391 Timeline Archives, Fall 2019

Below are the activities that have been moved from the Fall 2019 391 timeline:

WEEK 0 No class this week but there is a short assignment (below)

  1. Please read the syllabus – link on the main class website.
  2. Please take this short survey about our global knowledge. It doesn’t count toward your grade. Please don’t look anything up, but you can think hard and contemplate the question and please do your best.
  3. Read about projects on the main class website and/or be ready to suggest a new one of your own design. You are welcome to change projects to another group if you can find someone to change with you. Please find your project and do some research on it.
  4. We need more presenters! Every year, student feedback overwhelmingly endorses having more presentations from practitioners in the field. Can you recommend someone who could give a talk? Do you have experiences that you might give a talk about?

Sept 23, Monday: Personal Introductions, and What is a development model?
Please Read before class:
hey, if you haven’t done it, please take the 4 minute survey… see (2) above

  1. Maybe you have thought about this before?: “There are poor people. What should be done about it?” Let’s call your answer to this your “development model”. Please spend at least 5 minutes to think about and write down an answer to this question. Bring it to class. After you have finished, please consider the following readings.
  2. Kofi Annan’s Astonishing Facts Kofi Annan’s Astonishing Facts, What’s the most astonishing to you? This document is 20 years old. How do you think some of these facts have changed since his list was written?
  3. Please skim the Millennium Development Goals Report. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/reports.shtml
  4. Please go to reports and download the most recent report, which is many pages. Please read the intro, and each heading and look at the statistics of each graph. Get an idea of what this is all about so you can compare it to the more modern document (next).
  5. Then read the newer Sustainable Development Goals. How are they different from the MDG (above)? Here’s what Solar Cookers International Says about the Difference. Come to class ready to identify your favorite goals and discuss why you have these priorities.
  6. Please watch this video about global knowledge. It will require you to sign up for a free membership on Play Posit. Please write your password down somewhere so you don’t forget it.
  7. All past classes have agreed that guest speakers are appreciated. Can you give a presentation or recommend someone else to give a presentation about an experience in development? If so, please let me know as soon as possible.


Sept 25, Wednesday: Read Five papers and compare development models:
Learn what you can about Ghana. Please spend 10 minutes online learning about the country and development challenges.

  1. Sachs “Can extreme poverty be eliminated?” http://povertynewsblog.blogspot.com/2005/08/jeffrey-sachs-can-extreme-poverty-be.html
  2. Easterly, “A Modest Proposal: Economic Possibilities for our time”: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25562-2005Mar10.html
  3. Bageant, “On international development” I’m assigning the first address to the university. However, feel free to read the rest about him if you like.
  4. Ivan Illich, “To Hell with Good Intentions” http://www.swaraj.org/illich_hell.htm
  5. In class, *Must establish group expectations

FRIDAY: Take part in the climate rally at the court house… even better, join the bike swarm:
There are plans shaping up for a mass bike ride – a swarm of bicycles,
The bike swarm will leave from in front of Kennedy Library at 4:45pm this Friday September 27.

WEEK 2 Monday, Sept 30.: Nate Heston (Cal Poly Physics, and returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ghana) talks about the construction project in Agbokpa Ghana! A Reflection: In our ending discussion about the role of the class,, I regretted making the final statement, that anything I could have added diluted the beauty of what Ajeeth had to say. Do you remember? That what we need to do, we’re doing right now (remember this when we read Ferguson later on). In our efforts to make positive change in the world, please consider what you might accomplish in the next 9 weeks, compared to what you might accomplish in your subsequent lifetime. In training ourselves as a lifetime change agent, we might apply to ourselves the development model that many espouse for the global poor: the most effective support is knowledge and wisdom.

  1. Be prepared to present your project!!!
  2. I updated the syllabus… dude, it was all wrong before, so please read it again. So sorry for the confusion.
  3. Please see this video about the water project that Nate managed.
  4. Now, Nate was dedicated to the above project, but WE were doing something different. We built and tested ISEC in preparation for SunCook, our ISEC company. Please see this short video: Solar Cooking in Ghana.
  5. Please consider this article about ethical boundaries in posting selfies in pictures with local people.
  6. Please read about this Ghanaian who won an award. What upset him, provoked him to action? What was his action? What was his development model? Is there a way for us to leverage/support what he did?
  7. “One thing I’d like to explore is the three goals of the Peace Corps, as given at https://www.peacecorps.gov/about/ , I’ll be interested to ask you which they think is most important, and why, as a way of introducing the subject.”
  8. Should a nonprofit decide itself out of existence?
  9. Robert Van Buskirk has some strong statements to say about the above question. Read his excellent (in my opinion) rant. The beginning of the Email explains why his calculations don’t consider all the details, BUT the rest of the Email describes a fundamental challenge to global development efforts. The Email is part of a discussion we had about whether we should go to the Solar Energy For All (SE4All) conference in Portugal. Here’s the Email.
  10. Read about the increase in income inequality in the USA… what’s the Gini Index?

