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Questions-Answers-Information No. 2/93

June 1993

ISSN 0723-2225


GATE is not only the name of this quarterly. It also stands for German Appropriate Technology Exchange, founded in 1978 as a special division (Division 4020) of the government-owned Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH (German Agency for Technical Cooperation).


GATE is a centre for the dissemination and promotion of appropriate technologies for developing countries. GATE defines "appropriate technologies" as those which appear particularly apposite in the light of economic, social and cultural criteria. They should contribute to socio-economic development whilst ensuring optimal utilization of resources and minimal detriment to the environment. Depending on the case at hand a traditional, intermediate or highly-developed technology can be the "appropriate" one.


GATE focusses its work on the following areas:
Technology Dissemination: Collecting and disseminating information on technologies appropriate to the needs of the developing countries; ascertaining the technological requirements of Third World countries; support in the form of personnel, material and equipment to promote the development and adaption of technologies for developing counties.
Environmental Protection: The growing importance of ecology and environmental protection requires better coordination and harmonization of projects. In order to tackle these tasks more effectively, a coordination centre was set up within GATE in 1985.


GATE offers a free information service on appropriate technologies for all public and privet development institutions in countries dealing with the development, adaption application and introduction of technologies.

Deutsches Zentrum fur Entwicklungstechnologien
German Appropriate Technology Exchange
Centro Aleman pare Tecnologias Apropiadas
Centre allemand d'inter-technologie appropriee

Post Box 5180
D-65726 Eschborn
Federal Republic of Germany


gate 2/93 June 1993

Publisher: Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), GmbH (German Agency for Technical Cooperation) Post Box 5180 D-65726 Eschborn Federal Republic of Germany Telephone: 06196/79-0 Telex: 41523-0 (gtz d)

Editor: Peter Bosse-Brekenfeld

Focus in this issue: Roland Seifert, GTZ,Division 4020

Cover photo: An animal health worker discussing problems with farmers from a village in Tanzania.

Photo: ITDG
Printed by: Hoehl-Druck, Gutenbergstra 1,D-36251 Bad Hersfeld, Federal Republic of Germany

"gate" appears quarterly; it is distributed free of charge.

Named contributions do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher or the editorial staff.

Reproduction is permitted after consultation; copies should be supplied.
ISSN 0723 - 2225

Dear readers

The best knowledge in the world is useless unless local or foreign experts know how to pass it on. That may appear to be stating the obvious, but in Technical Cooperation in the field, there is often much to be desired as regards transferring information in a way adapted to the cultural environment of the target group. What good is the best know-how about the various types of energy-saving stove if the women who are supposed to cook on them don't get the message?

These days, simply passing the information on falls far short of what is needed. In GATE's Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology (ISAT), this realization has led to a fundamental reappraisal of the organization's role, summarized by Peter Baz in this issue.

Besides fundamental considerations, the Focus section includes some practical examples. One article describes the work done by documentation centres. Another deals with the difficulties experienced by field experts as a result of not taking farmers' knowledge of local conditions into account sufficiently. Our authors show how drawings and cartoons can be used to improve understanding even of complex topics. To round it all off, a communication expert reports on how it is much easier to change peoples' attitudes with role-play and folk theatre than via electronic media.

Good solutions need communicative suppport. In view of the importance of communication today, it is becoming less and less acceptable to leave the dissemination of technological knowledge to chance.

Peter Bosse-Brekenfeld

Know-how management for appropriate technology

Lessons of GATE's Information and Advisory Service on AT (ISAT)

by Peter Baz

Appropriate technology is disseminated as part of a social process. Just providing information on technology does not automatically mean that the right solution will be found. Social and cultural knowledge also have to be made available through networks. This is more than transferring information - and nowadays we speak of "know-how management".

In our present times, people and societies are confronted with dynamic changes in their social and physical environment. Creative answers are in demand more than ever before, in order to progress human development and secure livelihoods.

Technology can make a vital contribution to formulating creative answers. But technology is never neutral, it is always influenced by human action. The efficiency of technology is measured by the contribution it makes to securing and designing the life of people and societies. In this light, social, environmentally-sound - i.e. appropriate - technologies are extremely efficient and humane technologies. Those technologies that jeopardize human development are the ones that are inefficient.

The rapidly changing social and physical environment requires that social systems possess the capability for quick and differentiated action. In turn, higher inputs are demanded to manage the know-how and knowledge of technical, social, psychological and ecological processes; and this know-how can be provided far more quickly by integrated networks than by following traditional structures.

ISAT analyses its own experiences

GATE's "Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology" (ISAT) specializes in the management of AT knowhow. It has the professional mandate to react rapidly and effectively to the problems of individuals and social systems and to their need for know-how on appropriate technologies.

In order to define this concept and approach it was first necessary to carry out an evaluation of experiences to date. It became evident that in the last ten years:

- the amount of information available has steadily grown;

- a far greater number of organizations in the so-called Third World are addressing development problems; these are mostly nongovernmental organisations;

- there are a far higher number of qualified specialists in the developing countries.

Consequently, simply passing on information I.e. targeting specific persons in specific places) was an inadequate way of solving the problems.

Against this background, GATE's team for Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technologies (ISAT), supported by an external consultant, analysed experiences in the course of an 1 8-month process. As a result, the original model of information transfer was further developed to become a know-how management model.

The core of this model is that information, organisations and qualified specialists are interlinked with the "client" in an active and creative problemsolving process. Put in other words: Instead of "targeting specific persons in specific places" we turned to an approach geared to jointly working out "how to achieve the right target". To do this, a new organization structure had to be worked out and a new work-flow model had to be developed, tested and introduced for the GATE/ISAT team.

Alongside classical resources such as funding and manpower, know-how is increasingly becoming a resource in its own right, and know-how management has become an additional instrument used in development cooperation activities, to complement pervious activities

The aim of know-how management is to close knowledge gaps and secure access to relevant information and findings. The task of know-how management is to provide users with tools that are appropriate for their needs and which will give them the capacity to obtain appropriate solutions to their problems.

A tool for practical approaches

Not being able to cover all areas at once, know-how management is broken down into specific user groups or sub areas. Systematic management of AT-know-how has only been carried out in a rudimentary fashion to date.

Know-how management cannot fade-out the knowledge background of the user or the context in which problems are to be solved. The fact that it does not offer general or abstract knowledge but practical tools to solve a specific and actual problem constitutes its key value.

For this, partners/users are required who are able to define their needs and to apply their knowledge in practice - and the number of partners/users possessing these qualifications is steadily growing. Whereas at the beginning chiefly staff-members of aid organizations were interested in AT know" how within the scope of their project work, or for know-how's sake, nowadays it is the organizations themselves and also individual professionals and managers from developing countries who are expressing a rising need for AT know-how.

The growing demand observed in recent years has not come to a halt and is reflected in the differentiated profile of partners/users and interested persons who regularly tap ISAT services. The groups do not have identical demand levels for know-how. Changes in the general framework conditions or in focal areas of development policy influence the needs situation, as does the degree of acceptance of the AT idea as such.

Impact analyses

It is not easy to assess the value of know-how for development cooperation. The information value of purely quantitative criteria, such as the number of bytes transferred or the number of requests tor information,is very low. Successful know-how management requires Impact analyses capable of providing information on:

· what activities relevant to development, in different contexts and by different user groups, can be triggered off by know-how management;

· whether the results of these activities could also be achieved by other means than by know-how management;

· whether know-how management stimulates self-help on a sustainable basis;

· whether, when compared with potential alternative procedures, know-how management can be considered a cost-effective instrument in the context of cooperation for development.

ISAT's activities aim to make know-how available for AT practice and are oriented to an holistic concept of technology which: evaluates the efficiency of a technology on the basis of what contribution it makes to developing a given social system; explicitly relates to the given environmental situation.

ISAT has its own documentation and systematic card index, and is connected to high-performance databases; ongoing needs are monitored through: basic knowledge/publications information on procedures and methods product information experts appraisers manufacturers.

By systematically using these sources and actively tapping new ones, ISAT maintains state-of-the-art, updated information on know-how areas, human and physical resources and new developments that are significant for AT know-how management.

ISAT works with partners in developing countries who are part of the ISAT advisory services. We call them System Partners.

These are non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who have been successfully developing or disseminating AT for many years.

Being located in Germany, ISAT can primarily cover the supply-side, while the partners in developing countries have the vital task of identifying and updating the needs, and also testing, improving, further developing and disseminating the appropriate technologies. Their feedback is a major steering function in the network.

ISAT supports the System Partners in fulfilling their functions (testing, improving, further developing, disseminating AT) and also assists them in setting up their own information services. Capable System Partners are incorporated into a sectoral system of division of labour, and become responsible for know-how management in specific AT areas.

ISAT also maintains direct contacts to users, particularly in regions where no System Partners are operating. These direct contacts guarantee that ISAT remains practice-oriented; they provide vital new findings and experience, because direct interaction with clients and users bring major impulses for improving ISAT services.


In the field of Appropriate Technology, systematic know-how management is still at the embryonic stage. The author describes the new concept of GATE's Information Service on Appropriate Technology (ISAT) - ranging from "knowing who and where" to "know-how". The author points out that ISAT's activities are guided by a holistic concept of technology which includes social and ecological aspects. Know-how is communicated in close cooperation with networks of non-governmental organizations, experts, and manufacturers in Europe and with GATE's partners in developing countries.


Dans le domaine de la . technologie appropriee, le management du savoir-faire (know-how management) n'en est qu'a ses premiers balbutiements. L'auteur presente le nouveau concept de GATE's Information Senice on Appropriate Technology (ISAT): le passage du "savoir" qui et ou" au "savoir comment".

ISAT va dans le sens d'un concept technologique global prenant en compte les aspects sociaux et ecologiques. La transmission du savoir-faire s'effectue en etroite cooperation avec un reseau d'organisations non-gouvernementales, de specialistes, d'experts et de fabricants en Europe et de partenaires de GATE dans les pays en vole de developpement.


En el sector de tecnologia apropiada se dispone apenas a grandes rasgos de une gestion sistematica de conocimientos (know-how-management). El autor describe el nuevo concepto de GATE's Information Service on Appropriate Technology (ISAT): desde el "saber quien y donde" haste el "saber como" ISAT se orienta segun un concepto tecnologico integral que incorpora aspectos tanto sociales como ecologicos . Los conocimentos se transmiten en estrecha cooperacion con redes de organizaciones no gubernamentales, expertos, peritos y fabricantes en Europa y con socios de GATE en los paises en nas de desarrollo.

Modern media: Not necessarily appropriate

A Communication Consultant Takes Stock

If Technical Cooperation is to achieve anything, its content must be transferred in a manner adapted to the communication practices of its target group. Modern electronic media often come up against obstacles. Not infrequently, traditional media are the better tools to use. Nevertheless, the value of professional communication expertise in development cooperation is often underestimated. Gunter Hollenbach, media consultant in GTZ Division 403, Organization, Communication and Management Consultancy, described his experiences to gate.

gate: The use of electronic media for educational purposes is a matter of course in the computer age. This also applies to Technical Cooperation, where intensive use is made of video equipment, for example. Do conflicts of aims arise, and what are the limitations of the modern media technologies?

Hollenbach: Basically, every media technology that serves the aims of development cooperation is welcome. That's why, theoretically, there are no limitations at all in development cooperation. Instead, the question arises which technology is more effective and by what means it can be applied. Video may sometimes be the most desirable medium. The same applies to personal computers. There are so many areas of application for PCs that we simply no longer even think of questioning its desirability.

If the aim of using electronic media is to bring about changes in behaviour, several questions arise. What are the real aims? If it is just aquestion of disseminating information, for example, the electronic media are extremely effective. Via radio and TV, information can be transmitted to a large audience very quickly: when a TV commercial or a news item is broadcast, the whole country is informed in next to no time. But this does not necessarily bring about changes in systems of values or behaviour patterns.

From psychological studies we know that changes in systems of values or indeed in patterns of action are extremely complex processes. So far, no empirical theory has been formulated anywhere by which it can be conclusively proved that people learn from machines. Learning theories demonstrate convincingly that people learn from people, and in this process media play, at best, only a supporting role. They may represent certain individual steps in a process, for example repairing a machine, and thus reinforce the motivating effect of the instructor.

That is why we take an extremely sceptical view of all concepts in which substitutes - for instance video systems - for human teachers or instructors are used. There have been experiments in various countries - in India in the 1970s, to take one example-aimed at completely replacing elementary school teachers with video equipment and programmes. All of these programmes failed. They were completely on the wrong track and should not be pursued any further.

The cultural context

gate: The choice of media depends not only on the subject matter to be conveyed, but also on the cultural context and social learning processes of the target groups of Technical Cooperation. Can you cite any fundamental experiences by way of examples?

Hollenbach: There are several angles to every change in behaviour. If farmers are to be won over to a new cultivation method or new credit procedures are to be introduced, it is basically always necessary to bring about changes in social behaviour, as well.

It is relatively easy to convey technical skills. But the cultural and social obstacles also have to be dealt with. In our experience, it is usually almost impossible to influence these "acceptance blockades" From their own point of view, the people concerned always have good reasons whether practical, economic, social or traditional - for their past behaviour, which is to be changed to a greater or lesser extent in the course of a cooperation project. In order to effect such changes, certain material preconditions have to be met which must lead to solutions that are convincing for the target group. In addition, the target group must also be willing to act to actually implement a feasible solution.

This willingness to act, in particular, is influenced to a high degree by very complex communicative processes which take place within the people and in their direct social environment. Processes of this kind cannot be directly steered towards meeting a certain purpose "from outside", and cannot be steered at all with the means employed by Technical Cooperation

The reason is that in coping with processes of change, humans not only consider "objective" issues - for instance"Can I learn the new working method?", "Will I be able to pay back the loan?" etc. Also, and to a far larger extent, misgivings, worries and fears are triggered which concern personal and social systems of values and the peoples' identities, for example "What will the neighbours think of me?", "What will become of me if the innovation is a failure?", "We've always been farmers, never agricultural engineers" etc.

People who can only think technocratically tend to ignore these questions, which ultimately determine the action of target groups. Colleagues who are not communication specialists often voice the opinion that the more modern the medium, the quicker and easier it is for target groups to change their behaviour. Far from it. Time and again we see that the best way to encourage changes in attitudes and behaviour is in group situations. Social learning from one another - is a tremendously important factor in this process. When people are talking to each other opportunities arise for certain technical skills to be accepted and passed on.

This is the basis for our recommendation: If it can be implemented or demonstrated without media, don't use them. Do not seek your salvation through the use of media systems or"learning machines". Instead, try to organize learning in a real life context, in such a way that the target groups define the subject and the goal themselves. To achieve this you will need a motivator who makes the resources present in the people's own minds accessible to them, so to speak, and initiates dialogue about this.

Traditional methods effective

This can be achieved using simple illustration techniques - picture posters or role-play are examples. From role-play one can graduate to theatre performances, especially in countries where there is a tradition of communicating in this way. So our advice on the use of media is based on how people organize their own learning processes, the idea being to stimulate these and incorporate them into transfer strategies used in Technical Cooperation.

This is not always easy, because the political elites in the countries concerned are often worried that we want to sell them traditional, outmoded technologies that we ourselves have discarded, and withhold progress from them.

gate: Can you give some examples from different areas where you have gained experience with both modern and traditional media?

Hollenbach: In health care we have experience with a whole range of media. For instance a media production centre with state-of-the-art video equipment, PCs and various other modern technologies was devised for a family planning project with a health education programme in Zimbabwe. It was relatively easy to find money to invest in the equipment. Training the Zimbabwean colleagues so that the equipment could be used more or less in the manner intended was more difficult. Even greater difficulties materialized at political level when the substance of the advice was discussed.

