Skip to main content

Catherine Lainé '98 Named "Social Capitalist Who Will Change the World"

Catherine Lainé '98 Named
"Social Capitalist Who Will Change the World"

by Maki Somosot '12

Catherine Laine
Catherine Lainé '98

Catherine Lainé '98 was honored as one of the "5 Social Capitalists who will change the world in 2010" in a recent article published by Fast Company magazine. As deputy director of the Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group (AIDG), a nonprofit organization, Lainé helps oversee the firm's seed funding activities, which allow budding entrepreneurs in developing Latin American countries to borrow grants and low-interest loans for starting up their own businesses. Supported by AIDG, these local businesses conceptualize low-cost, sustainable, and environmentally-conscious solutions for infrastructure development. AIDG also helps provide access to sufficient energy sources, clean water, and proper sanitation for impoverished local communities and families.

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Lainé made strides in the ongoing aid and relief efforts for the physical restoration of Haiti through AIDG. As the organization's representative in Haiti, she helped coordinate volunteer engineers, distribute cookstoves, and initiate a joint collaboration with Architecture for Humanity for the reconstruction of safer houses.

In addition to these responsive efforts, AIDG continues to work on other projects in Haiti. One current enterprise is the conversion of collected organic and human waste into biogas fuel, which AIDG aims to use for electricity co-generation in Cap Haitien. In cooperation with a local organization SOIL, AIDG has recently finished the construction of a dry compost latrine in Petite Ansi.

Prior to her work at AIDG, Lainé studied infectious disease epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health and Oxford University. She graduated from Swarthmore with a major in biology and is fluent in French and proficient in Haitian Creole and Spanish. Lainé, whose family is from Haiti, currently, maintains a blog about her experiences working there after the earthquake.