order to promote development. Upon return to the U.S., the team will strategize and develop proposals for future projects. The team will then return in summer 2009 to implement, test, and evaluate the impact of its proposed solutions. After this initial period, the overall success of the project will be evaluated and plans for future projects and sites will be developed.

Rice students will be cataloging their experiences in a blog.

LSAP 2008 students include:

  • Mark Hoffman, Civil Engineering, Rice University
  • Matt Wesley
  • Scott Steger
  • Joanna Cummings
  • June Liu
  • Amanda Hu, Psychology, Rice University
  • Guyton Durnin, Graduate Student, Rice University

Rice Faculty and Staff Advisers Include:

  • Amy Myers Jaffe, Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies, Baker Institute
  • Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Stanley C. Moore Professor and Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering, Rice
  • Eugenia Georges, Associate Professor and Department Chair in Anthropology, Rice
  • Pedro Alvarez, George R. Brown Professor and Department Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rice
  • Lauren Vestewig, Executive Director, Rice 360° Initiative
  • Lauren Smulcer, Energy Forum Research Associate, Baker Institute

 

The "Lesotho Project" is funded by Baker Institute Energy Forum Sponsors and the Rice 360° Initiative.