Unfortunately, we found that the sole objective of the ministries was to project their own image and that practical information and true enlightenment concerning health-related questions were practically irrelevant. It took us years to persuade these institutions to produce any programmes at all, and we still haven't been able to test them in the field because it hasn't yet been possible to produce many video series. This was a pretty sobering experience, and incidentally it shows that it is often not so much the media themselves which are controversial as their social and, ultimately, their political effects.

To quote another example, video was used in a health project in Malawi for the purpose of health education. The design of the project was very simple. There was no big studio. The field workers simply drove to the villages to record short statements which were subsequently shown to the inhabitants in the village. It was found that while the villagers were absolutely fascinated by the technology, they weren't in the least interested in the message. They failed to understand what the (video) machines were really being used for. Nor did their perception habits conform in the slightest to our expectations: they paid more attention to the chickens in the background than to the statements of the people in the film. We thought that dialogue would supply the important information, but the dialogue wasn't taken very seriously at all. Drawing the logical conclusion from this experience, it was decided to dispense with video.

Folk theatre

Instead, we turned to folk theatre and achieved so me astounding results with it. It was quite sophisticated, and based on results of action research. The method we used was as follows: the troupe of lay actors went to a village where a health education course was to be held, analyzed the social structure, and made a tour of the village with the village headman and various village worthies. Current topics in the village, important events and celebrations were noted down.

On the basis of this information a play was written which combined the villagers' everyday lives with the messages from the health education programme in an entertaining way. The play was rehearsed and then brought back to the village: the troupe spent a week in the village, performing the play on four consecutive afternoons. It wasn't a training session, but a very lively performance right in the heart of the village, on the village square. Each time the play was repeated the audience participated more, and intervened in the dialogues.

The results were extremely positive. However, the fact that this approach is very time-consuming represents a problem.

At the Health Ministry, the campaign initially aroused deep mistrust. The general consensus was that modern methods were being ignored. After an interval of more than a year, the campaign was finally evaluated. The group returned to the villages and questioned the inhabitants. The result was compared with the "video experience": the folk theatre was the clear winner.

After more than a year, the villagers still remembered the theatre performance. They were still familiar with the play's content and could recite whole passages. They reported that in health matters they now took the play as their guide, for instance regarding what to do when a child had diarrhoea.

By contrast, the effects of the video programme were virtually nil. The factor which is crucial to the success of traditional methods is the support of a group. In Malawi, the project did not use professional actors, but medical students who enjoyed acting. This traditional method starts with the potential of the target groups and involves them to a high degree. Its effectiveness was due to the fact that it adopted the target group's communication and learning habits.

Of course, theatre and TV can also be combined. My third example comes from Egypt. In the light of the success of a play in which ways of controlling rats to reduce post-harvest damage were entertainingly illustrated, a number of short puppet theatre "slots" were produced. The three-minute playlets were broadcast on TV and were extremely popular.

In a country where TV and radio are very widespread, television may also be an appropriate medium - adapted to its communication potential. TV is not per se an educative medium. It is a medium for creating moods, or conveying information to a large audience quickly.

gate: Is it not difficult to use theatre in some countries, because the elites are suspicious of it?

Hollenbach: It often makes elites afraid to see the people participate too much in anything, and achieve greater awareness, irrespective of the media used. There are many topics with which the people have to be mobilized against the elites. We simply can't avoid it.

Communication with simple paper figures

gate: What other simple media can you recommend, to illustrate lectures, for instance?

Hollenbach: Painted series of poster-sized pictures are one very widely used medium. A second form of illustration that is especially popular in Africa is the flannelgraph: people, animals, trees etc. are cut out of paper. A piece of sandpaper is then mounted on the backs of the figures so that they adhere rather like Velcro tapes. They are thus easy to fix to a woollen blanket or flannel cloth, and can be combined to make collages. This method is used as an illustration technique and has become very widespread, above all in rural regions of Africa It is a simple form of visual illustration, with the advantage that the necessary equipment can be packed quickly. The figures needed can be put in a bag and then easily transported by bicycle or on foot. There's no need for a power supply or any special sound equipment. The flannel graph can be used in front of quite a large audience in practically any place that's sheltered from the wind.


When TV sets are used, there is often quite a large group of spectators who don't hear and see everything. Flannelgraphs illustrate things much better. If they are made a bit bigger they can be recognized easily by groups of up to 30-40 people: a simple and effective method of illustrating a talk and stimulating discussion.

gate: Are your recommendations concerning the professional use of media in projects appreciated?

Hollenbach: We come up against quite a lot of prejudices and a lack of experience, which the project staff themselves often don't realize. People usually underestimate the amount of professionalism needed for effective communication - irrespective of the media used. Video is considered extremely effective, for example, and in many projects video equipment is purchased without consulting a media adviser. Nowadays equipment of this kind is cheap. So in many projects video cameras are bought but hardly used because the project staff then find that actually using the camera is a much more time consuming business than they thought. Most people have the wrong impression, partly due to advertisements which suggest that you only have to point the camera in the right direction to obtain interesting films. If the films are then judged according to their educational value, they're about as valuable as Aunt Harriet's holiday films.

In re-afforestation projects, for example, it's a pity if good professional results are achieved but then communicated in an amateurish way. As media consultants, we try to stimulate people's awareness of the need to consult an expert - sometimes there is one available on the spot. There are video studios whose staff undertake professional research and compile a script. When a dialogue develops between GTZ overseas staff and ourselves, their willingness to consider traditional communication media usually also increases.

There are many very competent experts who regard the methods they advocate in agriculture, forestry or the environmental sector as self-starters. But even a good solution needs communication experts to ensure that it is disseminated. Considering the importance of communication today, it is also becoming increasingly important to use professional methods. It is becoming less and less acceptable to let chance decide how technological know-how is disseminated.

Improving communication in projects

gate: Which media are used, and how often? Do you have any figures on the use of traditional media?

Hollenbach: We do not have any systematic statistics. We have to rely on statements based on people's impressions and chance information. My personal impression is that there is a tendency to use the traditional media less. In any case, our project work could stand considerable improvement as regards communication achievements.

It is an area which is often ignored in project planning and regrettably - continually repeated in the course of the project. Projects which have planned their communication systematically from the start usually run well. But there are only a few such projects, due for one thing to shortage of funds.


In Technical Cooperation, as in other areas, electronic media such as video are often used to communicate information. But experience to date indicates that it is almost impossible to achieve fundamental changes in behaviour and attitudes. In an interview, GTZ media expert Gunter Hollenbach describes how traditional or simple media are often more effective, citing folk theatre and simple picture stories as examples. Hollenbach advocates more professionalism in the use of media in development projects, to increase their effectiveness.


La cooperation technique a souvent recours a des moyens electroniques tels que la video pour la transmission d'informations. L'experience montre qu'il est pratiquement impossible d'en arriver par ce biais a une transformation profonde des comportements et des mentalites. Dans cette interview, I'expert en communication de GTZ, Gunter Hollenbach, montre que des moyens traditionnels ou simples vent souvent plus efficaces. Theatre populaire ou simples histoires imagees vent cites comme exemple. Hollenbach plaice en faveur d'une professionalisation de l'usage des medias dans les projets de developpement pour accroltre leur efficacite.


En la cooperacion tecnica se utilizan frecuentemente medios electronicos, tales como el video, a fin de transmitir informaciones. No obstante, la experiencia demuestra que ello practicamente no produce cambios sustanciales en los modelos de comportamiento o en las actitudes. Gunter Hollenbach, experto en medios de communicacion de la GTZ, explica en la entrevista que el efecto de los medios tradicionales o sencillos es, a menudo, mucho mayor. Como ejemplos se nombran el teatro popular o les histories ilustradas sencillas. Hollenbach aboga en favor de que se profesionalice la utilizacion de los medios en los proyectos de desarrollo, a fin de aumentar su efectividad.

Conveying knowledge in pictures

How to make monitoring attractive
by Dorsi Germann

How can monitoring be conveyed simply but nevertheless attractively? Working with a farmers' organization in the Philippines, the author tested a simple monitoring system adapted to local conditions.

Example A: Explaining Monitoring.Drawing: Dorsi Germann

Target groups

A monitoring system was to be introduced to two groups of people with different backgrounds as regards previous training and experience - the social workers of a non-governmental organization (NGO) and the farmers of a peoples' organization. The aim was to motivate the farmers and enable them to monitor one of their own projects themselves. The task of the NGO was to guide the farmers, giving them continuous advice and support. As a first step, the NGO's relatively complex and abstract knowledge had to be transferred to the farmers. In the event it proved possible to use relatively abstract formulations and visualizations.
Subsequently, working together, we tried to simplify and illustrate the information so that it could be understood by the farmers. This turned out to be a very effective learning process for all of us - we had to analyze the text and its interpretation in great detail. The farmers were informed at a village-level workshop.

Monitoring is a process for guiding projects: data on selected areas are gathered continuously, to see if the project is moving in the desired direction. From the large number of monitoring systems, one modified model had been evolved. The purpose was not to monitor the whole range of technical modifications that occur in the course of implementing a project, but only those that interested the people on the spot. The focus was on socio-cultural changes.

This was a relatively open model. It was intended to be adaptable to changing conditions, and to be tried out and developed further by all those involved in the process. To achieve that, it first had to be thoroughly understood. Since it was a relatively abstract model, and the information was new and unknown to most of those involved, the way in which the knowledge was transferred was especially important. So it was essential to find appropriate knowledge transfer strategies with a particularly positive effect on perception, comprehension and retention.

Knowledge transfer

Knowledge transfer is usually a matter of simplifying information and rendering it tangible in such a way that it becomes easily comprehensible to the communication partner in question without losing too much of its information content, meaning or accuracy.

The introduction of the monitoring system made it necessary to convey a great deal of abstract and relatively new information. For this reason it seemed a good idea to use pictures as a medium in addition to language.

We did our best to avoid professional jargon, to translate complicated expressions and to illustrate abstract concepts by means of examples from the realm of experience of the people on the spot. the national language was used as far as possible. We tried to complement the oral information with pictures. In this way our own style of communication was adapted better to that of our communication partners.

Picture stories

To explain "monitoring" to the farmers, we made use of examples from their own environment: in two picture stories, we showed on the one hand how a farmer can observe the growth of the plants in his fields at regular intervals and thus respond in good time to attack by pests. His harvest is good and he is satisfied. The other story shows a farmer who does not do this. His harvest is bad (Example A). In this way we explained to the farmers that, in fact, they had already known for a longtime what "monitoring" is - and also practiced it with success. Now it was a question of extending this method to other areas and refining the instruments used.

We had adopted the farmers' modes of behaviour and approved of them. They were reassured, motivated and eager to find out

The "learning situation" itself also plays a major role: if it is perceived negatively it is associated with stress, pain and fear. Mental blocks are an obstacle to learning and assimilation. New, unknown information can also lead to stress and mental blocks if it is conveyed incomprehensibly and in too abstract a way. Positive learning situations have a reinforcing effect: people recollect the situation and the knowledge imparted in it better and more willingly. For this reason we tried to keep pressure to a minimum in our work together: we took our time getting to know each other, and made our interpersonal contacts as casual and open as possible. Every time I didn't understand something I said so, and as a result we were able to identify and eliminate problems of comprehension relatively quickly and openly. We got a lot of enjoyment out of developing and using picture stories. The emphasis m our work together was on cooperation rather than asserting ourselves as individuals.

Example B: Demonstration "output', "effect" and "impact"Drawing: Dorsi Germann

Picture superiority effect

We also used drawings for knowledge transfer. With a little experience, drawings can be produced at village level if necessary, and when rolled up they are quite easy to transport. We discussed the interpretation, sketched out provisional sequences and picture content, tested them with Filipino colleagues and then corrected them. In this way, for example, we attempted to demonstrate the concepts of "output", "effect", and "impact" in the context of a project (Example B). This information was addressed to our colleagues from the NGOs. These conceptual differences and classifications were important to them, because they were the intermediaries between us and the farmers.

For the farmers, we visualized the individual steps of a monitoring process (Example C). We were thus able to present the sequence of individual activities clearly and realistically.

We used metaphors to present "monitoring" as a sensible activity. In Example D we showed possible methods of joint observation and compared them with a conventional evaluation. In Example E we presented continuous collection of data as the best possible way of achieving an aim.

The medium "image" facilitated comprehension (decoding) of concepts and relationships, and so the "picture superiority effect" was also confirmed in our project. In addition, working with pictures was enjoyable. For our colleagues from the NGO they served as a basis from which they were able to develop stories. That is more in keeping with a local communication style than our sober, serious language of instruction, dominated as it is by specialized terminology.

We did not show the pictures alone. They were all accompanied by spoken or written texts providing similar or supplementary information.

Both pictures and text can contribute to a better mutual understanding. They also influence one another. What is emphasized in the one medium is also given more attention and assimilated more intensively in the other.



Example C: Visualizing the individual steps of a monitoring process.Drawing: Dorsi Germann

How text and pictures should be designed for optimal effect is still being researched. Experiments have shown that realistic drawings which clearly reproduce key knowledge elements are superior to photographs.

However, the combination of text and pictures is also important. It appears that the information is retained better. The same expressions and terms should be used in the text and the picture section. It is important that text passages and pictures which are related should be positioned close to one another.

These results show that the picture designer is no longer - as so often in the past - merely the assistant of the text author. Instead, she should be considered the text author's equal.

However, how text and pictures are perceived and decoded depends not only on how they are presented and arranged, but also on the audience. The attitude a reader has towards the medium in question dictates how text and pictures are assimilated. "Reading strategy", "learning type" and what readers or viewers already know are also important. Comprehension, assimilation and retention of the subject matter are also crucially influenced by their curiosity and their personal interest. To these must be added external influences such as the learning situation. Whether or not the person imparting the knowledge is accepted and regarded as trustworthy by the audience is also important.


Example D: Possible methods of joint observation.Drawing: Dorsi Germann

So communication is a highly complex process. It is influenced by many factors and there are still only a handful of simple and universally valid recipes for success. Even optimal design of pictures and text will only contribute partially to successful learning. To me, interpersonal contacts between the communication partners seem to be equally important. Since it is a question of learning, all those involved in this process should themselves be willing to learn, and to recognize and adopt the experiences of others. One-sided knowledge transfer should be replaced by genuine communication between partners, and the school situation by creative teamwork - especially in international cooperation. In a learning situation of this kind the medium will be of secondary importance.

Perception Patterns and Learning Attitudes

What influences our perception, comprehension and memory? Human brain cells only continue to grow and form networks in the first few months of life. The structure thus created is moulded by external influences, that is, by the perceptions of our five senses (eye, ear, mouth, nose, skin). Once created, this structure is permanent, and influences the individual's subsequent perception and thought patterns. Information subsequently received is selected and integrated into this structure.

This perception pattern varies from individual to individual, and depends on a person's family, social and cultural background. It influences which channel of perception is used most, i.e., whether a person perceives and learns better via acoustic, visual or tactile stimuli (yearning types"). The more similar these patterns are in the communicator and the recipient, the better the mutual understanding and learning. If the perception patterns are different the transfer process itself may compensate, e.g. through the use of non-verbal media. Understanding and success in learning therefore depend not only on a person's "intelligence" but also on compatibility of the transfer process with the perception patterns of the recipients.

The human brain has various perception centres: speech, hearing and vision activate different regions of the brain, which pass on the information received to their respective fields of association. Information which addresses several senses can also be processed in several centres. Any information transfer strategy that takes these different perception patterns into account will always try to utilize several knowledge transfer channels, i.e. several types of explanation.

Learning and retention

What influences our memory? How can knowledge be imparted in such a way that as much as possible of it is retained? How is it that we remember some of the many items of information we receive every day and quickly forget others?

All information which reaches us via our five sense organs is first stored in our ultra-short-term memory. It is quickly erased from if we do not consider it important or fail to understand it. But if it can be associated with knowledge we already possess and/or arouses our curiosity and interest, it is stored in our memories.

