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close this bookGATE - 4/93 - Botswana: Rural Industrial Development (GTZ GATE, 1993, 48 p.)
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View the documentHow to initiate rural industrial development
View the documentRepublic of Botswana
View the documentPoverty and profits: The Work of RIPCO
View the documentSmall industry promotion in hard times: The Work of RIIC
View the documentMaximizing rural industrialization
View the documentAn innovation benefits women: The Sorghum Milling Project

How to initiate rural industrial development

On the Cooperation between GTZ/GATE and RIPCO/RIIC in Botswana
by Kit Morei and Hannah Schreckenbach

Within the context of a cooperation programme, GATE has been working with NGOs in developing countries since 1981. The aim is to help counterpart organizations advise target groups on the development of appropriate technological solutions. One of the oldest counterpart organizations is the Rural Industries Innovation Centre (RIIC), a subsidiary of the Rural Industries Promotions Company (RIPCO) in Botswana. Kit Morei, General Manager of RIIC, and Hannah Schreckenbach, GATE's liasion person since the beginning, report on almost ten years of cooperation.

Kit Morei, RIIC:

"The Rural Industries Innovation Centre (RIIC) has been a recipient of financial and material support from the German Appropriate Technology Exchange (GATE), consequent to an agreement of cooperation entered into between Rural Industries Promotions Company (RIPCO) in Botswana and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GTZ) in May 1984.

The scope of the cooperation between RIPCO/RIIC and GTZ/GATE was intended to cover the exchange of information on concepts of appropriate technology and technology transfer in the following areas:

- To share experiences in the identification of technological needs and solutions for respective target groups. Literature on these areas has been received from GATE and has been very helpful.

- To cooperate in the fields of development, research on adaptation, diffusion, consumption, exchange and transfer of appropriate technologies;

- To cooperate in the development of methods and instruments for applying and disseminating appropriate technologies;

- To carry out small-scale programmes and projects in the field of appropriate technology and rural development.

GATE through its "Information Service for Appropriate Technology" - project (ISAT) has financed numerous projects at RIIC including a small projects development programme; solar desalination project; development of a multi-purpose thresher; shallow borehole and hand pumps development; small scale bread oven; batch solar water heater; poultry equipment; chaff cutters; Rhino hammermill; rural roads equipment; low cost circular saw; dough kneading machine; non-ferrous and ferrous foundry initiative and the design and development of low cost village transport in the areas of sand tippers; water cart/bowler and scotch cart.

Support was also received from GATE/ISAT for research and development activities within RIIC's Building Research Project. This included testing and optimization or micro concrete tiles, lime oxide paints, and compressed earth blocks for self help housing.

A computer for the Village Skills Training Programme's data base was also procured through this initiative.

Moreover, funds were committed towards the publication of operators's and maintenance manuals including the major "Catalogue of Goods and Services".

The support for these projects by GTZ/GATE is very much appreciated. The assistance has in many ways helped RIIC to provide vital services to its clients. Without this help RIIC's effort in the implementation of its rural development mandate would have had very little impact."

Hannah Schreckenbach, GATE/ ISAT:

"I would like to concentrate on some important 'stations' on the road on which our partner went in this development. The road, to stay with this visualization, was not smooth all along. It was rough going at times, requiring divisions, new 'designs', but RIPCO/ RIIC never lost sight of their ultimate objective: to achieve an economically viable and sustainable rural industrial development involving rural people themselves.

What impresses me most is that in the implementation of RIIC's objectives the whole staff is involved in a participatory way, as well as the clients: rural artisans, women, youth and would-be entrepreneurs.

The other important aspect in the way in which RlPCO's and the subsidiaries' objectives are achieved is the orientation on suitable and appropriate technologies for manufacturing processes for dissemination on a commercial basis. The setting-up of profit-oriented enterprises which create employment for people in the rural areas was a consequent step further than purely providing training for rural artisans (the Village Artisan Training Programme is taking care of this - and also very successfully).

The Extension Department is charged with effecting this dissemination, after an adapted and sufficiently tested technology has proven to be suitable for conditions in Botswana and the products manufactured have a local market. The interested entrepreneurs receive the necessary training at RIIC and credits through a Government initiated credit scheme for small scale industries. The Government itself has acknowledged the important role of RIPCO/RIIC in rural industrial development.

I had a chance to take part once in one of the regular 'brainstorming sessions' at RIIC. It was most interesting to experience the wealth of ideas which were forthcoming at this session, at which all the staff of the centre was present. Quite a number of ideas from such sessions were in fact taken up and implemented, perhaps with one or another modification. It is therefore not surprising to feel an atmosphere of team spirit and also pride at RIIC.

Also we are very proud of the fact that our cooperation partner has, over the years of our relation, turned into the most important resource centre for rural industrial development in Southern Africa."

RIIC - Rural Industries Innovation
Centre Private Bag 11
Southern Africa.
Tel: 00267340392/3448/449
Fax: 00267340642.
Republic of Botswana