|GATE - 4/92 - Networking: Lessons and Hopes (GTZ GATE, 1992, 56 p.)|
by Hannah Schreckenbach and Peter Baz
The term "network" is not new. We are living since decades with telecommunication networks, radio- and television networks, traffic networks and nowadays also with computer networks to mention just a few. In our media (newspapers, journals, radio, tv., etc.) we are confronted with an inflation of the conception "network".
Moreover, since some years now "networking" seems to be the "inthing" in development work across the globe. We have, however, not yet been given a satisfactory explanation as to what networks really are, and therefore what networking really means.
I shall not attempt to analyse the meaning of networking. As someone who is actively involved in the work of a professional advisory service and information network (BASIN) I would, however, like to present some thoughts about the networking concept.
Networking in development work is described:
· as an important instrument for
technical or other cooperation,
· as a tool for resource mobilization and information dissemination,
· as a structure of activities,
· as a channel for sharing experience and knowledge,
· as a new forum for the expression of democratic principles,
· as an impulse for social movements (self-organisation and self-help instead of dependency on outside sources).
It has also been described as a new fashion for "jet-setting".
To me as an architect a net or network resembles a structural element or a structure. As such it should be understood that each "member" within this structure fulfills an equal task. It is either the link in the network or the joint (joining the links together). Any "forces" (to speak again in structural terms) are transferred unobstructed through these joints in all directions to a base or support. A network therefore is constructed or put together for a specific purpose:
- it collects
- it catches
- it carries
- it spans over a distance
- it covers something.
In order to be able to do this, the distance between the joints of a network has to be carefully calculated so that the links are not overstretched. The links themselves have to be of a strong material which also allows a smooth flow of forces in all directions (again I am speaking in "structural" terms).
We have seen from a network "structure" that the joints have to be of equal strength and the links of equal length. Any network, be it for the exchange of information and experiences, advice, for resource mobilization, for research coordination, for lobbying, etc. should be based on the same principle. This is the point where most of the problems encountered with networking start, because in terms of " networking" this means "giving" and "taking" on equal terms. Only "taking" will inevitably result in a gradual weakening of the network and thereby add another "dead" network structure to those already existing.
On equal terms
A free flow of information, an exchange of experiences based on own development activities in the field, the organization of workshops, seminars, symposia, etc. all require the necessary infrastructure (communication), logistics and financial provisions. We can see that in most networks concerned with development work or activities the initiative or the initial setting-up has been arranged by one organisation in one country or by a regional set-up in a region (e.g. the SADDC-Region, Southern Africa) or through regional cooperation (e.g. APPROTECH Asia).
We have to be realistic enough to understand that there will always be some members of a network who are more active or have easier access to funding sources than the others. In the initial stages of setting-up a network this may even be necessary in order to demonstrate to the other network members the desired benefits. But these members should not dominate the others and in due course attempt to equalize the base on which the network structure works.
From our working experiences with a professional network I can say that a network must have:
· a clear organization
· a structure which is not dominated by one member
· a functioning centre for coordinating its activities (or each member of a network should be able to act as an efficiently and professionally managed coordination centre on behalf of the other members),
· a pragmatic working system (which is praxis-oriented, interdisciplinary, process-oriented),
· a secure and long-term funding source.
When looking at these requirements one can see that most networks have such a structure. They are therefore formal networks and institutionalized in one way or another, which gives their structure a good foundation or those particular joints at which the net holds together. Many other networks are based on a loose collaboration for the purpose of achieving their set objectives.
In either case necessary preconditions for effective and successful networking are:
· complete trust and mutual respect among the members and a willingness to cooperate with others on equal terms,
· equal sharing of responsibilities and workload (based on operational guidelines),
· equal access to funding sources,
· pragmatic and realistic approach to the implementation of network activities,
· a strong emphasis on South-South resource mobilization assisted by a North-South input and South-North collaboration.
Networking in development work takes time and moreover a personal engagement and commitment of those involved over the normal working hours for which in most cases no bill can be presented to anybody. Each note of appreciation from somebody for whom the services of a network have been useful, however, makes it all worth the time spent on it.
Since some years now "networking" seems to be the "inthing" in development work across the globe.
by Klaus Schmitt
GATE's international workshop on "AT in Post-Modern Times" brought together activists of the Appropriate Technology movement from 31 countries - a fitting context for debating the desirability of a global AT network. Klaus Schmitt summarizes the pros and cons.