This is why we remember information assimilated through personal experience better than information which we read or hear. Knowledge which is only verbally transferred must be enriched with pictures and associations to achieve the multiple perception of a personal experience - so that single-channel information becomes multi-channel information.


"Participative Monitoring" is increasingly proving to be an effective project management system. But how can the essence of this very abstract concept be made clear to "participating" farmers? The author describes lessons learned in the Philippines, where knowledge was communicated via pictures and drawings. "Monitoring" was made clear by presenting examples from the farmers' real life environments. The article advocates closer cooperation between authors and artists in the development of teaching materials.


Le "monitoring participatif" se revere de plus en plus etre un instrument efficace de direction d'un projet. La seule question qui se pose alors est de savoir comment faire comprendre aux paysans le contenu de ce terme abstrait. L'auteur fait une description des experiences faite aux Philippines ou l'on s'en est remis a des images et des croquis comme vehicules de transmission du savoir. "Monitoring" a ete explique a l'aide d'exemples pris dans le monde quotidien des paysans.


El "monitoreo participativo" esta demostrando ser cada vezmas un instrumento efectivo para controlar proyectos. Pero, ¿como explicarles a los campesinos "participantes" el significado de dicho concepto abstracto? La autora describe experiencias en les Filipinas, donde se utilizaron imagenes y dibujos pare transmitir los conocimientos. El "monitoreo" se explico presentando se ejemplos del entorno concreto de la vida campesina. La autora pide que se intensifique la cooperacion entre los autores de los textos y los dibujantes al elaborarse los materiales de ensenanza.

Example E: Continuous collection of data as the best possible way of achieving an aim.Drawing: Dorsi Germann

Escaping from Passivity

Liberative Popular Theatre with the village youth in Indonesia

by Warsito Ellwein

As theatre has a long tradition in Indonesia, the "Foundation for Cultural Development" in Yogyakarta, Indonesia has chosen this medium as an instrument to raise social awareness. The target group are young people who cannot find a job after leaving school and have difficulty in reintegrating into the social fabric of their villages. The author describes practical experience from the Foundation's project.

Over the last decade the formal school system has been the only source of information and education for village youth besides print and electronic media. Most parents continue to be convinced that formal schooling is completely sufficient for their children's development. Parents are still willing to work hard for their children's future, even though school fees are high, especially for poor village people. Children and young people regard schooling as a way of escaping from the obligation to learn something else.

But sometimes, they press their parents to buy them good clothes, shoes, school bags or even motorcycles in some cases and if the parents don't agree the children just abstain from school. Many pupils no longer want to continue helping their parents in the fields or in the workshops.

Young people who have completed schooling enjoy a higher status. They believe that their school leaving certificate will give them the chance to enter the civil service, to achieve influential positions and earn a lot of money. But reality looks different. Only the very talented, or children of rich parents and civil servants have an opportunity to attend university.

Otherwise the opportunities are quite limited. But many young people don't wish to follow their parents' trades as farmers, fishermen or blacksmiths because they bring no prestige. They lack not only capital and equipment to set up their own businesses but also the courage, knowledge and experience demanded. In the village, social relationships are still organised on a top-down system, similar to that in the family, the neighbourhood and in the school.

Children and young people are forced, both directly and indirectly, to accept advice and instructions from persons with higher social positions. Consequently they are not used to articulating their own opinions or putting forward new ideas. Open discussions are impossible. Young people behave in a passive manner, do not show creativity and frequently lack initiative because everything depends on people with formal power. Informal methods of education lose in importance.

In former times, traditional values were at the center of education and upbringing, they were taught to the younger generation and opened their minds to the perceptions of reality, shaping their sense of cooperation. Children were introduced to the secrets of agriculture and cropping at an early age. Social sanctions for lazy or unwilling children were frequently practiced. All villagers felt responsible for educating the neighbour's children. Tolerance and cooperation were the chief values and the needs of the community were placed higher than those of the individual.

It was against this background that the "Foundation for Cultural Development" began its activities to sharpen the awareness of young people in the village, to awaken their capacity to perceive their reality and to solve their problems in their own surroundings by tapping on the potentials of the past, the present and the future. The Foundation, based in Yogyakarta, has a staff of 15 and is financially supported by foreign development agencies. One of the many methods used was theatre. Theatre has a long tradition all over Indonesia, especially popular theatre i.e. the theatre of the people.

1. The "affirmative" popular theatre: This is a traditional popular theatre, representing authentic and fictitious motives from former times. Music, dresses and plots have to correspond with traditional customs. A well known form of this kind of theatre, highly appreciated all over Java and regularly performed on stage and on TV is ketoprak.

2. The "liberal" popular theatre: This form is a modem popular theatre, following the rules of classical theatre. It uses professional actors, a director and fixed manuscript; performances aim to fulfill artistic and esthetic demands although the play can focus on social problems and general social criticism. This kind of theatre in Indonesia is strongly connected with the name of the poet and playwright Rendra.

3. The "liberative" popular theatre: The"liberative" theatre is a mixture of elements of the classical theatre. There is no manuscript and the plays are directed collectively, anyone can follow. Rehearsals and performances can be held anywhere at anytime. The social problems in the participants' actual environments are the dominating issues. The Foundation has chosen the"liberative" theatre for its village-based work and has developed this method since 1983. The essential elements are:

- Action - reflection: each action in the theatrical process is discussed collectively.

- Learning by doing: the way in which the participants are informed about the play has a major impact on it: participants receive no concrete information but have to find everything out by themselves. Every dialogue expresses the real life experience of the participants: what they think and what they feel.

- Cooperation: all activities target cooperation and are oriented towards learning and practicing different forms of cooperation.

- Integration: each person acting in this theatre is simultaneously a participant, a facilitator and a member of the audience. Everyone becomes a subject, actively creating the entire process.

The concept

When a new theater group is formed, new participants generally only come to "consume" what is being presented by the facilitator of the training. Some followers may even desire to eventually become professional actors. Many just come for curiosity sake, accompanied by a friend. This one-sided consumption process had to he countered. The overall aim of liberative theater is a common giving and taking. The facilitator has an important role to play in this context. He/she must be able to recognize the character, potentials and motivation of each individual participant within a relatively short period and has to foresee the situation during the training in advance. But the facilitator is not the sole person responsible for directing the group. Everyone should "be in command".

The leader of the group must act with others while also taking advice and instructions from them. He/she only becomes a leader again in critical situations, either by providing answers to the questions raised or by introducing new parts. Most participants consider it quite satisfying/hat each person in the process plays every part together with others, giving each person the chance to express him/herself and bring in new ideas. Whether consciously or unconsciously, participants begin to actively represent their own opinions. In the course of dialogue and discussions, all suppressed problems come out.

Moreover, the "patron-client" relationships internalised over a long number of years, slowly starts to break up. In the course of time young people become more creative and are encouraged to take on activities outside the range of the theatre group. The typical course of a theater training session is as follows:

Warming up: all parts of the body have to be moved; from the eyes to the mouth, from the neck to the arms, from the hips to the legs.

Getting to know each other:

- the participants introduce themselves; the calling of names is related with body motions

- each person mentions something out of his/her personal environment, for example a rice field, a street and so on, and performs another body motion

- the name of one person is called out and connected with a motion, which has to be imitated by all others

- in the play "The king and the people", each actor plays the king in turn and gives some orders which have to be obeyed by others.

Getting acquainted with elements of theatre:

- imitation of animal voices

- participants play the role of another person

- a physical thing is performed (a house, a car) - alone or in groups - a specific situation is performed in the group: factory, office, landscape.

Getting acquainted with rhythms:

- producing sounds with the mouth or another part of the body
- sounds are produced with any kind of instrument: a stone, bamboo, an empty tin.

All exercises are performed together.


- while all members of the group are moving in the room, different roles have to be acted: a crazy person, a sad person;

- free motion.

Inventing stories:

- telling, discussion, rehearsal. Evaluation:

- questions and answers; dialogue. In the context of the overall process it is not of substantial importance toghether or not this self-arranged theater play will finally be performed in front of an audience. It may only be an internal play for the group, followed by an internal evaluation.


Forming a new theatre group in a village faces up to resistance and prejudices by older people against everything connected with the theatre: being active in the theatre group means that all polite manners have to be dropped, contact between boys and girls could become too "free" and time is wasted without any direct (material) benefit.

Other problems can arise from the internal process itself. There is a certain danger that the group may become an"exclusive" circle inside the village, no longer open to new members. Another risk is the professionalization: the group plays for money in other places and rehearsals are solely geared to the performance.

The facilitator can be another problem if he/she uses the group only for his/her self-qualifications, degrading independent group members to objects of the facilitator. Should group members start to overestimate themselves, they will close their minds to further learning processes. They begin to think that they already know everything about the theatre and about reality and block potentials for cooperation.


It is always difficult to present the successes of "liberative" theater, as is the case with other methods in awareness raising work. There are, of course, some examples that in a number of cases young people in different villages have developed the ability of criticism and self-awareness.

In several villages where this method has been applied, groups have taken up other activities: agriculture, fish breeding or even a small shop has been opened selling goods for daily needs. Especially some of the girls who are very shy at the beginning, and only came to "look'; obtained an incentive from the theater to try other activities. Some of them later became motivators themselves.

Many young people developed a more deeper awareness of the problems in their environment and now have a far more critical perception of the events taking place in their village and elsewhere.

They obtained more courage to become committed, to solve their own problems and also tackle the social problems in their villages. They now feel less dependent than before.

Work started with the first group in the village in Central Java. In the meantime many new groups have been set up in different villages. There is still a demand to establish other groups of the "liberative" theatre in many other places. The Foundation has therefore decided to develop its own training program to qualify more and better facilitators and exchange experiences among different groups.


In Indonesian villages, opportunities for social advancement for school leavers are limited, due to the rigid structure of society. Young people play a passive role: creativity is suppressed. The Cultural Development Foundation took this as a starting point for creating awareness by means of liberative popular theatre. This is a drama form which exploits improvisation, and the plays deal with the young peoples' social milieu. The author sees signs of success: increasing numbers of young people are taking the initiative, whether as farmers, traders or artisans.


Du fait de la rigidite des structures sociales, les possibilites d'un avancement social pour les jeunes sortant des ecoles dans les villages indonesiens sont tres limitees. Les jeunes ont un comportement passif et leur creativite est freinee. Partant de cette situation, la Fondation pour le Developpement Culturel a employe la methode du theatre populaire liberateur (liberative popular theatre) pour developper les consciences. Cette forme de theatre utilise l'improvisation, les pieces thematisent l'environnement social des jeunes. L'auteur constate que cette methode porte ses fruits.


Las posibilidades de ascenso social de los graduados de las escuelas son limitadas en los pueblos indonesios debido a las rdas estructuras sociales. Los jovenes se comportan de forma pasiva y la creatividad se reprime. Tomando esto como punto de partida, la Fundacion de Desarrollo Cultural comenzo a emplear el teatro popular liberador (liberative popular theatre) como metodo de concientizacion. Esta forma de teatro utiliza el instrumento de la improvisacion, el tema de las piezas es el entorno social de los jovenes. El autor considera que se han logrado ya exitos. Un numero cada vez mayor de jovenes toman la iniciativa, bien sea como campesinos, comerciantes o artesanos.

Do farmers and advisers speak the same language?

Information Transfer in Rural Areas

by Anne Floquet

In rural areas, serious communication problems arise between experts and local inhabitants in particular when the farmers are not organized in any kind of group. When this is the case the advisers not only lack local contacts via whom information can be transferred to the population; often, they also remain ignorant of changes, e.g. new cultivation methods or inventions which are only passed on orally within the peasant community. In this article the author reports on lessons learned in an integrated rural development project in Benin.

As a member of the research and development unit of an integrated development project in southern Benin, I held many informal discussions with farmers to study cultivation systems in Atlantique Province and the changes they had undergone. A subsequent two-year field research project was devoted to analyzing the dynamic underlying the intensification of land use among small-scale farmers.

Concentrating on just a few villages, our team of researchers conducted in-depth interviews with both men and women farmers, at all levels of society, about their present and previous production systems, changes in the environment, and innovations they had seen introduced.

We found that in the course of the century cultivation methods and processing technologies had changed dramatically, with the formal institutions playing only a subordinate role in these changes. In Atlantique province, the extension service had tried to disseminate its services as a "package" consisting of improved seed, fertilizers and plant pesticides, methods of harnessing oxen, and new storage techniques. At the same time the farmers began to cultivate their land more intensively.

They modified their bushland rotation system, introduced high quality crops such as field vegetables, and started processing the produce grown. They also further intensified their cultivation methods. Slash-and-burn with zero tillage gradually gave way to "ridging". In particular, the informal dissemination of new technologies for distilling palm wine, processing cassava and making soap from palm kernel oil led on the one hand to changes in the cultivation of palms and cassava, and on the other to the development of new activities and important sources of income.

From these experiences of communication processes, not only between the rural population and institutions but also within the rural population itself, it is clear that research and advisory institutions limited themselves to just a few of the alternatives for action the capital-intensive ones - which were open to the farmers. Moreover, the analysis of indigenous information transfer provides some useful guides as to how these communication processes can be selectively supported.

Learning by doing

Some innovations are in the form of information and products which are easy to pass on and test. New varieties of plants, for instance, are recommended by relatives, friends, market-women or employers, given away in small quantities or swapped and compared with the variety grown hitherto. By monitoring these informal experiments one can quickly identify the farmers' selection criteria. As regards plants which reproduce asexually or by self-pollination, it was noted that while one farmer may arrive at "statistically incorrect" conclusions, thousands of others select suitable varieties. Processes of this kind could be supported if the range of alternatives available for testing was not left to chance but deliberately expanded. In addition, evaluation would have to be broader-based rather than being carried out by each farmer individually.

From 1985 to 1988, French agricultural scientist Anne Floquet worked for the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) on an integrated rural development project (Projet Benino-Allemand CARDER Atlantique) implemented to study indigenous cultivation systems. Ms Floquet is at present working on the Special Research Programme of Hohenheim University.

Many innovations involve a new kind of know-how, and therefore have to be tried out and learned in practice (learning by doing). It will be impossible to separate "how it's done" from "why and where it's done". One good example of this is ridging. With the customary local method of cultivating flat land the farmer normally walks forward, to avoid tree stumps. But with ridging he has to walk backward. The fact is that where ridging is practiced the soils are already so degraded that there are hardly any tree stumps left, and the movements needed are quite different.

The farmers pass the technique of ridging on to their day-labourers or younger relatives who work for them for extended periods of time. But this know-how is not transferred simply as information, and that is why it is also adopted by others, mainly neighbouring groups and itinerant labourers. Within agricultural workers' mutual aid groups, new techniques which have been learned, such as ridging, are tested further and adapted to local conditions. No time is wasted forming groups to try out only new techniques, as is done by the advisory groups of the formal institutions. Instead, the people experiment and evaluate while working together.

For highly profitable technologies such as distilling for palm wine, genuine "training centres" have developed. The distilling technology was introduced into the country by soldiers returning from the First World War in Europe. However, it was strictly prohibited to fell palms for making wine, because at that time the oil from the palm bundles had to be exported to France. Nevertheless, palm oil distilling spread quickly. For substantial gifts, the few farmers who were familiar with the technology passed on the secret of palm-wine distilling to friends and neighbours who could be trusted. This training was associated with rites intended to keep the secret. More or less formalized learning-by-doing processes have thus developed which, in turn, could be intensified.

It is only partly due to the substance of new methods and technologies developed by formal institutions that they can only be disseminated among the population to a limited extent.

Ignorant of farmers' methods

The problems of the advisers are also linked to their incapacity to ask farmers the right questions and formulate understandable ideas. This is not a question of purely linguistic problems, of translations into the local languages, but mainly of differences in the way things are explained by the experts on the one hand and the farmers on the other. The experts, including the local experts, prefer to explain things in scientifically well founded terms. They use the language of cause and effect - "if.... then...". Whether this is indeed an aid to decision-making for the farmers is analyzed in the following, taking a simple counselling topic, namely "optimum spacing of plants", as an example.