Sustainability Opportunity: 10/1 Zero Waste Festival on Dexter Lawn, 10-2pm

Wednesday, Oct. 2, Welcome Professor Ryan Alaniz: ralaniz@calpoly.edu,

  1. Please read Professor Alaniz’s short book: Conscientious Gringo Think about how you want to be in your project and what we need to be careful of as we go forth. Please make an effort to answer the questions, and maybe focus on any particular question you find compelling.
  2. Please ask yourself how Sachs, Easterly Bageant, and Illich would respond to this?
  3. Be ready for your assessment. In particular, please be able to explain the development models (in two sentences or less) of each of the four authors last Wednesday. Please know their names too. We will refer to them in the future.
  4. Get the flu vaccine! two years ago,, more than 80,000 people died from the flu. College students are the group that is least likely to get the vaccine, but they suffer significantly from getting the flu. Please read about it if you like.

Project Website to be evaluated starting Midnight, Saturday, Oct. 5 – problem statement, group members, contact information, resources, picture of your group having fun. See websites from classes past for templates. Please consider coming Sundays to the SEF, Student Experimental Farm, noon – 1:00 PM

WEEK 3 This week: Don’t throw anything away – self intervention – Start ASAP – remember if you forget and throw something away, you can just start again.

Oct. 7, Monday: Peter and Irene Keller of Aid Africa presents, Clif  also introduces his Tanzania NGO.

  1. you might ask yourself if you want to continue your project after this class. Please consider writing a proposal for the Baker Koob Grant. In 2015, a student applied to B/K and won enough money to fund 4 students on a 1 month trip to Uganda (with Peter of Aid Africa) to explore solar electric cooking!
  2. PROJECT: You hopefully already sent me an Email with:
    1) Your website link,
    2) The names of each person in your group (to be posted on the main class website – Please let me know if any of you do NOT want your name on the public website.) If you want your Email linked to your name, please link your Email to the name you send me.
  3. Self Intervention #1: Don’t throw anything away! Don’t throw anything (trash, compost, or recyclables) for a week, but rather collect them. At the end of the week, sort them and consider where they should go… or should they not have come to be in the first place? Blog your experience as you go along. Please see the main class website for the link to the blog and log-in instructions. Please start your entry today.
  4. See the video of Maddi in her experiences in Uganda and find out about AidAfrica.
  5. Prepare for Peter’s visit by going to their website: http://www.aidafrica.net/ and reading what they do and watching the short video.
  6. Peter has also requested that you read through and see the video on this website: Gates Foundation Big Bet
  7. Please learn about the Maasi people that Clif seeks to serve with his new NGO WAEV (Group 10) with this document that Clif has provided about the Maasai.

Oct. 9, Wednesday: Clif will be here again for more questions

Barbara Smith (Peace Corps Recruiting Agent) comes to talk to us about her experience working with the CDC in Zambia.

  1. I greatly appreciate your feedback statements that I received yesterday. I typed them up and am planning to post them for you all to read. Before I do that, I will strip away any information that might identify you. However, if for some reason, you don’t want your statement posted at all, even without reference to who you may be, please let me know.
  2. Please read about Zambia just to get an idea of some facts.
  3. Please see this 1 minute video about life as a PC volunteer in Zambia.
  4. Please read the summary on the first page of this report about mosquito nets that Barbara authored.
  5. Bill Gates’ $1000 toilet
  6. Please read about Faith the Kenyan Farmer
  7. Expanding your problem statement and strategy: Design is often a divergent-convergent process, whereby we identify the problem and a solution. We are often myopic about the solution… sometimes because we have identified the wrong problem. Is the problem that we don’t have food stores with cheap food, or is the problem that people are undernourished? Which is the broader statement? Why does this matter?
  8. All of these self interventions? How did Pete’s family live for about a decade?
  9. Please read Crop Dumping in Haiti
  10. Please read not throw food away
  11. Interested in learning more about the Peace Corps? Then there’s two opportunities for you:
    • There is a Peace Corps Information Session tonight at 7:30 PM (Wednesday) with free pizza in Tenaya Hall Study Lounge (Bldg. 110 Rm 100A)
    • There is a PC Party! Santa Rosa Park from 11am to 2pm on Saturday, October 12th Food and drinks (non-alcoholic) will be provided.  Also, families are welcome to attend and there is a playground for kids. Here is the link from our website for this event, which allows people to register. https://www.peacecorps.gov/events/20_vrs_rpcvpanel_calpoly_20191012/
    • And you can always contact: BARBARA SMITH Senior Recruiter Santa Cruz, CA Returned Volunteer, Zambia 2010-2014 Pronouns she/her/hers Direct: 510.277.2907

