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Meet Jacob Camm: an IDDS Changemaker from Botswana

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Alex Moseson

Jacob Camm is a changemaker. His community comes to him to repair everything, he built his own unique home, and he creates functional art from trash and miscellany. In addition to his mind and hands, his heart makes it impossible not to smile in his presence laugh at his jokes and marvel at his generosity. To rapidly develop a fodder chopper with an IDDS D'Kar team, benefitting farmers and cattle alike, he designed to meet local needs, reverse-engineered diverse machines, donated extraordinary parts, fabricated new components to perfection, and more.

To quote IDIN Director & Principal Investigator Amy Smith: "Sometimes they say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and while I believe that this is true for IDDS, the parts matter a lot too." Jacob is just one of the 600+ precious parts in the Network. With people like this, what can't we do?

On a personal note, I knew that lives would be transformed at IDDS D'Kar but hadn't expected one of them to be my own. I learned more from the inspirational and accomplished Jacob (a participant) than he did from me (a design facilitator.) Working on the front lines alongside him and the other 32 participants and 13 organizers was just the "booster shot" I needed to recommit to development. IDDS is development transformed—rather than a hand out, all these hands lift each other up. 

Alex Moseson was a design facilitator at IDDS Dkar and is a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at USAID's Global Development Lab.