The extension service recommends a given spacing, without any further explanation. On the other hand, the farmers believe that "the spacing of the planting holes must be modified in accordance with the degree of exhaustion of the soil. And air must be able to circulate between the plants to prevent them from suffering in the heat." The former suggests that an explanatory model was used in which spacing between plants was reduced (i.e. plant density is increased) under standardized conditions until the maximum yield was found. The latter suggests that farmers adapt to different local conditions, and since they have to take pests during and after sowing into account, they sow with closer spacing to ensure that the density will still be sufficient despite losses. If the density is too high the plants wither and turn yellow (to the farmers, they look as though they have suffered in the heat). In such cases the recommendations of the extension services which ignore farmers' statements concerning local conditions do not help the farmers reach a decision.

Farmers' approaches to explanations are context-related. Our study area was previously a deciduous rain forest region, and indigenous farmers consider soil fertility to be a result of the addition of straw from bush vegetation. They have extensive knowledge of these bush plants, which more or less replenish the soil with "vitamins". Settlers from savannah regions do not have this knowledge; they attach far more importance to the preceding crop effect and the effects of the plant residues worked into the soil.

They think that some of these give off a bad "smoke", as they put it, when they decompose in the soil, causing the crop plants to wither. This may be an explanation for nitrogen fixation processes. Extension services seldom take these explanations into account as a means of transferring their expertise in a comprehensible form. They do not even supply their own explanations, which the farmers would be able to compare with their own ideas. No analogy is drawn, for example, between natural fallow and green manuring, so that some farmers regard recommended mineral fertilizers as"white men's medicine' in fact almost as a magic potion, and draw no comparison with ash and litter. No analysis is made of which farming methods should be improved by these fertilization methods or of the criteria that such improvements should be based on. In other words, farmers' methods are ignored. Extension services demonstrate; they do not test.

Explanations are socio-cultural products and are therefore heterogeneous. Older men explain the decline in soil fertility differently from younger men. The neglect of tradition by the younger men, e.g. their inadequate protection of the sacred groves, is the reason why nature and the ancestors are angered, and why, in the environment, nothing works the way it used to, say the elders. The young men reply that there are too many people and land is becoming scarce - an argument that suggests a conflict between the old and the young over access to land.

Comparable explanations can lead to different views regarding an innovation. For some, ridging is an efficient means of cultivating land which is becoming scarce, while for others it destroys the bush-fallow vegetation and"kills the soil". A head-on collision of two opposing positions is thus inevitable. Yet it is precisely these debates and arguments which enable knowledge and the number of feasible alternative paths of action to be increased. So while there may well be several explanations for a given problem among the farmers, this does not prevent them from understanding, because the different positions are recognized and accepted. It is this which distinguishes commumcation processes between farmers' groups on the one hand and between farmers and experts on the other.

Thus, communication between experts and farmers is hampered by the fact that experts are rarely able to present their information and proposals as alternatives for action in farming contexts. In order to contribute effectively to solving a given local problem, one must be familiar with farmers' methods and their points of view.

Strengthening dialogue

While interest in farmers' know-how is meanwhile increasing, the results of scientific research must be applied in practice on a larger scale, so that advisers and researchers can modify their approaches accordingly.

Experts must be able to identify the rationale behind the action of the local population by analysis and be familiar with local explanations in order to collaborate with the farmers as partners. To this end, for example, surveys can be carried out as learning processes in which experts must take local know-how into account. For instance, researchers and advisers from different disciplines should carry out a situational analysis such as a "rapid rural appraisal". Subsequently they should examine how important their research topics and experimental methods, or respectively the substance and methods of their advice have been for the farmers. Second, the existing processes of experimentation by farmers and of information and knowledge transfer should be supported by a systematic expansion of testable alternatives for action and more intensive dissemination of the results. So far, experience of such approaches is restricted almost exclusively to a few NGOs (Haverkort et al. 1991).

The adoption of an innovation depends not only on the available production factors and resources but also on the intensity of dialogue between the farmers. Through dialogue, they can visualize their circumstances and possible changes. If the interrelations between farmers are dense and complex, even farmers of different social statuses will engage in in-depth discussions and develop a wide variety of alternatives. The exchange between farmers on the one hand and farmers and experts on the other should be reinforced through visits, workshops and media. In the course of a "study trip", we witnessed how farmers from different regions got into conversation with one another and how quickly they got down to hardcore issues.

Information must also be transferred to the researchers and decision-makers who have no direct contact with the rural population. They also have to expand their knowledge, or re-examine it, and be able to adapt the priorities and themes of their work to the farmers' problems. Although the setting of priorities depends, among other things, on political and economic considerations, it is made much easier by more knowledge.


Floquet, A. (1991) Maitrise de la fertilite du sol par les petite cultivateurs de la Province Atlantique, Benin. In Kotschi, J. (ed.), Pratiques d'Agriculture Ecologique pour petites exploitations tropicales, pp. 33-62. Weikersheim: GTZ/Margraf

Floquet, A., Mongbo, R. (1992): Pour une autogestion durable des ressources naturelles le diagnostic concerte des modes de ressources naturelles (R.R.A). Rapport d'une mission d'appui de quatre semaines au Plan d'Action Environnemental de la Republique du Benin effectue a la demande de la GTZ. (46 pp. + appendices)

Haverkort, B., van der Kamp, J., Waters-Bayer, A. (ed.) (1991) Joining Farmers' Experiments. Experiences in Participatory technology Development. London IT Publications

Respective values, processing and application of written information in local languages

How is the technical advice given in a development project received - and digested - by the target group? What difference does it make whether the advice is given in a foreign language or the language of the country or region where the project is implemented? Fode Diallo, director of GATE's partner organization FID (Fondation Internationale pour le Developpement) has been giving the question some thought.

When GATE asked me to write on the "Respective values, processing and application of written information in national (i.e. Iocal) languages", I jumped at the opportunity for two reasons.

The first reason is that I had always planned to communicate to others the importance of national languages both for informing and involving rural populations in development activities.

The second is - also and above all - that my organization, Fondation Internationale pour le Developpement (FID), has experience in the use of national languages as vehicles of information and aids to self-teaching for previously illiterate population groups.

A well-structured and well directed literacy campaign can represent a not inconsiderable source of information and an important means of acquiring new skills.

The reason why so many development projects have failed is that too little time is invested and too little importance attached to informing the target group. There is also the fact that the advisors or extension workers whose job it is to provide information are themselves not thoroughly familiar with the contents and objectives of their project. In fact, they may have only a very cursory knowledge of the environment to which they have been assigned.

Such inadequate provision of information to population groups and a cursory knowledge of the context in which one been assigned to work do little to encourage the beneficiaries to support development activities.

Go and ask the inhabitants of a Senegalese village if they will agree to a landing strip for large transport planes being built for them. They will say yes without a moment's hesitation.

Whether there am any planes or not will not be their problem. Their only concern is to have an infrastructure which the other settlements in the area do not have. That is to say, it has to be left up to the population groups themselves to understand and appreciate.

More than thirty years of experience in assisting extremely deprived and for the most part illiterate population groups have taught me that, in general, whether out of fear or respect, rural populations will accept any action to which they are submitted by development structures.

These are the projects which are abandoned as soon as financial support for them comes to an end. There are many such types of activity.

It has to be acknowledged that peasants also have their logic. They will not commit themselves seriously unless they are convinced. To get them to support an activity of their own free will, it is essential to give them the opportunity, the time and the means to enquire, to understand, to reflect, to analyze and to reach a decision accordingly.

Any project activity which fails to take account of these facts is bound to fail. Which leads one to say that improvisation and haste must be eliminated if one wants to get a population to participate fully in a development activity. The target groups must be considered as partners, and not as poor people seeking help.

Since 1986, in the light of this experience, FID has adopted a strategy which, instead of implementing action through short meetings, is based on informing population groups in depth prior to undertaking any form of activity. This strategy is based on a functional literacy campaign whose aims are not only to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, but also, and above all, to turn national languages into vehicles for providing information and training.

One lesson we have learned from our national language teaching programmes is that low-cost means are sufficient to train groups of villagers capable of becoming qualified counterparts of development organizations with regard to participation and transfer of skills.

The procedure is simple. The teaching programme has to be adapted to the traditional activities of the learners, to their culture, their environment, their needs and their timetable. Above all, it is essential to make them aware of their responsibilities at all levels and that all decisions are shared with them. Literacy supervisors are elected by the village where they are to give courses.

Back-up literature (reading books, arithmetic books, newspapers and technical documentation) must be prepared and distributed to participants, to encourage an interest in reading, in seeking out information, and in reflection on and analysis of a given subject. In this way they gain the capability to understand and decide.

As a result of such campaigns, literate peasants have become extremely valuable counterparts for our NGO, and models for the dissemination of development topics in their regions. The information and instruction they derive from documents translated into their own languages decisively influence their commitment to development activities.

How can one conclude except by pointing out that literacy in national languages is a major source of written information for population groups who have never been able to enjoy an education at any kind of school and who formerly participated in everything without any conviction or self-confidence. The most important thing is to develop an appropriate programme for a motivated group.

The Fondation Internationale pour le Developpement (International Development Foundation), an NGO which is fully controlled by Africans specializing in various fields, focusses on grass-roots development. It is active in areas such as technology transfer, elimination of illiteracy, and environmental protection. The FID's training centre and technology workshop are open to farmers, students, researchers and development workers from the North and the South.

African Experiences

Speech and song...


... have always existed

... came with the colonists

are the language of my ancestors

is the language of the foreigners

know my ancestors and me

oppressed my ancestors and me

are our truth

is a foreign lie

live in our day-to-day lives

is in itself dead

come from inside

comes from outside

speak to me

rejects me

give help

threatens me

are changeable and yet constant

is inconstant and yet rigid

cost nothing

is foreign money and wants money

bring people together.

Creates a division

... takes away my freedom.

By GATE staff member Rudolf Kiessling, who was an agricultural extension officer in Africa for many years: knowledge and information transfer depends on the cultural context.


The author puts the case for investigating communication processes between farmers in greater depth and including them in practical advisory work. Taking the province of Atlantique in southern Benin as an example, she describes how the institutionalized advisory service played only a minor role in changes in cultivation methods. Innovations were normally passed on from farmer to farmer through "learning by doing". However, the advisers and researchers often ignored the farmers' know-how and the way it was passed on. Moreover, the way they communicated their own information often made it incomprehensible. According to the author, cooperation with indigenous groups as between partners is only possible if advisers familiarize themselves with the content and methods of local knowledge transfer and intensify dialogue.


L'auteur preconise une etude plus approfondie des processus de communication du monde paysan et de les integrer dans la pratique de consultation. Se referant au cas de la province Atlantique dans le sud du Benin, elle montre que le service de consultation institutionalise n'a joue qu'un role mineur dans l'introduction de nouveaux procedes de culture. Dans la plupart des cas, les innovations se vent transmises d'un paysan a l'autre selon la methode du "learning-by-doing". Consultants et scientifiques ont cependant fait l'impasse sur ce savoir paysan et son mode de transmission, et ont transmis leurs informations dans une forme difficilement comprehensible. Un partenariat avec les autochtones n'est neanmoins possible que si les consultants se familiarisent avec les contenus et les formes de la transmission de savoir telle qu'elle est pratiquee sur place et intensifient le dialogue.


La autora aboga en favor de que los procesos de comunicacion campesinos sean investigados mas profundamente y de que estos se incluyan en el asesoramiento practico. Tomando como ejemplo la provincia Atlantique, situada en el sur de Benin, describe como el servicio institucionalizado de asesoramiento ha desempenado un papel apenas secundario en los cambios que se han producido en los procesos de cultivo. Las innovaciones se hen transmitido de campesino a campesino casi siempre a traves de "learning-by-doing" (aprendizaje practico). No obstante, los asesores e investigadores hen ignorado a menudo los conocimientos de los campesinos y la manera de transmitirlos, ofreciendo sus informaciones de forma dificil de comprender. La autora opine que una cooperacion fructra con los aborigenes solo sera posible al familiarizarse los asesores con los contenidos y con las formas de transmitirse alla los conocimientos, intensificando el dialogo con los campesinos.

Comics for development

The use of cartoons or comic strips for development education has been popular for a long time. Teaching materials used in training are nowadays lavishly illustrated with drawings, sketches and cartoons. This makes sense in particular - but not only - if the intended beneficiaries of development projects have a limited level of literacy or are even illiterate.

Most booklets used for development education are a combination of texts and drawings or cartoons. The illustrations serve to emphasize the message in the text. A good example of this is a booklet produced by SEMTA, a GATE partner in

Bolivia. Address: Casilla 15041, La Paz, Bolivia The drawing is taken from "Proyectos Asociados Campesinos". (Example 2)

Sometimes the message in the text is more closely linked to the picture, like communication between actors. A nice example, m which native language is used, is the Peruvian periodical MINKA. But these marvellous pictures do not tell a story, and so the level of reader identification will rarely be as high as that normally achieved by comic strips.

Grupo Talpuy,
Apdo 222
(Example 1)

Development comics which get a message across by telling a story are another, relatively rare form of development education. Our example is an excerpt from the comic "¿Como se enfermo mi suelo?" ("How did my soil fall ill?"), produced in Chile by Susana Benedetti, Roberto Ipinza, Erik Gonzalez and Sandra Perret.


Instituto Forestal/Corfo Estudios Agravios ANCUD Avda. Prat 87

ANCUD(Chiloe in Chile)
(Example 3)

Example 2:How to make compost. Compost is a good fertilizer and it's not expensive, because it's made from:

· harvest residues
· cattle dung
· human faeces
· weeds
· ashes
· lime
· black earth

The comic tells the story of Don Segundo and Don Juan, two farmers who are neighbours but cultivate their land in completely different ways. One adheres to ecological principles, thinks of his childrens' future and the ecological stability of the soil; the other exploits his land ruthlessly for the sake of short-term economic benefits.

Klaus Lengefeld

Example 3: Don Segundo kept on insisting. He wanted to Don Juan understand he couldn't cut it all down.

"I know what I'm doing!"

Interdisciplinary services

The BASE-ECTA Documentation Center, Paraguay
by Hebe G. de Rolon

The BASE-ECTA Documentation Center (BASE-Educacion, Comunicacion, Tecnologia Alternativa) in Asuncion, Paraguay aims to provide support to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and help reduce information deficits.

BASE-ECTA and also its Documentation Center came into being in 1985, when a group of specialists from different disciplines decided to establish a private, non-profit making organization, which would:

- actively promote grassroots organizations by providing training courses for their leaders;
- promote alternative technologies;
- contribute to democratization of society (Paraguay was under a strict dictatorship at that time)

Its goals were similar to those of many other non-governmental organizations set up during the eigthies in Latin America.

BASE-ECTA has grown into a supra-regional organization working on an interdisciplinary basis, both in rural and urban areas, with some 30 co-workers. Its specific mandate is to promote small-scale industry (e.g. by disseminating oil presses and cooking stoves), to improve the living conditions of urban selfhelp-groups (e.g. by disseminating filters for drinking water, stoves etc.), to provide training courses, and also to operate a documentation center.

Modest beginnings

The documentation center commenced with only a minimum of bibliographic material, consisting of several documents and a few new books bought by the group of founding members. These documents were classified according to the common criteria of documentation centers. Very limited funding was available at that time, so a manual information management system was chosen, consisting of a descriptor system and document cataloguing according to consecutive numbers. The titles were recorded in a simple catalogue index card containing the essential details plus any other expedient information. The cards were then filed numerically in the catalogue.