In class: step up, step back. Widening the scope of your project.

Don’t throw anything away – self intervention

WEEK 4, Oct. 14, Monday, Danielle Borrelli (dborrell@calpoly.edu) Speaks about Human Trafficking from 2:30 – 3:15

  1. Please read Polaris – The Topology of Modern Slavery, and visit the website of Polaris, the anti-trafficking group.
  2. Recent article by Rand Analysis on human trafficking in rich countries in agriculture.
  3. Please finish your “don’t throw anything away” self intervention, and log your experience on the website linked on the main class website. ALSO,,, A past student found Self Interventions so central to societal change that he set up a dedicated FaceBook page: “Change in a week”. Only if you like, please log your experience there too.
  4. Last week, we looked at a few big aid programs that were disasters. Please take a look at a different side of AID at the USAID website https://www.usaid.gov/results-data/success-stories. Please find at least one success story that relates to your project. The page you see is the first of 200+ pages, so don’t spend too much time on the first page, but look through at least 5 – 10 pages before finding a project that is like yours. Come to class ready to discuss this “success story”.
  5. So maybe you are interested in taking your project to the next level? Maybe you want to go somewhere? I’ve had students three times get a Baker/Koob grant… sending 6 students to Africa. Proposals are due in less than a month. If you are interested, I can provide you with a copy of a successful proposal.
    Proposals Due Nov. 4 for Baker/Koob Endowments

    The Warren J. Baker and Robert D. Koob Endowments are accepting proposals through Monday, Nov. 4, for student projects that provide hands-on, project-based learning opportunities. The endowments will have $70,000 available to support the proposals. The typical range for grants is a maximum of $2,500 for individuals and a maximum of $5,000 for group projects. A faculty committee representing the six colleges will review proposals. Past grants have represented a wide range of academic programs and ideas. Winners will be announced before the holidays, and projects can begin in January. Students have one year to complete their projects. Detailed information and proposal forms are available on the provost’s website.
  6. Please log your “don’t throw away” self intervention on the website. The link is on the main class website.

Oct. 16, We. WE MEET IN OUR REGULAR CLASSROOM!! How do I get to the SEF? Sara Della Ripa and Women’s Health

  1. For Sara’s Talk, please read this article about social innovation to improve health though public education.
  2. Also for Sara’s Talk, please read this article about our poor, but increasing knowledge about challenges in giving birth. Note that there is also the option to listen to a pod cast for this too.
  3. Ferguson, Epilogue, The Anti-Politics Machine: Development. I find this article frustratingly difficult to read, yet it has a beautiful message making the frustration worth it… in my opinion. Ferguson goes through different stake holders and unravels what we think should be done by different people. This is also frustrating when we realize that it isn’t easy. In the end, however, he does say that yes, there is something that we can do – see if you can find this message! We will talk about what this message is, but the whole article is important (in my opinion). We will revisit this paper many times as per our “development model”, so it is good to know it. Who have we read in the past that would agree or disagree with Ferguson? Or better yet, would Ferguson approve of everyone we’ve met? What is Ferguson’s development model? Where would it succeed? Fail?
  4. Please read about the Nobel Prize in Economics. There are two special things about this prize this year… maybe you can identify these two special things and also if those two things are linked to each other. Also, you might consider (for instance if there were an assessment question on it… just sayin’…) of the development models and their authors that we’ve talked about, which one would be most consistent with what these folks have done?
  5. Please log your “don’t throw away” self intervention on the website. The link is on the main class website.
  6. If you would like to speak with Nate Heston, the physics lecturer that lead the Ghana trip this past summer, he is happy  to speak with anyone during his office hours:
    Office Hours Held in Building 25-204: Mon 9:00 – 10:20 AM, Tue 9:00 – 10:20 AM,   Wed. 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    Office Hours Held in Cerro Vista Community Center Building 170G-115A: Tue 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM


WEEK 5 Empathy Intervention… think about it, it is due next Monday Oct. 21 Monday,

  1. Write me an Email about how things are going in your group. Is everyone’s voice heard? Is everyone doing their fair share in your opinion? Is it a positive working/social environment?
  2. Read through the other students’ experiences in the self intervention website. Do you see some new challenges you didn’t experience?
  3. Begin your second self intervention. Recognize when you “otherize” someone – when you see them as some completely not connected to you. However, if you have an interaction or even a feeling about them, now they are connected to you. Then cast the world through their eyes. What are they experiencing? Log the entire experience on the dedicated website. What you think, what you feel, what you learn. Students often have a difficult time with this. Empathizing with someone doesn’t mean you agree with them, or think that they are right. It just means you see things (at least for a moment) how you think they are seeing them.
  4. Please read about Childhood obesity  in poor countries.
  5. Read Empathy in Design.
  6. Reconsider Ferguson’s paper. What is to be done? What should be done by the local political leaders? What is that single nugget of action that the paper advises? Please consider what Sachs, Easterly, Illich, and Bageant would agree. How would he judge the mission and actions of Aid Africa?

Oct. 23, Wednesday, Jill Bolster-White comes to talk about Transitions Mental Health, San Luis Obispo

  1. Please read about TMH-SLO
  2. Please watch this 10 minute video about numbers of homelessness.
  3. Please watch a total of 30 minutes (or more) from the two 1-hour videos:
  4. LA Homeless, NYC Homeless
  5. LATimes on Homeless and Mental Illness
  6. I’ve updated my office hours on the main class website. Please check there to find my availability if you’d like to visit.
  7. Empathy Intervention due by next Monday. Please see main page for link. Come to class with questions. We will talk more about empathy during the rest of the quarter.
  8. Please read an excerpt from E. F. Schumacher’s book: Small is Beautiful Excerpt

WEEK 6 (Interventions, AID) Log into the Empathy Intervention Page (link on main class page) and provide your experience.

Oct. 28, Monday.
Daniel Wiens (Email: daniel@journeymaninternational.org) of Journeyman International visits!

Please prepare for his visit and other preparation:

  1. Ji RYIT Video on Vimeo
  2. Stakeholder Analysis of “Fuel in the Fields”, S. Frayne. Distinguish Importance from Influence
  3. Conduct a stakeholder’s analysis of “Fuel in the Fields” using this worksheet. Do your best to identify the stakeholders in the story and their importance. We will talk about this in class. Then we will identify the important stakeholders in our project groups and analyze their roles in the project.
  4. Please Email me your second self intervention. Indicate if you want your name on it or not… or if you don’t want it posted at all. Remember, to me a key part is that you put yourself in the other person and describe what you imagine is going on for them. What they are thinking. What they are feeling.

Oct. 30, Wednesday: Joni Roberts of Cal Poly Kinesiology talks about Women’s Health in Malawi, and maybe a little about growing up in Jamaica. 

  1. Please read this NPR article about photographs around maternal health.
  2. Please read this article: Culture the Missing Link in Health

Week 7

  1. November 4,
    Nick Babin, recently hired professor in Natural Resources, talks about agroecology and substituting ecological practices for formerly purchased inputs, using his work with Costa Rican coffee farmers as a case study.

    1. Please prepare for Nick’s discussion by reading this short document about Babin’s Work in Costa Rica, 2014-2015
    2. Please read this recent NPR article about agroecology in Indonesian plantations.
    3. Read “Indigenous Management of Tropical Forest Ecosystems: The case of the Kayapó Indians of the Brazilian Amazon”
    4. Please read about The Bill of Rights for Girls. Please consider what this all means with respect to our class. When we started this class in 2007, I thought that the answer to poverty was some widget that we could design that would do something like pump water or husk corn. After 12 years of dutifully learning from my students, I think that the answer lies in woman’s empowerment. Why?
    5. HEY, I’ve noticed that many of the websites have very little content on them. Maybe I didn’t make it clear, but you should be building these websites every week. There is an important evaluation this weekend, so please get working on the websites.
    6. Consider going to this talk Tuesday at 6:00:the Social Science Department is hosting a talk tomorrow called Creating Access to Education in Rural Uganda. Valence Lutisaire is the founder of the non-profit, Youth Focus Africa Foundation (Yofafo), and has created educational, health, and financial opportunities for local women and children. Valence was the first member of his village to receive a college degree and is passionate about creating the same opportunities for children in his rural community.  The talk will be hosted on Tuesday (11/05) in the Advanced Technologies Laboratory (07-01) from 6:10 pm – 7:00 pm. The last 15 minutes of the talk will provide an opportunity for Q&A. Please pass this information along to your students.