At the second day of GATE's international workshop "AT in Post-Modern Times" in May 1992, ten participants from nine different AT organizations joined a working group on networking as a tool for cooperation and for increasing the relevance, impact and dissemination of Appropriate Technologies.
It became obvious that quite a variety of functions is assigned to networking, for example
- networking means to create a synergetic tool;
- networking serves to develop AT;
- networking helps exchange on experiences and discussions
- networking should be based on needs.
Based on the rich experience of her organization APPROTECH,
Lilia Ramos from the Philippines elaborated her understanding of a network as a "structure of activities carried out by users, beneficiaries, donors, institutions and developers":
"AT development is never finally done. It has to be continuously adapted to the needs and the culture of the users and relies heavily on their experience. Networking can provide a channel for sharing this experience and knowledge. Of the various possible levels of networking the most important is that which links users with developers of technology.
Synergy means that the total effect of things done together is greater than the sum of individual activities. This is achieved through pooling and sharing expertise and experience, beginning with specific programmes or issues and moving on to more general concerns. Environmental networks have gone far in this respect in recent years, but AT networks have also produced substantial results such as technology centers, information systems, and the promotion of enterprises. Synergetic effects also have been achieved in resource mobilization, both in terms of enhancing human resources and in terms of mediating between donors and community-based organizations.
Technology Transfer is facilitated through better flow of information, identification of technology sources, and evaluation of technology for better adaptation. South-South exchange as an important mode of technology transfer is effectively done through networks."
Most of the participants agreed with the positive evaluation of networking as a tool for resource mobilization, promoting and strengthening AT, and synergy. Some other purposes, functions and advantages were added in order to assess the desirability and viability of creating a new global AT network.
· Regarding resource mobilization, it was mentioned that some donors prefer to finance programmes of networks instead of small individual projects; a network could assign staff to maintain close contact with donors; projects and experiences of the members could be evaluated collectively.
· A particular role for the promotion and strengthening of AT was seen in the dissemination of information by a technical enquiry service and in intensified PR work through a new network.
· Synergy was expected to result from pooling expertise in joint databases, setting quality standards for members and guaranteeing the quality of their services.
· It was believed that technology development and transfer would become more effective through a network. Identifying needs, assessing technological options, spreading information through technical inquiry services, organizing communication channels and exchange programmes, and especially involving women in technology issues are of course not specific to networks only. But as these are tasks for every agency, the systematization and valorization of experiences in a network was considered important.
It was anticipated that an AT network of this kind would have
the following problems:
- spending limited resources on travel and communication;
- lack of outside points of view in an AT network;
- lack of common objectives and interests among the members;
- lack of finance;
- attempts to build a larger AT network might disturb existing efforts to form national or regional consortia;
- many networks do not work as intended, the synergy effect often gets lost.
Whether or not to set up a global Appropriate Technology network is currently a subject of intense debate. The author summarizes the discussion which took place at the international GATE conference in May this year. Synergy effects and the mobilization of additional funds are seen as advantages of a global network. The limited personnel resources of AT organizations and existing national, regional and sectoral collaboration are cited as drawbacks.
L'opportunite de la creation d'un reseau global de technologies appropriees souleve actuellement une vive polemique. L'auteur resumera la discusson au mois de mai, a l'occassion de la conference internationale GATE. La mise en place d'un reseau global aurait pour avantage d 'engendrer des effete synergiques ou de mobiliser des moyens financiers supplementaires. Les inconvenients evoques vent les capacites restreintes en personnel des organisations de technologies appropriees ainsi que l'existence de groupements nationaux, regionaux et sectoriels.
La cuestion de si se deberia fundar una red global sobre tecnologia adaptada, se discute controvertidamente. El autor resume la discusion durante la conferencia internacional GATE en el mes de mayo de este ano. Se consideran como ventajas de una red global posibles efectos sinergicos o la movilizacion de fondos suplementarios. Las limitadas capacidades personales de las organizaciones AT y las existentes fusiones nacionales, regionales y sectorales son enumeradas como desventajas.
No top priority?
Although previous discussions concerning networking had been quite intensive, another action oriented working group for discussing practical follow-up had only seven participants from four countries and six organizations. This seems to be symptomatic: networking is seen as potentially useful but not as the top priority for the work of most organizations.
The participants from the South were in a minority in this working group. - But those who participated had already been involved in networking on a national or regional level and strongly advocated it as an effort worth undertaking. Thus, while initiatives towards forming networks often seem to come from the North, it may be found that Southern organizations live up to the challenge and later on become strong supporters. This is exemplified by the history of TECHNONET ASIA, which grew out of a Canadian initiative and became one of the most impressive examples of networking to meet the needs of a number of Southern countries. Agencies from the North should nevertheless take care not to impose their views and to avoid unnecessary duplication of activities.