To begin with, the center's coworkers set up their own descriptor list to meet their own needs and interests. This list proved helpful in identifying the subject areas to be covered by the center. The documents and books were then catalogued using the descriptor list of the OECD-macro thesaurus and the SATIS-classification, supplemented by descriptors from the Popinthesaurus in some cases.


Descriptor catalogues were set up to establish the individual archives, classified according to subject area, geographical region, author, series, papers and statistical data. The documents were arranged according to accession number and were gradually entered into the catalogue. They were classified alphabetically according to key subject areas. In addition, catalogue cards were set up according to the SATIS-code, and filed numerically according to this classification.

This is quite a long-winded system compared to a computer-assisted one, but it functions like a computerized system because it allows information to be retrieved via several search criteria or combination of criteria.

The documentation has now been transferred to an automated system, using UNESCO's CDS/ISIS program. This program was welcomed by all coworkers as it is of great assistance in setting up databases to match the users' pinpointed needs. A further important aspect is that it can be obtained free of charge by non-profit making organizations, which is a major factor in countries where funding is difficult to obtain for information centers.

All books and documents are stored according to accession number, except for the alternative technology collection which is structured according to the SATIS classification. This exception was requested by the BASE-department for alternative technologies where the collection originated. National and foreign journals are catalogued separately on an alphabetical basis and according to title.

The range of books and documents available in the documentation center and the numerous subject areas covered make it a source of multidisciplinary information. Education and alternative technologies constitute the chief sections. Other programme areas covered by BASE are communication, women and research.

The Documentation Center's goal is to ensure rapid, exact and cost-effective collection, processing and dissemination of information through bibliographic services. The exchange of information is to be furthered with public and private organizations in Paraguay and abroad, organizations are to be encouraged to set up additional information units and training is provided on documentation management.

In the early stages, the documentation center's services were only available to members of BASE. In the meantime, it has numerous external users: including technicians, social workers, members of grassroots organizations, students and professionals. The center also supports foreigners, for example journalists or scientists, in their information search and research work.

The services provided cover: information, lending, drawing up bibliographies, catalogues, information bulletins, photocopies and on-line searches; correspondence lending, an information advisory service; practical training to groups of students of library sciences of the National University of Asuncion or for managers of information units in Paraguay and abroad.


The center has networked with other institutions through its policy of exchanging publications - a policy which has also been beneficial to the journal "ANALISIS DEL MES" (analysis of the month) which has been regularly published since 1985. This information service on the current political, economical and social situation was established by a research group consisting of scientists from BASE-ECTA, independent scientists and representatives of twelve independent organizations.

Ensuring the regular distribution of new documents is one of the routine tasks. The goal is to ensure that all members of BASE-ECTA are rapidly supplied with information. Showcases and wallcases are used for these purposes.

The Documentation Center presently has some 5,000 titles and 250 journals. It also has a collection of newspaper articles commenced in 1985 and classified according to subject area (politics, economics, society, social movements). This collection belongs to a different department of BASE-ECTA but can be accessed by users of the Documentation Center.

The team running the Documentation Center consists of a coordinator, one full-time assistant (40 hour/week) and one part-time assistant (15 hour/ week). Many advantages go with the job, for example attending training courses in Paraguay and abroad. A challenge facing BASE-ECTA, however, is the competition for personnel from the public and private institutions. Paraguay has at long last begun to realize the strategic value of information. Consequently, higher salary grades have to be paid for qualified personnel to keep up with the public sector.

Shortage of funds

The Center has an annual budget of c. US $ 14,000. Four-fifths of this are allotted to personnel expenditure, the rest to publications. Costs for exchange and distributing BASE-ECTA's journal (approx. 180 copies), for overheads and equipment maintenance and a part-time assistant salary are financed via an alternative-technology project. The documentation center's actual budget is therefore twice as high.

Sufficient time always has to be calculated in order to obtain the funding. Despite the new status given to information in Paraguay, it is still extremely difficult for an independent documentation center to operate on a sound financial basis.

Nor is it easy to earn sufficient income. The fact that the Documentation Center is used by grassroots organizations, for example, is a success in itself. But only very few of the actual target groups can pay for these services. Fee-taking could result in users no-longer accessing the service.

To earn at least a small income and also with a slight "educational" intention in mind, BASE-ECTA began levying small fees for printing lists of titles and fines for late return of documents. The income obtained in this way is very small and documentation centers can hardly be expected to earn enough income to cover their needs. Assistance must, therefore, be sought from organizations which rate information processing as a mayor contribution to economic and social development. The Documentation Center is supported nowadays by the Dutch Development Organization ICCO and by Bread for the World and GATE/GTZ in Germany.

Networking of existing resources in order to close the information deficits in our country is a major path to be taken in the future. In Paraguay, unfortunately, some information systems are set up which are doomed to failure from the beginning because they do not have clear, set objectives, sufficient funding or qualified personnel. For networking to be successful, the network participants have to well-organize their own resources to ensure that an expedient division of labour will result.


The aim of the BASE-ECTA information centre in Paraguay is to support grassroots organizations with information on Alternative Technologies. The services it offers include providing information, lending documents, compiling bibliographies, and information bulletins. This small centre, with about 5000 books and 250 periodicals which it evaluates continuously, is repeatedly in financial difficulties and depends for its survival on grants.


Le centre d'information BASE-ECTA au Paraguay veut apporter son soutien aux organisations de base en leur livrant des informations sur les technologies alternatives. Ses prestations de service comprennent la fourniture de renseignements, le pret de documents, l'etablissement de bibliographies ainsi que des bulletins d'tinformation. Ce petit centre, qui dispose d'environ 5.000 Iivres et de 250 periodiques depouilles en permanence, est sans cesse confronte a des problemes financiers et a besoin de subventions.


El centro de informacion BASE-ECTA en Paraguay desea apoyar a les organizaciones base mediante informaciones sobre tecnologias alternativas. Sus servicios abarcan la informacion, el prestamo de documentos, asi como la elaboracion de bibliografias y de boletines de informacion. Este pequeno centro tiene une biblioteca que comprende unos 5000 libros y 250 periodicos que se evaluan constantemente, debiendo afrontar une y otra vez problemas financieros, por lo cual necesita subvenciones.

Neglected Side-Shows

The documentation and library system in Burundi

by Marie-Luise Mzeyimana-Kerpen

In developing countries, information is often a competitive factor. The ruling class distributes information to those who excel through outstanding achievements. The author describes her own experience in Burundi.

In Burundi, the public, semigovernmental and international organizations are overflowing with wide-ranging local publications, most of which are surveys. However, as certain people keep this information to themselves and prevent others gaining access to it, the result is that scientific and technical documentation only very rarely reaches librarians and documentalists.

Generally speaking, an information department only plays a subordinate role within an organization or institution in Burundi. Like neglected sideshows, most public, state, private and international documentation offices eke out their existence in rooms that are impractical and too small.

No long-term planning

Only in very rare cases is there any long-term planning. For example, many libraries were only set up because, on the one hand, an office was no longer needed and, on the other, because other offices were full to bursting point with publications, and wanted to get rid of them for reasons of space. According]y, most documentation centres - with a few exceptions - do not have enough storage space at their disposal. Similarly, there are not enough shelves, magazine stands, index cards, stamps or thumb indexes. Because they do not have any clearly defined or specified annual budget, they have to make do with hand-me-down materials from other departments.

Most of the works held by information centres are M.A. dissertations and theses, government publications, annual reports, seminar reports and minutes. In addition, there are foreign scientific and technical publications connected with the work of the particular organization.

Furthermore, Burundian daily newspapers and international scientific and technical periodicals are collected. An allowance for new acquisitions is generally not included in the budget. However, should any new acquisitions be made, the decision to buy is not made by the librarians responsible, but by the management of the organization.

Unsolicited "presents" are a further source of new books, and 90 per cent of the documentation centres benefit from these. This means that documents that are not needed in other offices are handed over to the documentation centre. The"generosity" of certain national and international donors also frequently smacks of cast-offs. The result is that the books received only rarely have anything to do with the tasks of the documentation centre, and that most of these documents are obsolete.

There is no national library distribution list which would allow a meaningful exchange of documents among the individual libraries. On the whole, cooperation between individual libraries is uncommon.

When storing documents, there are not only problems of space, but also organizational deficiencies. In some libraries, for example, documents are simply shelved according to the date of receipt. Alphabetical ordering by subject is only rarely to be found. Frequently, periodicals are not ordered systematically at all.

The information centres are used by various groups. There arc university professors and academics, most of whom come with complicated enquiries about periodicals in their special field. Advisers from the individual ministries mainly require departmental reports, travel reports by colleagues, plans for the year and official publications. Apart from these, chairpersons of seminars and discussions need information on their various topics. Students need information for their final year dissertations.

Apart from organizational obstacles, there are also many other factors making it difficult for the librarian and user to establish a relationship based on trust. There is frequently a disparity of linguistic standards, for example, and knowledge in special fields is often at variance. In addition, a number of users are afraid that their research topic could become known. Because of this lack of trust, the librarian is often forced into the role of a "book carrier".

The librarian's insecurity as regards his role is made worse by his uncertain status within an organization. sometimes the documentation centre is attached to the secretary's office, sometimes to the administration, and sometimes to the research department. However, it is always subject to the authority and instructions of the higher hierarchies, even in expert matters. Many users are aware of this power relationship and turn directly to the higher authorities, with the result that a dialogue between the librarian and the user does not take place.


The author criticizes the restrictive treatment of scientific and technical information in very poor developing countries. Taking Burundi as an example, she describes the low level of importance attached to libraries and documentation centres there. Decisions on new acquisitions are taken by the management of the organization to which the library is attached. Apart from different language standards and levels of knowledge, cooperation based on trust between library visitors and the librarians is often hindered by organizational obstacles.


L'auteur critique l'usage restrictif qui est fait des informations scientifiques et techniques dans les pays en vole de developpement tres pauvres. En prenant l'exemple du Burundi, elle montre le peu d'importance accorde dans ces pays aux bibliotheques et aux centres de documentation. C'est la direction de l'organisation dont depend la bibliotheque qui decide des nouvelles acquisitions. Une cooperation confiante entre les visiteurs des bibliotheques et les bibliothecaires est souvent rendue difficile par des problemes lies a l'organisation, au niveau linguistique et a des niveaux de connaissances differents.


La autora critica el trato restrictivo de las informaciones cientcas y tecnicas en los paises muy pobres en vias de desarrollo. Tomando como ejemplo a Burundi, describe el poco valor que se les atribuye alla a les bibliotecas y a los centros de documentacion. La direccion de la organizacion a la que pertenece la biblioteca tome les decisiones en lo relativo a les adquisiciones nuevas. La cooperacion fructifera entre los usuarios de la biblioteca y los bibliotecarios se dificulta a menudo debido a obstaculos de organizacion, as' como a les diferencias de nivel idiomatico y de conocimientos.

Nicaragua: Books on wheels for Hungry Minds

Eight years ago, together with the"FriendsofNicaragua', German writers, artists, church people, booksellers, and employees of publishing houses founded a solidarity group to support the literacy campaign which was under way in the Central American country. In the spring of 1987 the group was able to present the Minister of Culture at the time, Ernesto Cardenal, with the Bertolt Brecht Book Bus and the Sofia Scholl Bookbinding Workshop. The chairwoman of the book bus project, librarian Elisabeth Zilz, describes how the German group experienced the Nicaraguanst enthusiasm for reading.

In cooperation with the Nicaraguan Biblioteca Nacional, we started the book bus project with a bus from the former GDR. Even though it has a dent or two, some patches of rust, and has been repaired countless times, the bus carries on bringing books to the poor, who cannot afford to buy any. Every two weeks the bus visits factories, penal institutions and youth centres. We started off with 3,000 books that we had bought in Spain, Mexico and Cuba.

At first, we supplied reading material to workers in textile mills and factories. The demand was tremendous - long queues of people crowded into the bus during their lunch-breaks to register as readers and borrow books. We had to revise our assumption that people in Nicaragua were mainly interested in fiction. Although many Latin American authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende were also read, it was self-help books and literature for further education that were most in demand. We were constantly buying new books on subjects such as practical psychology, sexuality, women, technology, crafts and history. We were pleased that our books were such "hits", but it was also true that many of them never came back. At the end of two years there were 300 books missing. The reasons for this disaster were a lack of responsibility in the factories, shift works and our staff's inexperience in lending.

Among the major institutions that we supplied books to were prisons. Following the 1979 revolution, the Sandinistas had abolished the death penalty and introduced a differentiated penal system. Above all, we supplied reading matter for political detainees in open prisons. Replying to a question put m the course of a survey, one of the prisoners said, "Reading is like a light suddenly being switched on after a long time in the dark." In the Zona Franca, a semi-open prison, borrowing books was a privilege granted for good conduct. For closed establishments, such as that in Granada, where there was no direct contact with the prisoners, we provided books in boxes. A "librarian" in the prison was then responsible for lending. The inmates of the "Esperanza" women's prison were mainly interested in books for children and adolescents.

Since the promulgation of the new school laws our work with children has become even more important. Some children can no longer attend elementary school because they have no money for the enrolment fee, monthly contribution, uniform and books.

With the possibility of borrowing books, the children can at least continue to practise their reading. One twelve-year-old boy read 50 books within two years.

With our bus we also support the "Los Pocitos" project, two kilometres from Niquinohomo. In the local library, which is in the house where Sandino was born, dedicated women look after children for four hours a day, telling stories, producing little plays or making models etc. The project depends on support from sponsors. The book bus project now puts its bus at the women's disposal to transport the children. The staff and books are from the library at Sandino's birthplace.

The"Sofia Scholl" book-binding workshop is also part of the German book bus project. Since 1985, three Nicaraguans trained by us have bound some 17,000 books, which were then given away. Many public libraries in the country have taken advantage of this offer. The entire book collection in the bus, which is named after the German poet Bertolt Brecht, was bound here. For a year now we have been planning to transform the manual binding workshop into a small printing workshop, so that we no longer have to rely on donations. Although the libraries would receive books at the preferential price of one Cordoba, the Biblioteca Nacional is opposed to our plan.

Elisabeth Zilz

A new AT Boom?

Appropriate Technology in Multilateral Cooperation for Development
by Yvonne Mabille

Is appropriate technology becoming a higher rated priority for multilateral development? Representatives of multilateral development aid organizations were interviewed for a GATE study, and some surprising results were brought to light.

A project promoting small crafts in Indonesia was to improve existing techniques for processing silver. An analysis indicated that the local craftsmen's skills had to be upgraded if their chances on the market were to be raised. The ILO (International Labour Organization) contracted with a technology center in Singapore which has an overview of the specialists in this branch; they identified a particularly qualified Filipino who was willing to go to Indonesia and train the local craftsmen there. The Labour Organization also provided an interpreter when necessary. This could be ILO's future strategy if they incorporate more local expertise in their consultancy activities.

International Labour Organization is one of the 14 largest UN organizations and development banks in which Holger Nauheimer, rural development advisor, has investigated the present understanding of appropriate technology. What do they understand by AT? What is their attitude to appropriate technologies and al what priority will it enjoy in future multilateral cooperation for development. Most organizations "have numerous activities which incorporate the use of appropriate technologies. The trend is growing". This is the conclusion drawn by a study commissioned by GATE/GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit).

A multitude of programs

The chief finding from over 100 individual interviews with organization representatives 15 that, as Holger Nauheimer explains, numerous programs and funds exist which provide access to multilateral funding parallel to the established paths of development assistance. Through skillful project planning and application policy it is generally possible to find financing for any project which has a sound development policy basis. This applies particularly to small projects and project applications made by NGOs. All multilateral institutions, without exception, are looking for opportunities to cooperate with non-governmental organizations. Strengthened institutional capacity of NGOs will lead to their wider integration into multilateral development cooperation.

