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Timeline Events / Sharing Traditional Technology Project UNU

This project, initially supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), later taken up by the United Nations University (UNU), tried to explore how formal science and technology and its associated institutions interact with farmers and other rural inhabitants who have innovated for centuries, albeit in a different way and without the same institutional mechanisms. The aim was to measure the input of formal scientists and to encourage real interaction between the scientists and rural communities.

The project proposal pushed for scientists from laboratories to go out in the field and work together with farmers, with an emphasis on sharing ideas and learning, and towards effective solutions according to greater awareness of actual needs and problems. Not everyone in IDRC agreed with this approach. Some argued that it was a waste of resources to send scientists into the field for long periods of time when ‘we know what the problems are’. However, the project went ahead, led by Amilcar Herrera from Argentina, and later the UNU carried it forward. (Oldham, pers. comm)

References to traditional or indigenous technology (in different forms) were also evident in earlier discussions on ‘appropriate’ or ‘intermediate’ technology, [see Practical Action and Schumacher], the work of Robert Chambers and Michael Howes [LINK to 1978 workshop], Stephen Biggs in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Development, Chittagong in Bangladesh, and some of the CGIAR international agricultural research centres.

 

Sources:

Oldham, G. Personal communication  (Interview March 2009).

Report of the Task Force Meeting  preparing for the Sharing of Traditional Technology Project http://d-arch.ide.go.jp/je_archive/pdf/human/hsdp7.pdf

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