A simple definition of Appropriate Technology is the use of any technology used in an appropriate way in relation to the surrounding culture, economy and situation. A common misunderstanding of appropriate technology is referring to it as simple technology.
Example: Many well meaning people donate generously to help remote villages have a deep water well where locals can access clean drinking water. In most cases in Tanzania, a Mark II well pump is installed. The Mark II is a fine pump for it’s intended use. However, in many of these villages the local people are unable for various reasons to maintain this well. Typically it will work flawlessly for about 2 years (depending on the quality of water being pumped). But what happens after that. In many cases the people are left without water. The old traditional hand dug wells have for long not been maintained and are no longer functional. The end result is actually worse then before there was a deep well. One has to ask, is this pump appropriate for a particular village given the likelihood that they will not be able to maintain it? I’m not suggesting what we should not help people get clear drinking water. However, we should strive to use means that are appropriate.
Click here for more information on Appropriate Technology and its applications at Appropedia.org
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