Frame Changers: Khanjan Mehta’s cartoon series reflects on a decade of social innovation in Africa

In September 2004, Khanjan Mehta, director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program, advised a student team designing a low-cost windmill for a rural community in Western Kenya. Little did he know it would be his first of dozens of trips to developing countries to build technology-based ventures that improve human lives. On the tenth anniversary of his engagement with Africa, Mehta has created and launched Frame Changers, a daily cartoon through which he shares lessons learned in the broad areas of sustainable development, humanitarian engineering and social entrepreneurship.

The Frame Changers name, Mehta explained, was inspired by moments that caused him to revisit his philosophy of engagement and rethink his concepts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. “While my quest for improving the human condition has yielded a few ‘game changers,’ there have been countless everyday ‘frame changers’: moments that have challenged my beliefs, values and rational assumptions.”

He noted that Frame Changers are a variety of funny, satirical, incisive, futuristic, inspiring and hypocritical takes on the array of social ventures he has been involved with through the years: windmills, telemedicine systems, low-cost diagnostics, science education programs, innovation spaces and affordable greenhouses.

Frame Changers 1

The first daily Frame Changers cartoon was posted earlier this week. Anyone interested in subscribing can sign up at

Mehta estimates that HESE ventures have touched the lives of more than a million people. Perhaps Frame Changers will, too.


Frame Changers is available at and For more information about the HESE program, visit Prof. Mehta can be reached at 814-863-4426 or

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