General References

MINKA: A favor de una autentica ciencia campesina, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-46, journal, edited by Grupo Talpuy, 3 issues per year.

This Spanish-language journal provides the rural people (“campesinos”) of Peru with information on locally successful appropriate technologies. MINKA is committed to a search for local solutions to local problems, through the development of a more scientific approach among the campesinos. It emphasizes technologies that have come out of the people’s own experiences, such as the waterpumping windmills built at Miramar. An attractive mix of drawings, cartoons, photos and articles present information on a wide variety of subjects. Each issue concludes with a project for children, with simple plans for a working model of a tool or machine. Past issues have covered topics such as: “Is Mechanization Progress? For Whom?”, plans for a locally-designed spade that is easily made and repaired, plans for a chain pump that can be built in a village, and a description of traditional Inca and pre-Inca water technologies. There are also reviews of illustrated manuals that can be of practical use to campesinos.

To the question “Do the campesinos read?”, the editors answer that publishing is always done in cities, on topics that city people want to read about. By publishing a journal in a popular format on topics of direct concern to the campesinos and with their input, the editors hope to encourage a wide readership in the rural areas of Peru.

An outstanding example of a local communications resource for the sharing of local ingenuity and information on appropriate technologies.

Simple Technologies for Rural Women in Bangladesh, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-53, book, 70 pages, by Elizabeth O’Kelly, 1983, free from UNICEF, CPO Box 58, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh.

This is a compilation of simple equipment that can be made or purchased in Bangladesh and many other developing countries. Only single drawings or photos are included for most examples; for some items this is sufficient information to make them.

The book begins with a description of the activities of rural women in

Bangladesh, and the tools and equipment they use. Some employment-generating activities that could benefit rural women are suggested. Potentially relevant technologies presented have been taken from a variety of sources (FAO, ITDG books and equipment catalogs, the A.T. Sourcebook); these include vegetable coolers, cooking stoves, threshers, winnowers, and water pumps. Some manufacturers’ addresses and a bibliography are included.

The author notes that “the division of labor between the sexes … needs careful study especially as in many countries the women enjoy considerable prestige as the growers of food for their families–which they will lose if the pattern of living is changed too drastically.”

Economically Appropriate Technologies for Developing Countries: An Annotated Bibliography, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-27, book, 123 pages, compiled by Marilyn Carr, ITDG, 1976, revised 1981, out of print.

This is an annotated list of 308 “reference materials on the economic aspects of intermediate technology and its appropriateness.” Studies are of the following categories of technologies: agriculture, housing, manufacturing, power sources, water supplies, health services, and transport. Most of the studies “have been aimed at assessing how ‘intermediate’ techniques compare in terms of capital and labour productivity, employment generation, cost of production, and generation of surplus with more conventional techniques.” Many of the conclusions of the reports are given.

Appropriate Technology for Rural Development: The ITDG Experience, Occasional Papers 2, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-70, booklet, 31 pages, by D.W.J. Miles, 1982.

As the best known of all the A.T. organizations, the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) is contacted by people from all over the world. This short booklet provides a nice summary of the experiences, philosophy and current strategy of the group. It will aid readers in understanding what ITDG has defined as its primary tasks, and thus what kinds of assistance and collaboration may be possible.

“We see serious ‘training gaps’ at four levels:

–at the artisanal level, we see a need for practical training for people who will be using appropriate technologies, such as brick makers ….

–at the enabling level of supervisors, foremen and managers of labor-intensive operations ….

–at the professional level … for designers and operating staff of institutions and enterprises….

–at the political level, where planners, administrators and decision-makers need exposure to the wide variety of governmental and institutional changes which may support and make more effective implementation and expansion of A.T. programmes.”

Intermediate Technology in Ghana: The Experience of Kumasi University’s Technology Consultancy Centre, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-40, book, 111 pages, by Sally Holtermann, ITDG, out of print.

Case studies are presented which document the Technology Consultancy

Center’s experience with projects for manufacturing glue, soap, animal feed, glass beads, brass casting, nuts and bolts, and for broadloom weaving, and the development of a “plant construction unit.” Each project is analyzed in the context of the local economy and government policies. Background information on the TCC may be valuable to people wishing to replicate the TCC model.

Guide to Technology Transfer in East, Central, and Southern Africa, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-38, book, 134 pages, by Anthony Ellman, Bruce Mackay, and Tony Moody, 1981, Commonwealth Secretariat, out of print.

Many people in East, Central and Southern Africa are dependent upon equipment purchased at high cost from Europe while low-cost, locally-adapted alternatives are available within the region. This guide catalogs a variety of equipment for agriculture and home industry. It includes good drawings and ordering information. Country guides for Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe give data on the countries’ agriculture, transportation, freight companies, trade regulations, and customs tariffs. This is a good model for catalogs covering other regions too.

Field Directors’ Handbook, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-29, loose-leaf notebook, about 400 pages, edited by Brian Pratt and Jo Boyden, 1981, 1985 edition.

This manual, designed as a guide for Oxfam field staff in evaluating, supporting, and advising community development projects, is a survey of key approaches to assessing and approaching rural needs. The Handbook includes sections on agriculture, health, social development, humanitarian programs, and disaster relief. It is a good overview of approaches to participatory needs assessment,project planning, and techniques that facilitate high degrees of participation.

Appropriate Technology Research Projects, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-20, book, 66 pages, by M.M. Hoda.

This is a notable little book because it suggests possible student projects on practical applications of appropriate technology, and lists a large number of such projects currently being undertaken.

“It requires some imagination to conceive and formulate the problems and introduce them in the institutions. Real life problems should be given to the students rather than theoretical problems, if the maximum benefit is sought to be derived from them. Before that can be done, the concept of appropriate technology has to be fully understood to apply its principles for the solutions of the problems. There are many constraints and impediments which seriously restrict the scope of working in a rural surrounding, like absence of electricity, lack of communication, unavailability of materials, servicing and repairs. The designer has to keep all of these aspects in mind in order to design equipment suitable for village use.”

The author also discusses: the early beginnings of the village technology movement in India and the important roles played by Tagore, Gandhi, and the Sarvodaya movement; the current situation in India; the emergence of the Appropriate Technology Development Association; and the philosophy that underlies appropriate technology.

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