Purpose and realization
The issue of how a global AT network should operate was approached by collecting statements and ranking them according to their acceptability with the majority of participants.
· Purpose and functions of a global AT network
The network should
- operate as a co-ordinating unit but not become involved in
- conduct a survey of member activities and prepare a directory; associate North and South
- groups and invite donor agencies to participate in conceptualizing AT programmes;
- design a system for know-how transfer between members;
- use the media to promote the idea of AT.
· Rules for installation and operation
- Cost-effective and efficient utilization of resources must
guide all operations;
- The network should have very simple and flexible working rules;
- A participatory approach must be observed in all duties carried out;
- The tasks of the network should be reviewed once a year;
- Funding should come from the members and should be used to carry out tasks professionally.
· Proposals for realization
- No separate infrastructure operation and coordination should be handled by a small team at one member's office and results communicated to all members;
- A coordinating person or group should be appointed to operate the network and a committee to guide it;
- An advisory group or board should be set up to advise and approve programmes for action;
- Annual meetings or workshops should be organized for the members.
Majority for a global network
The action-oriented group recommended to the workshop (and to other AT groups not represented at the GATE conference) that a global AT network should be established. A plenary vote was recommended to see whether the idea was supported. It was suggested that if the vote was in favour a working group should be formed to pursue the setting up of the network. This group should start by addressing the following tasks:
- propose a charter for a global AT network and circulate it among existing networks;
- select an appropriate (international) event for meeting to consolidate agreements on procedures, ethics etc.;
- elect a Board to represent the network and select an organization to assume the role of a clearing-house.
The final vote on the desirability of establishing a global AT network was left to the workshop plenum. A chart had been prepared which offered five different options, ranging from strict refusal to active support. The vote yielded a slight majority (28:20) for creating the AT network.
Ten workshop participants declared their intention to work for the realization of a global AT network; they represent the following AT groups: Botswana Technology Center (BTZ), GTZ/GATE, CRT (Nepal), ATDA (India), APPROTECH ASIA, UNESCO Programme 2000+, CARDS (India), SIBAT (Philippines), SVITA (Thailand), SPATF (Papua New Guinea).
Of the many issues discussed during the four days of GATE's AT workshop in Frankfurt networking was among the most vigorously debated. But it was also the topic on which the most definite proposals for further cooperation emerged. Several workshop participants remained very critical towards a global AT network because of a variety of problems, such as lack of resources and common interests, domination of one group of agencies over others, etc. Others were not very enthusiastic about a global AT network but still thought it worth trying.
Successful networking requires active participation. More than 20 per cent of those who cast their votes are ready to contribute actively to the realization of the proposed AT network. Most of them have substantial experience in networking on a smaller scale and some even on quite a large scale record. These local and regional networks will continue to exist. Their purposes and functions are not identical to those of a global AT network. This does not mean a contradiction between the two levels of networking. Problems of differing interests are less likely to occur with the proposed AT network if it is properly understood as an upward integration of strong national organizations and regional networking structures.
by Bertus Haverkort, Laurens van Veldhuizen and Carine Alders
For the movement on Low-External-Input and Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA) networking is an important tool. During a workshop in the Philippines in March 1992, attended by some 40 participants from 23 countries, experiences in networking were evaluated. The authors summarize the lessons of this workshop.
The workshop was organized jointly by the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), World Neighbors and ILEIA (Information Centre for Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture, The Netherlands). The objective of the workshop was to make an inventory of experience in networking and to indicate ways in which networking could further enhance sustainable agriculture.
There are two main reasons why we feel that networking is important and should be given more attention. First of all, the approach to development is changing. Development activities used to be organised in a top-down way. There was little need for organisations at different levels, like grassroot, extension and research, to share experiences and give mutual support. Information supposingly trickles down from researchers to extension officers to individual farmers.
It becomes clear now, that this kind of information is too
general, may not be relevant, and
does not respond quickly enough to the changing environment farmers find themselves in. Emphasis is now rather on strengthening the capacity of farmers and communities to experiment, to become active developers and selectors of information they need. In other words, farmers, development organisations and researchers need to develop new technologies in a participatory way. For this approach, networking is a must.