Multilateral development aid is not provided directly from one donor country to one recipient country, i.e. bilaterally, but via international organizations such as the World Bank, the Regional Development Banks and the United Nations special organizations. One of the dilemmas facing these organizations is that they have to compete for the influence and funding provided by the Governments of industrialized and oil exporting nations. Negotiations are held every two years on the contributions each financially strong industrial country will make to the individual budgets. Consequently, every organization in the United Nations system must propagate its performance capability. There is a general trend, observed Holger Nauheimer, that the United Nations is loosing influence in the field of development cooperation while the World Bank is becoming ever stronger.

Competition is tight because many organizations have their own projects in most sectors: The World Bank and the Regional Development Banks have activities operating in all areas. The UNDP (United Nations Development Program) subcontracts many of its projects to the special organizations in the UN system but simultaneously it also carries out its own projects in all areas. "Small industry and technology promotion projects are operated by UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). Agricultural engineering activities lie in the field of competence of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and the ILO. Agriculture assistance is chiefly carried out by FAO and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) but also by the WFP (World Food Program) and the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). All organizations need small technology concepts in their projects: The WHO (World Health Organization), for example, needs solar refrigerators, the UNHCR needs low-tech water pumps and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) simple tools for reconstructing historical buildings. This variety of activities carried out by the United Nations Special Organizations should be technically coordinated by the UNDP. However, because of its budget cuts, the UNDP is only able to do this to a limited extent.

In 1991 the industrialized nations of Western Europe provided $ 44.251 million in the form of credits and grants for multilateral development cooperation activities. Approx. 23 % of this went to UN special organizations, 17 % to the EC. The World Bank budget takes up 40 % of multilateral aid and the Regional Development Banks about 15 %. The UNDP administers the largest part of the non-repayable aid with approx. 10% of the funds and ongoing programs in more than 130 countries.

Technology selection

The percentage of these funds earmarked for AT projects by the individual organizations is determined by a number of factors. The study analyses this "tension area: technology selection" in the individual organizations. AT in the meaning of small low-cost simple technology will "never be mainstream" because many development problems require large-scale solutions, e.g. infrastructure measures for the mega-cities in the Third World.

However, alternative technologies will clearly become weightier in coming years; numerous World Bank infrastructure projects are expected to contain AT components, and because the credits and country programs generally require astronomical sums, AT is anticipated to take up several billions of dollars in the scope of development cooperation activities.

The discussion on the pros and cons of appropriate technologies in development cooperation has revived in recent years. In May 1992, for example, an international GATE workshop was held in Frankfurt on "Appropriate technology in post modern times" (cf "gate" 4/92), which showed that AT was evidently of unbelievable topicality.

One of the chief reasons is that today, in contrast to the beginning of the AT movement 25 years ago new alliances seem possible which could result in greater use of AT. All organizations are moving at the present times. No-one can remain blind to the tact that "classical" large-scale projects do not alleviate poverty. Consequently, everyone is more willing to let alternative forms of development have a chance. As Nauheimer explained, the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) also stipulated participation, poverty alleviation, environmental protection and AT as the cornerstones of new international cooperation for development.

Environmental compatibility

Following UNCFD, development assistance must be more intensively assessed in the light of its environmental compatibility. This assessment will no doubt lead to numerous alternative projects on energy, waste water, agriculture and environment: Appropriate tcchnology is booming even though many project consultants and technology experts do not want to admit it.
Higher priority?

The term appropriate technology can designate numerous things. Since the 70ies its meaning has changed. Fritz Schumacher's approach - small is beautiful - is really limited to the actual technology "environmentally sound, using renewable energies, decentralized, preferably low cost and geared to basic needs". Nowadays, AT is understood to be the process which logically combines technology, participation and poverty alleviation.

As Holger Nauheimer states, both the old and new meanings of appropriate technology are gaining in impetus and importance in international development organizations. On the one hand because many errors of the past arc said to be due, inter alia, to the fact that the wrong non-appropriate technology was used; on the other hand because technology is being increasingly viewed in an holistic context. In most organizations this results in role of technology in the development process being better understood. Many organizations are presently trying to find a secure viewpoint on technology policy. This may have differing impacts, depending on the past history, the political direction and the decision-making structure in the given organization. E;or example, many organizations do not have a specific department responsible for technology policy.


The International Labour Organization (ILO) was established in 1919, and considers itself an institution which has always promoted appropriate technology. Nevertheless, even at the ILO criticism was loud from the very beginning, refusing AT as a neocolonial instrument used to cement the backwardness of developing countries. Other critics refused AT as a secondhand-technology which hindered innovation and just embedded poverty in developing countries. ILO was the very first of all multilateral donor organizations to seriously tackle the issue of AT. ILO's strategy for selecting its partners has always been ahead of other organizations: it works with consultants from developing countries and promotes cooperation with non-governmental organizations.

The issue nowadays is what forms of cooperation can be set up between development organizations and grass-roots initiatives, and how these two levels can be brought together at all. The study concludes that GATE and its NGO network can provide important impulses in this context.

At ILO, Appropriate Technology has been attached to the Employment Strategies Branch since their reorganization in 1992, and even within the organization it has two different definitions: A technology is considered appropriate if it aims to optimally exploit local resources within the given environmental situation and maximizes social welfare. The second level - which the study calls indicative describes the characteristics of AT. In this context, a technology is considered appropriate when it matches local conditions and development goals better than any other alternative problem solving strategy.

The technology component has major importance in ILO projects. "Technological activities often make up over 50% of the project budget. They include, for example, the production of prototypes, pilot production, plants, dissemination of technology, information and training. Other focal areas are crafts tools and farm implements, technologies for rural women, village level energy (food drying) and the construction of rural roads.

Technology blending

ILO has been propagating "technology blending" since the beginning of the 80ies. This is understood to be the introduction of modern methods in traditional technologies, or "situation-appropriate blending of traditional, modern and ultra-modern technologies, in order to provide solutions for the production problems facing small-scale industries. The goal is to improve traditional technology without fully replacing them". In ILO's opinion, micro-electronics, photovoltaics and biotechnology are modern technologies suitable for this type of blending.


Labour intensive employment measures that alleviate rural poverty are ILO's chief task for the 90ies. For example, ILO will attempt to convince authorities in recipient countries of the benefits of labour-intensive procedures for road construction projects. Employing a large number of workers generates a demand for more tools and medium-tech equipment, which should optimally be produced on the local market.

ILO is to support the informal sector by providing it with access to information. A dedicated program - INSTEAD (Information on Technological Alternatives for Development) - has been operating as an information system for appropriate technology since 1989 and is attached to the ILO database. INSTEAD answers queries from developing countries, makes literature searches, etc. and helps in setting up information systems. Regular technical reports are published and distributed to technologists in the developing countries.

The World Bank

The World bank has three distinct levels which influence the selection of technology, each of which follow different interests and sometimes have very differing opinions: the bank level, the political level and the implementation level. The technologies used by the country departments in the "classical" water supply, sanitation, energy and road construction sectors have had little to do with AT to date. The simple fact that AT projects only require small inputs of financing means that they are not considered by them.

While the idea of cooperating with NGOs is not alien to them, says Holger Nauheimer, it has not yet been practiced. "However, a recent administrative directive has now made it compulsory to identify potential NGO participants in every project." AT is most widely spread in the World Bank's rural development and agricultural projects. In their Asian department, an operational unit for alternative energy has recently been set up - the ASTAE. The World Bank has declared its willingness to make alternative energy options in the Asian region a key area of activity. The first step in this direction is an energy project in Indonesia. A project for India, centering mainly on the promotion of alternative energies and established in the scope of a 400 million dollar credit, is at the appraisal stage. ASTAE is urgently looking for cooperation partners.

The study foresees that NGO participation will also become a key theme at the World Bank. NGO prospects are rising, because the governments of the partner countries - whose approval is needed before any NGO cooperation is entered into - are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that "a number of problems are still not under control". Contacts to NGOs are organized by the World Bank's EXTIE department, which regularly publishes a list of World Bank projects in which NGOs can participate. In 1989 there were 509 projects, including projects in the sectors AT, promotion of small-scale industries and low-cost building materials.


The example of the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) is an illustration of how political framework conditions restrict the selection of technologies. The organization, financed by the signatory countries of the Geneva Convention on Refugees is independent of the UNDP, but must, as it puts it itself, "quite frequently act against its own convictions". On the one hand, the UNHCR provides emergency aid using materials and equipment that have to be made available immediately. But even when long-term planning would be possible, programs are only drawn up for one year in each case, because countries taking-in refugees are not interested in their staying over a long period, nor, therefore, in long-term plans.

Being an organization which has to satisfy peoples' basic needs over a limited time period, the UNHCR is, in principle, free to choose the technologies it uses. But here, as in other organizations, the purchasing costs are the decisive factor, and not whether the technology will have a sustainable influence.

The annual re-negotiation of programs means that alternative technologies (such as photovoltaic water pumps), which, including their follow-on costs would cost less than classical solutions (e.g. diesel generator), have little chance of being accepted.

Overall, the UNHCR is permanently situated in the field of tension between the ideas of the donors and the desires of the recipient country governments. Nevertheless, AT components are practiced, for example the use of traction animals, water pumps, appropriate agricultural mechanization: in many African programs refugee accommodation is built using traditional construction methods; in loam constructions with wood and fibres.

Even if the UNHCR does not like to talk much about technology selection, because the subject is so explosive at the present time, they are trying to bring m long-term concepts with strategies for sustainable technologies. The UNHCR planning officers greatly need information on appropriate technologies.


UNIDO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, has become active in AT for a long time: it has distributed AT equipment and publishes descriptions of production processes.

The increased assistance to small scale industry has brought new topicality to AT at UNIDO. Awareness grew, for example, of the fact that day-to-day products that are manufactured locally (and not for example in South East Asia or in Europe) are generally better geared to the consumers' wishes in terms of type and price, they are often manufactured by production processes using local technologies, suit cultural concepts and exploit locally available materials. AT in this sense also means rational use of limited resources.


The Asian Development Bank, ADB, like the World Bank, gives credits at normal bank conditions and also "grants". The Bank's development policy guidelines are stipulated by the member countries, who exert their influence via their Gouverneurs or Executive Directors.

The following priority areas were put forward in the recent annual report: women in the development process, cooperation with NGOs and poverty alleviation. Parallel to the developments in the World Bank, it can be observed that there is no lack of political intentions and serious analyses.

Difficulties in implementation

However, difficulties are experienced in practical implementation "because no one really knows what poverty alleviation means, or how to operationalize it in projects. The ADB staff's willingness in principle to give greater weight to appropriate technology even though they do not have concrete ideas on how this is to materialize should be assessed in this context.

As the bank does not have a specific technology policy department, ADB's development policy department was charged with drawing up guidelines for technology transfer. The last concept of this type dates from 1986. Large-scale technological solutions have been the dominating project type at the ADB up to now.

In water projects, for example, because "the borrowing governments are chiefly interested in developing their urban centers and because the banks have little experience in the field of rural infrastructure".

Nevertheless, an internal discussion paper of the Bank dated 1990 stated that the bank is promoting a growing number of water projects in smaller provincial towns and rural areas. In this framework, water supply and sanitation measures of smaller technology can be improved, but no project concept existed for the project component "improvement of the social infrastructure", which "cropped up because of political reasons".

The study deems this to be symptomatic for the work of the development banks. Perhaps institutions with experience m this area will be able to come to work.

Global Environmental Facility

The UN Development Program which, together with the World Bank and the UN Environment Program was charged with implementing technical cooperation in the scope of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), is presently setting up a program for small grants.

Support addresses relevant activities by community groups, NGOs and NGO networks working in one of the central problems areas for which the GEF was created: climate change, conserving biodiversity; water contamination and depletion of the ozone layer.

Through the small grants program, US$ 1000 to 50 000 (max) can be made available to NGOs while up to US$ 250 000 can be provided for sub-regional and regional programs, particularly for NGO networks.

EC Microprojects and NGO promotion

Development Aid by the EC does not have a general concept for technology transfer or for the use of appropriate technology. Nevertheless, the study identifies areas on the periphery of the EC development policy which are highly relevant for the use of appropriate technologies.

On the one hand, the promotion of microprojects: An ACP country (the EC is linked to 69 countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific under the Lome Convention) drafts a program covering the promotion of different sectors. The EC Commission approves the financial recommendations and the recipient country government decides to implement individual projects. Microprojects are exempted from the otherwise mandatory bidding procedure, making it easier for local groups and companies to participate in implementation.

The other interesting program is to assist European Non-Governmental Organizations implementing projects in developing countries. The NGOs must fulfill a number of dimension should gain importance.

But there can be a large disparity between the declared project goal and actual implementation. A regional project in the Philippines, for example, aims to raise small farmers' rubber harvests. During the interview, Holger Nauheimer noted that exact ideas are on hand on how the rubber criteria: they may not be profit oriented; their head office must be situated in an EC member country; they must cooperate with similar NGOs in a developing country.

Up to 50% of a project's overall funds can be subsidized. The NGO must raise the remaining funds from private sources. From 1976 to 1990, 9117 projects were co-financed, with a total EC contribution of c. 500 million ECU. 654 different NGOs participated in these projects. Germany was fifth in the rating according to number of participating NGOs, they obtained financial contributions valuing 87 million ECU, which was only surpassed by the British NGOs with 94 million ECU.


The Abstract Made Concrete

Teaching of science at low cost with locally available materials

by Hans Schmidt

In developing countries science lessons are restricted in many cases due to different constraints to lecturing and rote learning with scarce use of teaching materials and other practical activities. What are the constraints and how can such abstract science be made more concrete? Practical answers to these questions were discussed during pilot workshops in Tanzania, organized by the Ministry of Education, the German Cultural Institute (Goethe-Institut) and the local Mzumbe Book Project.

The goal of educational reforms is to modernize teaching both in terms of the materials and of the methods used. In the end, however, a purely material modernization with "modern" media and "modern" topics will fail if it is not accompanied by methodological changes in teaching style.

Religion and tradition largely determine the way of life in many countries of the Third World. Teaching and learning are performed within a frame of reference of social and cultural relationships which differ from those of the Western consumer societies.

Western education fosters individual achievement, competition and direct, open altercation. By contrast, the goal of traditional learning by imitation - in the family or from a craftsman, for example - is the absorption of knowledge and experience in as unadulterated a form as possible, thus allowing the organization of society to be preserved and cultural traditions to be passed on. Learning of this nature questions little, and neither does it accelerate change. From a methodological point of view, a great deal of school teaching is also learning by imitation. The teacher lectures and the pupils have to reproduce this knowledge.

A teacher who has long been accustomed to the principles of traditional education will find himself in profound social and cultural conflict when confronted with a different teaching method. Lessons which teach how to question critically also teach to question the abilities of teachers, bureaucrats and politicians, and encourage pupils to look into the forces behind political systems, social behaviour and cultural traditions. Lessons like this bring about change.

A different teaching method means that teachers have to be methodologically flexible, that they have to prepare their lessons in detail, be linguistically competent and thoroughly versed in their subject so that they can guide discussions and answer questions. In many cases, the result of this conflict situation is an ambivalent attempt to teach "modern" science using the traditional commumcative repertoire.

The reiterative, inflexible nature of these lessons is reinforced by the use of a foreign language which is usually colonial and often only inadequately mastered. Teaching specialized subjects is always foreign language teaching, too. Only exact rote learning, which excludes free formulation and thus potential mistakes, will guarantee a good grade in the rigid exams.

In view of these complex obstacles, reforms of teaching method can scarcely be achieved within a short period of time.

Biology lessons can be livened up using simple teaching materials .
Cartoon: MBP/Schmidt

Classroom practice

The goal of development strategies can neither be a linear continuation of the present "chalk and talk" lessons nor the simple imitation of examples from the industrialized nations, associated as they are with high capital investment. How, then, are demands for a gradually changing school system to be translated into educational practice at grass-roots level, given the many obstacles that there are? How can one change while at the same time preserving what is familiar, learned and accepted?

