Posted to the Ethnos Project by on April 7th, 2014

Technological innovation over the past century has revolutionized our society’s ability to solve problems. A byproduct of this movement is the advent of appropriate technology, an approach to address challenges in the developing world through creative and people focused product development. Appropriate technology (AT) recognizes that social, environmental, cultural, political, and economic concerns are just as important as technical requirements in the design of innovative products and services. For example, Husk Power Systems converts rice husks into electric power in rural areas of India’s poorest, most remote state. The success of Husk Power is as much in their technological solution, as their consideration of socio-cultural realities in the design of their revenue model. Treadle pumps, like those produced by KickStart, help farmers increase their cultivable land, extend their growing seasons, improve their crop quality, and thus, augment their income. The driving force behind these technologies is a desire to employ human-centered approaches to empower communities in addressing their own economic, sociocultural, political, and environmental needs. Such technologies can improve the lives and livelihoods of individuals living in resource-constrained environments in many ways, from improved access to food, water, and healthcare to long-lasting shelter and employment opportunities.

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