Exploring Appropriate Technology at the Twende Social Innovation Centre
Next week, Lucy Devall, the Head of Bright Green Enterprise, will be travelling back to Tanzania to conduct a study at the Twende Social Innovation Centre in Arusha into their research and development of appropriate technologies.
Twende is a unique and thriving maker space environment situated within the city of Arusha. Founded by Bernard Kiwia, a local innovator and entrepreneur, Twende focuses on researching and developing socially appropriate technologies that can support more sustainable livelihoods.
Its space offers community groups – from school students, university students, women’s groups, NGOs and individuals interested in developing their creative capacity for innovation, the chance to learn more about the process of developing technologies.
The centre is a thriving, collaborative and exciting environment of machinery, people and technologies that serve to develop not just skills for creative capacity but also the technologies themselves. Each technology goes through a rigorous process of design with specific community groups in order to produce the most appropriate and workable end product.
What is Appropriate Technology?
The concept of appropriate technology started to come into focus as a tool for organised development back in the 1970s. Focusing on the design, technology and function of products that could be considered more appropriate for specific user groups (and their environments), appropriate technologies are often considered locally specific and evolving from a “grassroots” (localised) initiative. Because of this, they are becoming more popular with organisations seeking to support the development of sustainable livelihoods; particularly within environments such as Tanzania, where high rates of poverty and top-down fast growth policies can be frequently observed.
(Above: Twende’s ‘Bicycle Powered Maize Sheller’)
The Research Study
Lucy’s study will focus on the process of research and development of particular technologies at the Centre and how social values have been included into the design process. The benefit of researching such techniques, it is hoped, will be useful for policy initiatives that seek more localised pathways to development; particularly those which support more sustainable livelihoods.
To find out more about Twende’s work (www.twende-tanzania.org), take a look at their website, or if you’re in the area, swing by the Centre and explore for yourself!
For more information about this research, please feel free to get in touch.