Technologies work better
when adapted by users:
a podcast in local languages
helps farmers keep cows
healthy. Lawrence Gudza
02/05/2012. SciDev. Technological innovation can’t be imposed on poor people — they must be engaged to select ideas that suit their lives, wrote Lawrence Gudza. Lawrence Gudza is programme team leader for Responding to New Technologies at Practical Action Southern Africa, based in Zimbabwe. This article is part of a Spotlight on Supporting grassroots innovation.
We need inclusive, community-based approaches that consider how people use technologies in their daily lives. The key for institutions is to engage in a dialogue about technologies with communities — vulnerable groups, traditional leadership,policymakers, scientists and business people.
Introducing technology through community approaches is a social process that empowers communities to take charge of their own development through debate. This promotes a technology agenda based on local priorities and strengthens alliances for collective action. The process is transparent, and focuses on the priorities and needs of communities. It accepts and incorporates the output from the engagement, and in so doing, a narrow focus on a particular technology is avoided. Instead, issues around the problem that technology could help solve are examined in broad terms.