"Teaching of Biology with Locally Available Materials" was the title of one of the workshops organized in Tanzania in July 1992. The workshop's brief was to come up with educationally practical ideas for material and methodological changes in current classroom practice. A number of concrete examples were presented at this workshop. One topic in the lower secondary school syllabus looks at cells, tissues and organs. In traditional lessons, the structure and function of the cell are often dictated or written on the blackboard, and then learned by heart. Even where conditions arc not perfect, this can be done differently. A matchbox with a bean in it provides a simple model of a cell. Or again, a plastic bag filled with water and with a mango seed in it is soft like an animal cell. If this bag is placed inside a cardboard box, then the model resembles a plant cell stabilized by a cell wall. The model can be varied as needed. Each model helps pupils to grasp abstract topics and makes biology more practical.

Where there is no microscope with which to study real cells, this can be done with the convex glass of a torch light bulb. A droplet of water in a wire loop also acts as a lens through which to study onion-skin cells. This first step away from abstract, dry "chalk and talk" could perhaps be called "teaching with visuals and learning by doing". For all the topics on the syllabus, activities can be found (more for some topics than for others) which make the content of the lesson come more alive. There were twenty activities on the topic of the cell, and a total of 300 activities for the lower secondary school alone came out of the workshop week.

Other topics which have so far only been taught in an abstract way can also be made concrete. "Cells are the building blocks of life and have semi-permeable membranes" is the abstract version. Simple models made of matchboxes, crown corks, peas and beans can illustrate diffusion and osmosis. The mechanical action of a knife destroys membranes just as the heat of cooking does, or the action of chemicals. It is not only possible to show the release of materials; many illustrative and practically useful experiments can also be done with them. The teacher has to learn to see everyday life through the eyes of a scientist. With cassava starch alone, ten simple experiments can be carried out. The qualities of other constituent materials can be made equally "graspable". Dyes from plants are common knowledge; certain dyes can be altered by the admixture of other elements. They react with vinegar and soap suds in exactly the same way as textbook litmus reacts with acids and alkalis. In this way, simple aids help make the abstract concept "indicator" more vivid.

Everyday life offers a wealth of experience and observations. This is particularly true of physics lessons, where the principles of levers can be learned when changing tyres or the inertia of mass when braking a car. Children in East Africa are experienced designers. They make toy cars out of waste material, and a lot of concrete applied physics can be observed in these toys. Being able to relate to these applications encourages further experiment, and this will also be of help to the person who later tries to make his living as an artisan or a craftsman. Abstract lessons could gradually develop into a form of education which encourages questions and thus fosters linguistic competence and independent critical thinking. The path could finally lead via imitation, watching and doing to independent, explorative learning.

A collection of ideas was not the only result of this educationally innovative workshop. At a subsequent authors' workshop, a smaller team of participants compiled the manuscript for a 140-page teacher's sourcebook. After only five weeks of intensive work, this comprehensive, illustrated sourcebook was ready for the printers. In the two previous years, similar sourcebooks (chemistry and physics for beginners) had also been published as a result of workshops.

Experiments with simple materials

In the history of science teaching in the industrialized nations, there is a tradition of experiments with simple materials. In the last century, Faraday used the example of a candle to show how basic science literacy could be achieved using simple materials. Since the turn of the century, experiments which are possible without great difficulty have been known as hand experiments. The idea of these experiments was that they would introduce inexperienced, badly trained teachers to experiments in lessons and, at the same time, help combat the lack of teaching materials. Experiments with simple materials were the first step towards today's standard science lessons.

Furthermore, as another result of the workshops in Tanzania, a science kit was developed for basic experiments. This was made and put together by students and teachers using simple materials, and is ready for immediate use in the classroom. It is described in the chemistry sourcebook. An important component of this portable kit is a specially developed burner which provides a soot-free flame using universally available kerosene. Any village craftsman can make this burner (see gate 2/92).

The lack of materials they experience every day makes teachers receptive for ideas as to how to help themselves. The science kit can be replenished with simple locally available materials; gradually, it will also be possible to use imported and locally produced equivalents. For example in less than one minute, old light bulbs can be made into no-cost substitutes for round flasks and test-tubes.

A wealth of chemicals can be found in markets and bazaars, and while they are not analytically pure, they are good enough for use in school experiments. A 1.5 V mono cell battery is almost completely useable: with the help of hydrochloric acid, hydrogen can be produced out of its zinc casing. Like the battery electrode, this is useful for electrolysis experiments. The battery's manganese oxide releases the oxygen in hydrogen peroxide (available from chemists). Finally, the battery sealing compound will bond glass to other materials. With these and other materials, experiments are possible up to the level of ion theory. Within a week, anyone can produce and put together the contents of this science kit himself, and use it to learn simple experiments.

Educationalists and politicians are ambivalent in their attitude towards experiments with simple materials. On the one hand, this ambivalence is the result of economic considerations as to whether it will ever be possible in the foreseeable future to equip all the schools in the country with teaching materials of First World standard. "Low cost" is associated with positive aspects of appropriate technology such as user-friendliness, the use of local resources and economic profitability. Social considerations also play a role, as abstract knowledge that is far removed from everyday life is of little use to most people.

On the other hand, however, experiments with simple materials are also seen from a political point of view as a consolation prize for economic disadvantage and under-development, and thus as a symbol of technological colonialism and material poverty. This has also been one reason why, in certain countries, this concept has so far been unsuccessful at the level of educational policy-making, in spite of a great deal of effort. However, it is a fact that experimenting with simple materials may be only the first step towards establishing competence, and that this step must be taken before any second step with more sophisticated materials can follow. The many hardly used collections of teaching materials in schools in the developing countries are evidence that taking the second step before the first cannot be a solution to make abstract teaching more concrete.

The sourcebooks

Sourcebook for Teaching Chemistry to Beginners with Locally Available Materials. Mzumbe 1990. 100 pp.

Sourcebook for Teaching Physics to Beginners with Locally Available Materials. Mzumbe 1991. 120 pp.

Sourcebook for Teaching Biology to Beginners with Locally Available Materials. Mzumbe 1992. 140 pp.

For further information, please contact the author (Waldstrasse 5, 64390 Erzhausen, Germany).



The diagrams show some aspects of a mini-/ate which can be assembled from locally available materials. The cost is so low that they will not overstress limited school budgets. More than 100 simple experiments can be carried out with it. For details see the chemistry source book in this series.

Cartoon: MBP/Schmidt

Substitution and containing of coca-production: Do projects make sense ?

by Christian Heimpel

GFA - Gesellschaft fur Agrarprojekte mbH, Hamburg, has been contracted by German aid in 1991 to assess the economic feasibility of coca-substitution and respectively, prevention projects in Bolivia (Chapare) and Peru (Jaen-Bagua-San Ignacio). In some other projects GFA was indirectly confronted with drug-linked problems. Do such projects make sense at all ? The main arguments challenging the feasibility of drug substitution projects and some tentative answers of GFA are summarized below.

· The first and, at a first glance, most convincing argument is that the drug problem cannot be solved at the production side. As long as there is a market in industrialized countries, characterized by a very low price-elasticity of demand, there will be production wheresoever, and substitution projects will have, in the best case, regional or local effects. Thus, the problem has to be approached from the consumption side, either by better education, employment policies, more restrictive controls of illegal consumption or, the other way round, by legalizing coca consumption, thus drying out the profit margins of the international dealers. The last point of this line of argument used to be a reference to the lessons learned from the prohibition policies in the twenties.

Coca-containment theatre ?

· The second argument is that to fight drug production with development projects is a case of extreme Don Quixoteria, where the owners of the windmills are equipped with planes, machineguns, private armies etc. and, besides, firmly protected by national corruption networks, whereas the poor noble sits on the lame and underfed Rozinante of international aid administration. In economic terms, the comfortable combination of production/trade cartels and low price elasticities at the demand side makes it impossible to attack coca production with, say, bananas or coffeebeans. At the micro-level this means that there are no production lines which could compete with the gross margins of coca or poppy production.

· Finally, some observers question whether the main actors in the coca-containment theatre, namely the Latin American Governments concerned and the US-Administration have, indeed a real interest in getting rid of coca production.

It is evident that the Bolivian economy profits from the net inflow of hard currencies generated from illegal coca exports, estimated at something between 350 and 600 million US$, and it may be true that the US have political and military interests in Latin America which could be weighted against some tolerance concerning drug production. Thus the question arises if substitution projects are really more than etiquettes shown to the aid-tired constituencies in Europe and the US.

Incomplete arguments

On the basis of many discussions held with administrators, scholars and, above all, coca farmers, GFA believes that the arguments quoted above are at least incomplete. They tell only half of the story and lead, taken together, to wrong conclusions.

Firstly it is obvious that in accordance with the social and economic complexity of the problem the drug issue must be tackled with policies and not with isolated projects. However, it is equally clear that the search for alternative production lines and farming systems in coca-producing and coca-menaced regions must be a component of these policies.

In addition, it is simply not true that drug consumption is a problem of rich western societies alone. Brazil, Colombia, Peru Bolivia and Venezuela face severe drug problems at home. It foreign aid is asked to cooperate with these countries in their drug containment programmes, the production components of the problem cannot be left out.

Alternative production lines

Secondly alternative production lines whith could compete with coca coexist. In the Chapare, we found pineapple, green pepper and passion fruit to be competitive with coca, and in northern Peru high-quality coffee produced gross margins comparable to those of coca even at given low coffee prices.

In both countries, the problem is not the lack of alternative crops, but the lack of agricultural policies and programmes which encourage farmers to introduce them. Even worse, in Bolivia the same donors who oblige the country to purpose rigid coca eradication programmes, propagate price and credit policies which make it absolutely impossible for the farmers to finance the heavy onfarm investment of, e.g., pepper and pineapple production. No wonder that a small Chapare farmer told us that he will increase his "cocalzito" on order to get the money for investment in alternative crops.

With regard to economic feasibility seen by the farmers themselves, it is clear that they compare in quantitative terms the net benefits of coca with those of other crops. However, this is again only half to the story.

Farmers calculate, but profit maximation is not tne unique criterion for their behaviour. What they want is a secure basis of living. Coca leaf prices are subject to extreme fluctuations which makes production risky, particularly in high-cost production systems such as the Alto Huallaga (Peru).

Furthermore, farmers know very well what illegal coca production means in terms of social costs ("costos de clandestinidad"). Why do we continue to work as international consultants if it is obviously easier to make money by, say, opening a bar in Hamburg's redlight district ? Because it is not our style, and we would have to deal with people we dislike.

It seems to us that this is the main point. In the Chapare, our impression was that most of the farmers and their families wanted to get out of illegal coca production. Thus let us do what we can to help them to do 50. We know that coca leaves substituted by other crops in a particular projects area will probably be produced elsewhere. This is indeed disappointing, but by no means a good argument to keep out of substitution programmes.

Limited direct impact

Projects in agriculture never solve development problems on their own. They identify, test, and offer new and better development options. The decision to accept them as components of sectoral policies and programmes is up to the societies and governments of the Third World countries concerned. The argument of limited direct impact of substitution projects on the sectoral and macro level would challenge the justification of cooperation projects in agriculture as a whole.

AT Activities

Network on AT in Food Processing

Paris - In March, at the invitation of FAKT (Society for the Promotion of Appropriate Technologies in the Third World), the second meeting of the Network on AT in Food Processing was held in Paris, at the offices of TPA (Processing of Agricultural Products). Besides the two host organizations, SKAT (Swiss Centre for Development Cooperation in Technology and Management), ITDG (Intermediate Technology Development Group) and, for the first time, also GATE sent representatives to Paris to discuss the next steps to be taken in the Food Processing Network.

The main subjects of discussion were intensification of information interchange and possible areas of cooperation in the future network. In this context, GATE sees its role as promoting South-South information exchange, believing that this will bring the greatest possible benefit for its partners. A meeting of NGOs in Cameroon, in May, which was assisted by GATE, dealt with a similar central theme. The meeting was organized by the NGO APICA (Association for Promotion of Community Action).

The Food Processing Network was founded in September 1992 by the European NGOs ITDG, TPA, FAKT and SKAT, to establish a decentralized forum in which not only information can come together, but also food processing activities can be coordinated. Hence, even at the first meeting, the emphasis was on R & D and lobbying possibilities.

New Newsletter: AT-Forum

Glucksburg - AT-Forum is a new newsletter published jointly by three German organizations active on the AT"scene":

- the "AT-Verband" (AT Association), of Bonn, a consortium of smaller NGOs, consultancies and advisers working in Appropriate Technology;

- the artefact Centre for Appropriate Technology in Glucksburg, a mutual association which has set itself the aim of promoting appropriate technologies and environmentally compatible development in Germany and the Third World;

- the ARTES-Institut, which offers a two-year course at Flensburg leading to a Master's degree in

Rural Development and Appropriate Technology.

Initially, AT-Forum will be published twice a year, in English, and will be mailed free of charge to countries outside Europe. Address: ARTES P.O.B. 1214 D-24960 Glucksburg

Small-Scale Project Fund: Dialogue with GATE Partners

GATE has been running the project "Implementation of Small-Scale AT Measures" since the end of 1986. The project supports independent implementation of small-scale Appropriate Technology measures with a financial volume of up to DM 30,000.

However, the financial support is only one aspect of the project. GATE hopes to profit from this instrument to develop a direct dialogue with the respective partner organizations. In addition, GATE hopes for a mutual exchange of information and experience among the organizations, and is trying to establish this direct contact by supplying addresses of projects.

Because as a result of independent implementation of the various measures, all the experience is in the hands of the respective implementing agency.

Many applications also have to be rejected, however. Last year, out of a total of 66 applications received, more than half were rejected. Only 21 measures could be supported by the project. The most common reasons were the limited funds available for the project and the insistence on equal regional and sectoral treatment.

Development scene

BMZ Advisory Board Calls for"More Effective"
European Development Policy

Bonn - European development cooperation with the countries of the South must be made "more effective". Development aid given by the EC member states at present suffers from duplication of work, disputes over areas of responsibility, and slowness. This was the view expressed by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in a statement on the "Europeanization of development cooperation" issued in Bonn at the end of March. In the opinion of the 28 experts, efficiency can be increased by reorganizing the areas of responsibility of member states, EC bodies and UN organizations.

Future European development cooperation should complement national policies and be "integrated in international development aid efforts". Concerning areas of responsibility, the Advisory Board sees a main emphasis on "formulation of policy", i.e. in coordinating national policies and greater coherence between development cooperation and other policy areas such as foreign economic, agricultural and environmental policy.

According to the Board, in coordinating national development policies it is necessary to agree on common goals and harmonize procedures. The EC commission must introduce uniform tender regulations for the award of contracts for development aid projects and coordinate terms for debt remission or economic policy requirements. The Board regards common rules for project evaluation as being of "outstanding importance".

The Board also advocates that all developing countries should be treated equally (non-discrimination). In the medium term, this means abandoning preferential treatment of certain countries, e.g. the ACP states, in awarding funds. More stringent parliamentary control of decision-making structures is also demanded.

The tasks of the Community organs should continue to include political dialogue, disaster prevention and aid. With regard to the EC structural adjustment programmes, which have been in existence since 1990, the BMZ Advisory Committee suggests that the Community should forgo measures of its own as far as possible. Instead, it could co-finance programmes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which, it says, have meanwhile become "highly reputed".

The stabilization of export earnings (STABEX) should also be transferred to the IMF. The Advisory Committee suggests that the EC bodies should avoid co-financing of NGOs for the benefit of the member states.

Implementation of programmes and projects within the framework of jointly agreed development policy concepts should be the exclusive responsibility of the individual member states.

