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CITE is supporting SEWA members as they learn how to create and administer their own technology evaluations.This past winter break, Cardoso traveled around India and conducted 24 focus groups involving 230 people, in an effort to understand different SEWA operations, and with support from the MIT Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center he will be returning to India this summer.“Of course I was just one kid at 19, no money, no nothing, and not even an engineer yet, but that was my rationale.” After talking to the waste management company, Cardoso realized the issue wasn’t a shortage of trucks, but rather that the company didn’t understand how to navigate the physical environment of the favela.Cardoso came up with a simple fix: He mapped the entire favela, indicating where the garbage trucks could pass through, and where narrow streets required garbage pickup on foot or by tractor.), and sustainability (will the technology create a long-lasting impact, and will the business model supporting it survive long-term? For the past five years, Cardoso and the rest of the CITE team have been organizing pilot studies all over the world, from solar lanterns in Uganda to water filters in India, and now they are in the process of compiling their results and developing the best methodology.CITE has also teamed up with the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), which felt it lacked a systematic way of assessing the technologies it was delivering to the local community.“Growing up, seeing the lack of sanitation, being harassed by the police, the racial discrimination.” Cardoso, who comes from a family of artists, instead found himself drawn to engineering, which he saw as a tool he could use to help communities such as his own.
With few resources, Cardoso often had to get creative — at one point he spent 24 hours driving a garbage route and taking photos to record when garbage was being collected and how quickly it was accumulating.His second year in Angola, Cardoso worked with a private company, where he implemented business practices such as hiring tests for garbage collectors and an employee kitchen to help workers eat better.His work in Brazil and Angola made Cardoso realize that there was more he needed to learn to better understand the problems he was seeing around him.Cauam Cardoso was only 17 when he decided to break from family tradition and pursue engineering instead of the arts, a move that set him on a path to working with communities in need.Over the past decade, Cardoso, a Ph D student in international economic development at MIT, has helped communities on five continents overcome infrastructure issues such as a lack of sanitation, while always following the advice his dad gave him growing up: “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, so listen more than you talk.” Experiencing problems, finding solutions Cardoso grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in a poor neighborhood that bordered a slum, or favela.