As part of MIT’s D-Lab, Kofi Taha has developed and supported asset-based approaches to community-driven livelihood and quality-of-life technology design, mostly in subsistence farming communities where people on average earn less than $3 a day. He has facilitated village-level design-thinking trainings in Uganda, Mongolia and Haiti; worked with the Peace Corps to create appropriate technology centers in Zambia; helped interdisciplinary teams commercialize social impact products; provided support to local innovation centers in Brazil, Colombia, India and Tanzania; and, through management of a $15 million USAID project, helped build a global community of 1000+ innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers and ecosystem builders focused on addressing the conditions of poverty. Kofi has pursued similar work in after school programs in Mississippi and Massachusetts that focus on making design and educational resources accessible to geographically and economically isolated communities. Regardless of context or whether technology is a focus, what drives his work is a simple commitment to confronting legacies of exclusion through inclusive practices that lead to practical solutions and equitable opportunities.
Ron is a Solutions Architect for Cisco Tactical Operations, a dedicated crisis response team that establishes emergency networks in the aftermath of a disaster. A member of TacOps since May 2013, he is responsible for leading the strategy and technical direction of the team’s network infrastructure and deployable communications solutions. Ron deploys and supports mobile communication platforms such as the Network Emergency Response Vehicle, a.k.a. the NERV, and portable kits such as the Rapid Response Kits and Mesh Response Kits. He has deployed to provide communications support in more than 40 sites during the 2017 Hurricane Maria response in Puerto Rico, and in 2015 provided connectivity along the migrant route during European Refugee Crisis in Slovenia. Ron was also part of the 2015 Cyclone Pam response team that assisted in reestablishing communications supporting government CIO operations in Vanuatu, and deployed in 2013 to the Philippines for the Super Typhoon Haiyan response, installing satellite terminals and networks that supported local government relief efforts in Guiuan and Borongan.