Truly appropriate innovation is a multi-dimensional process involving major changes in social structures, popular attitudes, and a national condition of life from unsatisfactory to satisfactory. But unfortunately it tents to leaves behind women. We state instead: Technology can not be called "Appropriate", if it does not considers the vital role of women.
Demotech composed a report in the shape of an illustrated manual about the field experience gathered from 1979 till 1986. The Dutch Ministry of Development Cooperation sponsored Demotech during the first years of that period. This report had to be as clear and meaningful to the people we worked with, as to the development experts who had to evaluate our work.
We wanted to explain with pictures the actual situation we encountered, then report what we did or experienced, also with illustrations, and then conclude with a summarized statement. In thirteen parts we covered separate aspects of Appropriate Technology, centering on what was 'Appropriate for Women'.
Our two most important findings: it is easy and effective to incorporate women in technical developments when the right technical approach is chosen. And it is hard to prevent technical information that is specially designed to suit the local situation, from being misinterpreted by development organizations.
Inspiring the Women
The participation of women in the construction of the rope-pump is very important, as they are the primary water-collectors. It can become an opportunity for them to gain independence in technical matters.
Designing for Women
A particular detail of construction can sometimes relate to a specifically male profession or skill. Such details can prevent women acting on their own initiative. Therefore, devices used mainly by women should be (re)designed to enable women to do upkeep and repair.
Empowering the Women
Giving women the opportunity to master the technology associated with the rope-pump helps to empower them and to prevent unnecessary dependence on men. Designs for self-reliance can and should support this.
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7 April, 2022
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