Inter-American Development Bank:
Fighting Poverty in Latin America

Hamburg - "The Eighties were the Lost Decade. The Nineties must go down in the history of development policy as the Social Decade." This was how the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Enrique Iglesias, formulated the aims of IDB policy, which were on the agenda at the IDB's Annual Conference in Hamburg at the end of March. Iglesias said there were three central tasks to be tackled in Latin America in the coming years - social reforms, the creation of a "new economic production culture" (with new management methods and the abandonment of centralistic, hierarchical structures), and the modernization of the state.

The increase in poverty in the 1980s, from 41 to 47 per cent of the total population of Latin America, was a cause for concern. The traditionally destitute had been joined by the "new poor" the victims of economic crises and structural reform, reported Iglesias. The former foreign minister of Uruguay has been in charge of the IDB since 1988, and was confirmed in office for a further five years at the beginning of 1993.

At the Hamburg conference there was a broad consensus that in the coming years the IDB should concentrate on reducing social inequality in Latin America. In particular, around half of all credits should be used in different forms to fight poverty At the same time, IDB plans to do more to promote projects aimed at improving the efficiency of government activity, e.g. introducing a more efficient taxation system to increase government revenue, with which social reforms can then be financed. The background to this is the concern that macro-economic successes and improvements in the direction of democracy will not be sustained in the long term if the living standards of the poorer sector of the population continue to decline. A strategy paper prepared jointly for the Annual Conference by the IDB and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) referred to the need to make up for "several decades of neglect", and demanded that social and development policy should at last be closely linked to one another.

As was expected, no new financing resolutions were passed at the conference. Since the US-Administration was not yet able to put a firm figure on the next increase in capital and replenishment of the bank's concessionary funds so soon after President Clinton's inauguration, the other donors also refrained from making any firm promises. The IDB would like to see its capital increased by at least 36 billion dollars, to 97 billion dollars.

This would enable it to maintain the allocation target for 1993 - 7 billion dollars - for the next few years. In the IDB's view, the special fund for the continent's poorest countries should be increased from two to three billion dollars (for four years). The State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ), Hans-Peter Repnik, elected to the post of Chairman of the bank's Board of Governors, also voiced support for a broader capital base for the IDB.

Bolivian President Jaime Paz Zamora campaigned in Hamburg on behalf of the "lndian Fund" which he himself founded. The purpose of this fund, based in La Paz, is to support projects aimed at promoting the rights and cultural identity of the approximately 40 million aboriginal Americans. With start-up capital of 2.5 million dollars from the IDB, the fund is as yet still underfinanced. According to State Secretary Repnik, the German government will examine possibilities for cooperation with the fund on a case-by-case basis for actual projects. Zamora stressed that with the Indian Fund it was a matter not only of money, but also of creating an information pool about the Indians' situation and improving communication between Indian peoples, foreign development aid organizations and the international solidarity movement.
Karin Adelmann

NGO Debt Remission Campaign Recalls
London Debt Agreement

Aachen - In a campaign to reduce the indebtedness of the Third World, German nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have reminded the world of the London Agreement on Debt, signed in 1953. A statement issued in Aachen by the Episcopal Charity Misereor said that the agreement, under the terms of which foreign creditors waived claims on Germany, could be taken as a model for resolving the Third World's debt crisis. Just prior to the annual general meetings of German commercial banks, the action group "Entwicklung braucht Entschuldung" (Development Needs Remission), which includes, besides Misereor, the North-South action group Germanwatch, the association "Weltwirtschaft, Okologie und Entwicklung" (World Economy, Ecology and Development WEED), Kindernothilfe (Save the Children) and other organizations, started an advertising campaign under the heading of "40 Years London Debt Agreement".

On May 11, the advertisement recalling the London debt accord forty years ago appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The signatories demanded that as in Germany's case - at least 50 per cent of the Southern countries' should be waived. The people of the Third World must not be denied the initial aid for democratic, independent development which was granted to Germany at the time, said the advertisement. "Equitable settlement and disencumbrance" were "necessary and possible". It stated that the German commercial banks had already written off 80 to 100 per cent of their claims against developing countries, with corresponding tax relief. It was now time to pass "the benefits" which earned the German banks "hard cash, and cost the German taxpayer hard cash" on to the poor countries of the South.

The advertisement appealed to the management and supervisory boards of the banks to reduce their claims by exactly the same amount as the allowance for loss made in respect of the countries in question. They should at least forgo the interest on credits which they were already able to write off with tax relief.

The signatories to the advertisement appealed to the German government and the Bundestag to pass tax legislation "to link tax benefits resulting from loss on claims with debt cancellation". At international level, a law of settlement must be passed which takes into account "in particular the true economic strength and the existing social and environmental conditions in a debtor country in negotiations with creators .

These demands are given concrete expression in the "Memorandum of non-governmental organizations on German debt policy towards the South". The paper, addressed to the federal government, the Bundestag and German banks, says that in value adjustments by the commercial banks the provision for contingent loan losses should only be recognized for taxation purposes if the debts were indeed cancelled within two years.

The NGO memorandum calls on the federal government to devise a comprehensive plan for a new form of debt management, aimed at achieving an overall political solution. All the South's development aid debts, all Hermes credits for the poorer countries and all claims assumed by the former GDR against Southern countries should be cancelled.

According to the World Bank report, the foreign debt of the developing countries is set to rise by US$ 100 billions in 1993, to over US$ 1.5 million millions. The debt service bill of the developing countries for 1992, estimated at more than US$ 160 billions, is "proof of an ongoing net capital transfer of over US$ 3.5 billions from the South to the North," reports Misereor. The cash crisis in the Third World, in many cases linked to "catastrophic economic, social and ecological conditions", demands, as urgently as ever, "a comprehensive, at last foreseeable solution ".

The North calling the tune.Cartoon: Dorsi Germann

The Centre for Our Common Future

"We are uniquely qualified to function as a clearing house after Rio" - is how the Centre for Our Common Future in Geneva confidently describes its own future.

Much has changed since last year's UNCED Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro - also for the "independent sector" i.e. the wide spectrum of social action groups and grassroots movements ranging from associations and church organizations through to private sector companies with an environmental mandate. The euphoria has worn off and work has to be redefined in many ways. The confidence that the Centre and its Director, Warren Lindner, have in their contribution to this process has grown from the important role already played both before and during Rio.

Based in the centre of Geneva in Palais Wilson, which was somewhat damaged by fire some years ago, the Centre was founded in 1988 to ensure that the findings of the Brundtland-Commission flow into the worldwide discussion on sustainable development. Since 1990, it has also developed into an independent liaison centre between the official UNCED discussion process and the independent sector and was a coorganiser, together with Brazil Non-Governmental Organizations, of the '92 Global Forum in Rio.

While Rio may not have changed the world, it has given birth to a mountain of promises, declarations of intent and agreements which now constitute the material for Governments, UN Organizations and Non Governmental Organizations to work on, in the so-called "UNCED follow up". A whole mass of material now exists on who is, or is not, doing what and how, on which subject of the UNCED's action program Agenda 21 or the conventions agreed in Rio. The Centre considers its focal task to be a clearing house for information to process this material for the independent sector, pinpointing trends and findings and publishing them in the quarterly Brundtland Bulletin and in the monthly information sheet Network 92. The Centre's publications reach some 100,000 readers.

Similar to her colleagues representing other non-governmental organizations, the spokeswoman of the Centre, Ellen Permato also deplores the fact that funds provided before Rio by several governments, the EC commission and the US American foundations have now been reduced in the aftermath. Scheduled activities such as intersectoral dialogues on central issues of sustainable development between leading thinkers of the independent sector, or networking with other institutions in order to intensify impacts and utilize resources more economically, will largely depend on new funding. The Centre for Our Common Future, Palais Wilson, 52 Rue des Paquis, CH-1201 Geneva, Tel. (4122) 732 7117, Lax (4122) 7385046.

Earth Council to Pursue Implementation
of Rio Resolutions

San Jose - As a primarily moral authority, the Earth Council plans to do everything in its power to ensure that the resolutions passed at the Earth Summit in Rio (UNCED) are implemented without delay. This is the aim embodied in the "Philosophy Statement" approved at a meeting of the Earth Council Foundation Committee held in March in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. At the meeting, the Committee also elected former UNCED General Secretary Maurice Strong chairman of the Council for three years. Alicia Barcena Ibarra, of Mexico, who was also involved in the preparations for the Earth Summit, was appointed Managing Director. Other leading figures from the non-governmental sector were appointed to the Council shortly after the meeting. The Earth Council's headquarters are in San Jose.

Contact address:
The Earth Council Foundation,
Apdo 2323-1002,
San Jose', Costa Rica,
Tel. {506) 233418. Fax 552197


Informal Financial Intermediaries

Hans Dieter Seibel: Self-Help Groups as Financial Intermediaries: A Training Manual for Self-Help Groups, Banks and NGOs.

Cologne Development Studies Vol. 16. Verlag Breitenbach Publishers, Saarbrucken 1992. CD-6600 Saarbrucken, Memeler Str.50 & Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33305, USA, P. O. Box 16243).

In most developing countries there are vast numbers of self-help groups (SHGs) acting as informal financial intermediaries. For millions of small farmers and microentrepreneurs - considered unbankable by formal financial institutions - SHGs are the only agencies with effective financial services at the grassroots level. Churches, foundations and other NGOs have played a prominent role in assisting SHGs.

In recent years deregulation has opened up new: opportunities. Some governmental aid agencies and NGOs have now entered into dialogue and cooperation to create a new framework for the development of SHGs als financial intermediaries: towards informal or semiformal cooperative financial institutions, small banks, or linkages with banks. In all three cases professionalization of SHG staff in financial operations has emerged as an urgent need.

The manual comprises 140 modules, addressed in three major parts at SHG management, bank and NGO staff, and policymakers. The approach to training is participative, with scope for trainers and participants to incorporate their own experience.

Environment Manuals

Bundesministerium fur wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit (BMZ): Umwelt-Handbuch. Arbeitsmaterialien zur Erfassung und Bewertung von Umweltwirkungen.

Vieweg, Braunschweig, Germany,1993. 1. Band: 591 S. ISBN: 3-528-02303-1. DM 118,-. 2. Band: 734 S. ISBN: 3-528-02304-X. DM 138,-.3. Band: 743 S. ISBN: 3-52802305-8. DM 138,-. (Verlag Vieweg, Postfach 300944, 51338 Leverkusen 3, Germany).

The three environment manuals are study materials for recording and evaluating environmental impact. The areas dealt with are 1) introduction, multisectoral planning, infrastructure; 2) agronomy, mining/energy, industry/trades; 3) a catalogue of environmentally relevant standards.

Ethnobiological Classification

Brent Berlin: Ethnobiological Classification. Principles of Categorization of Plants and Animals in Traditional Societies.

Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA. 1992. (Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, USA). 331 pp. ISBN: 0-691-09469-1. About 70 US$.

The author wants to present evidence in support of a number of widespread regularities concerning the categorization and nomenclature of plants and animals by peoples of traditional, nonliterate societies. His major claim is that the observed structural and substantive typological regularities found among systems of ethnobiological classification of traditional peoples from many different parts of the world can be best explained in term of human beings' similar perceptual and largely unconscious appreciation of the natural affinities among groupings of plants and animals in their environment.

Sustainable Development
Michael Carey, Ian Christie: Managing sustainable development.

Earthscan, London, UK 1992. 303 pp. ISBN: 1-85383-129-8. £ 12,95 (Earthscan Publication Ltd., 120 Petonville Road, London N1 9JN).

The book examines the managerial and organisational dimension of sustainable development. It analyses the challenges posed by environmental problems to political culture and organisational structure in industrial societies, and identifies the roots of ecological problems in our economic and social systems. New approaches are needed, and the authors identify the action-centred networks as a key innovation in environmental management.

Courses and meetings

Goats for Milk and Meat

Rosalee Sinn: Raising Goats for Milk and Meat. 5th Printing.

Heifer Project International, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, 1992. 140 pp. (Heifer Project International, P. O. Box 808, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203, USA).

The purpose of the training manual is to provide a guide to learning basic care and management of dairy goats. It is directed towards persons in rural development areas. Using the book the experience with and the observation of goats is important, because good management begins with basic knowledge and daily observation. Nevertheless most of the material in this manual is applicable regardless of location.

Soil Production

Carlo Ferruzzi: Manual de Lombricultura.

Ediciones Mundi-Prensa, Madrid, Spain, 1987. 138 pp. ISBN: X4-7114-161-2. (Ediciones Mundi-Prensa, Castello, 37, 28001 Madrid, Spain).

The book deals on nearly every aspect of the earthworm. The different chapters are about the animal itself, its handling, soil production, industrial potential, and enemies.

ISES Solar World Congress

23 - 27 August, 1993 Budapest, Hungary

The Congress is organized by the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), its Hungarian section and the Hungarian Solar Energy Society.

Details from:
Laszlo Imre, Technical University, 1521 BME Budapest, Hungary

The 3rd International IFOAM Conference Trade in organic Foods

7 - 9 September, 1993 Baltimore, USA Seminars, workshops and events focusing on issues in trade, marketing and distribution of organic foods. Sessions on international trade issues and regulations regarding organic trade in the European Community, North America, the Pacific Rim, Latin America.

Derails from: IFOAM c/o Okozentrum Imsbach D-6695 Tholey-Theley Germany Tel.: + 68535190 Fax: + 68530110

Biogas Technology

International Course 17 September - 22 October Olmotonyi, Arusha, Tanzania

The Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Rural Technologies (CAMARTEC) in cooperation with the Special Energy Programme (SEP) of the German Agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ) offer International Training Courses. The course contents: Introduction to Biogas Technology; plant design; the unit approach; the commercial/institutional plant socio-economic aspects; extension approach; site visits; site planing; construction of plants feeding on animal wastes; Construction of plants feeding on human wastes (Biolatrines); gas piping; operation and maintenance of plants; slurry utilization; after Sales services; contacts to potential customers. Invitations are extended to participants from Tanzania and all over the world where Biogas Technology is promoted or intended for promotion in the future. Language: English. Course fee 2,476 US-Dollars.

Derails from: Biogas Extension Service - CAMARTEC PO. Box 764, AR1USHA, TANZANIA Tel. No 057-8250, Fax No. 057-8250 WEEKDAYS After 16.00 HOURS, Telex: 42007 MAND

Renewable Energy - Clean Power 2001
17- 19 November London, UK

The International Conference will review the present position on renewable energy technologies, and will explore the policy aspects including the impact of electricity privatization, the value of increasing energy efficiency and financial implications. The Conference will cover the following topics: wind, tidal, medium and small scale hydro, wave power, geothermal, biomass and solar.

Derails from:
Conference Services IEE, Savoy Place London WC2R OBL, UK
Tel.: + 713445477
Fax: + 714973633

Note: Please order books, annoted in gate's "bookbox" directly from the publisher.

Gate publications

GATE/GTZ: Postbox 5180, D-65726 Eschborn. Publications with ISBN-Number may be ordered directly from: Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn GmbH, P. O. Box 300 944, D-51338 Leverkusen 3, Germany.

Eva Philipps: Documentation Made Easy.

GATE/Vieweg, Eschborn/Braunschweig 1990. 207 pp. DM 29,80. ISBN 3-528-02054.

The manual is intended for small libraries working in the field of appropriate technology and rural development. It is aimed primarily at readers with no previous experience in documentation. The manual describes in detail the basic techniques required in the setting up of a small library, such as cataloguing, classification, treatment of nonbook materials, layout and arrangement of a library etc. The appendix also contains a simple classification model (rural development classification) for small libraries working in the field of appropriate technology and rural development.

Documentation Made Easy is now available in Bahasa Indonesia and Thai language.

The Bahasa Indonesia version can be ordered from: Pusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Ilmiah (PDII-LIPI) P.O. Box 4298 Jakarta 12042 Indonesia Price: approx. RP. 3000

The Thai version please order from: Appropriate Technology Association/ATA 143/171-2 Pinklao Nakornchaisri Road Bangkok-Noi Bangkok 10700 Thailand Price: Baht 100