Diana Jue & Jackie Stenson

Last modified: 
12/21/2020 - 18:16
Laureate 2014

Diana Jue & Jackie Stenson

Essmart Global
Brings life-improving technologies to low-income rural populations.

Before meeting in fall 2011, Diana Jue and Jackie Stenson followed separate yet parallel paths. Diana grew up in Los Angeles and studied urban planning and economics at MIT. Jackie was raised in Connecticut and studied mechanical engineering at Harvard. They were both interested in international development and both went travelling after university – Diana to South Asia and China and Jackie to Sub-Saharan Africa. From these travels, the two young women drew the same conclusion: they never saw anyone owning or using any of the innovative products designed for low-income rural populations.

‘In Asia, my team promoted solar cookers in Tibetan villages,’ says Diana. ‘It taught me the huge difficulties involved in distributing these products to the people who most need them.’ ‘When you actually go to the villages in Africa,’ says Jackie, ‘no-one has any idea these kinds of products exist, how to get one or how to fix it.’