November 6, Wednesday. Professor Emeritus Tom Neuhaus who started a fair trade chocolate business with communities in Sierra Leon (or was it the Ivory Coast?) and has begun building chocolate-making facilities in Africa.

Stakeholder Analysis of “Fuel in the Fields”, S. Frayne. Distinguish Importance from Influence

  1. For sure, we will talk about Please read an excerpt from E. F. Schumacher’s book: Small is Beautiful Excerpt
  2. Please read through the class’s Empathy Intervention statements, on the main class website under “feedback”. Please at least identify one entry where the author very nicely was able to place themselves into the shoes of the other person, and see the world through their eyes. Identify another entry where the author did not put themselves in the shoes of the other person. Then read your entry again and see how well you did with respect to the two authors you identified.
  3. Conduct a stakeholder’s analysis of “Fuel in the Fields” using this worksheet.
  4. See the very short video I told you about: What happens when you disregard the government in your stakeholder’s analysis.
  5. http://blog.paulpolak.com/?p=376 (See both videos at the bottom of the website – which don’t appear any more…. here is the one on YouTube of Charcoal Briquette Making, and if you want to see the 8 minute video of Paul Polack talking about his strategy – it’s mostly the 12 steps.
  6. Ethics and Happiness: The Expanding Circle by Peter Singer
  7. Yesterday’s speaker, Nick Babin provided me with the slides from his presentation as well as the following information about the Costa Rica summer program… I encourage you to watch the video even if you have no interest in the program, because it’s very beautiful:Sustainable Agriculture and Forest Conservation Program

Next Saturday Night, Nov. 9, I will review websites again. I will be looking for the following: As in the last website review, I wish to have you introduce your project and your group with documenting pictures. Please refine, expand, or revise your problem statement and the context to better reflect your project now, if relevant. Please add to this: 1) More information about your collaborating community: description, a map, and some demographic information that must include something from http://www.gapminder.org/ or some other graphical representation of informative demographic information related to your community. 2) Outline a plan and/or proposal. What do you hope to accomplish? Why do you want to do this? How do you plan to do this? what are some of the other options? 3) A brief Stakeholders Analysis, as best you can to consider the support and threats your project may face from people in your partner country and here at home. Here is the Template from Amy Smith at MIT. Who are the important people you are working with… who are influential? Also, please watch this very short video about how the tragic consequences if we fail to properly weight the influence of political forces. For the first review, the bar was pretty low, in that my intention was to have people define a project, get together, and start working. For the second review, I have expectations of a considerable amount of material. For a good example, please see some websites from past classes. The link to last year’s classes and the main Appropriate Technology class list is on our main class website.

WEEK 8 Final Self Intervention of your own design Monday, no classes Nov. 11,

Wednesday Nov 13: ESW (Engineers for a Sustainable World) visits class!

  1. Consider joining Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW).  For more information, see this flyer.If you want some help on Stake Holders for your project you can look at others’ such as the Bamboo Project did with their Stake Holder Analysis a few years ago.
  2.  I wrote a chapter for a book about our home. Think of it as a continuation of the video: How does Pete’s family live? You can watch the video if you missed it on Oct. 10. Anyway, here’s the chapter: Ten Years with a Bucket of Shit, and My Efforts to Live Consistent With My Values.
  3. Hey, you know the guy who invented the “Beyond Burger” graduated from Cal Poly? He’s giving a talk Friday at 2:00 PM in Baker Science 180-114. See more in BeyondFlyer.
  4. Today we finish up our empathy intervention. Please read through the group reflections. They are on the main class website. It’s very short. Please read it before class.
  5. Please start planning your final self intervention – one of your own making. You decide what you’re going to do. It should be something that initially you say, “wait, I can’t do that because….” and then you can correct yourself to say, “in order to do that, these are the things that would need to change…” In the past, we’ve had interventions that were environmental (no driving, vegan diet, etc.), and more recently, many students have done interventions that have been to better their lives, (meditation, no social media, etc.). Thus, this self intervention should have two parts: (1) what you do for the wider community/environment/world, and (2) what you do to better your own life. Please consider it, and start as soon as you like. Many students have found this a life-changing opportunity and continued it for years. You will please send me your narrative when you are finished to receive credit for the intervention.