Secondly, networking may be a tool to overcome major bottlenecks in developing Low-External-Input and Sustainable Agriculture. Some of these bottlenecks are related to agricultural development policies. These often still blindly favour agricultural intensification, where specialisation and high levels of external inputs are the keywords. They are mostly focussed on marketable and export commodities rather than on food crops for local consumption. Subsidies support the use of chemical farm inputs rather than at enhancing local biological and physical resources.
It is clear that a shift in these policies will not come automatically. An impact can only be made if farmers' groups, NGOs and research organisations work together. Here too, networking can play a major role. Other bottlenecks relate to development support organisations themselves. The tasks they face are manifold and complex. In the field of agricultural technologies they need to be aware of newly emerging technical and methodological possibilities to fit various local situations. They need skills in participatory methods of working with farmers. They must develop links with government agencies to obtain support for their field programmes and they have to follow national and international developments.
Rather than each individual organisation carrying out this great variety of tasks for themselves, cooperation should be sought. In a network, development organisations could combine strengths and divide tasks.
During the workshop, we used the following definition:
A network is any group of individuals and/or organisations who on a voluntary basis, exchange information or goods or implement joint activities and who organised themselves in such a way that the individual autonomy remains intact.
However, networks can have many different forms and use different procedures depending on the specific situation. The participants of the Philippine workshop represented a wide variety of network types. Formal and more informal networks were represented, some working on a local level while others having a more global orientation, some specialised in one issue while others focussed on sustainable agriculture in general. This allowed the workshop to explore the comparative advantages of and the complimentarily between these types of networks.
One of the management problems in networking: centralization. Illustration: Studio Driya Media/ILElA
The authors describe the experiences of networks in low-external-input and sustainable agriculture. In their view networking is essential to overcome information deficits. It is a means of establishing effective links between farmers, NGOs and researchers working in this field. According to the authors an important precondition for networking is precisely defined aims and a willingness to devote time and energy to the network at the expense of one's own programmes.
Les auteurs decrivent les experiences realisees avec des reseaux operant dans le secteur de l'agriculture ecologique. La formation des reseaux est indispensable afin de combler le lacunes existent au niveau de l'information. Des contacts effectifs peuvent ainsi etre etablis entre des paysans, des organisations non gouvernementales et des chercheurs actifs dans ce domaine. La formation d'un reseau est liee a deux conditions importantes, a savoir la determination precise des objectifs et la disposition a consacrer du temps et de l'energie au reseau, au detriment des propres programmes.
Los autores describer las experiencias de redes pare la agriculture ecologica. La creacion de redes seria una necesidad absolute pare salver deficites de informacion. De este modo se crean contactos eficaces entre agricultores. Organizaciones no gubernamentales e investigadores activos en este campo. Condicion previa esencial pare la formacion de redes seria la determinacion precise de los objetivos asi como la disposicion a sacrificer pare la red tiempo y energias en detrimento de programas propios.
Hierarchical differences: Membership disparity. Illustration: Studio Driya Media/ILElA
Paving the way
Networks are emerging at all levels at rapid speed. Although this is a positive process, it is realised now that one needs to spend some time defining the network's objectives before jumping into large-scale structures and activities. In some cases, the network organisers may have a clear vision of their objectives, but have not formally articulated or communicated these objectives to other participants in the network. The result is that the network has a difficult time in determining its direction or activities, lacks a unifying theme and cannot sustain the interest of its participants.
Based on experiences of workshop participants, a number of questions could be formulated which need to be answered before a network is started. These include:
· Are there concrete common problems and constraints faced by potential members and are they aware of these?
· Are there relevant results/experiences that could be shared?
· Do potential members have a good idea of what a network is and what it would mean to them?
· Are they prepared to spend the necessary time and energy in sharing and networking at the expense of their own programmes?
· Is there an atmosphere of openness among potential members which allows them to admit mistakes and learn from them?
Only when the initiators have taken these issues into consideration, the development of a network can proceed.
Based on the experiences of recently established networks the workshop succeeded in defining important elements in a methodology for building strong, independent field-based networks. For anyone who takes the initiative for such a network, a crucial first step would be to look already in this stage for partners, other interested parties to "carry" the process. It means that some form of initiating group is formed, an adhoc committee with representatives of different organisations, NGOs, and individuals. In order to allow the committee to do their preparatory work, they may need assistance from a support organisation which could make some seed money available to cover travel and communication costs, as well as costs for the constituting meeting of the network.
This ad-hoc committee should start with an inventory of the felt need for a network and of the available experience and expertise. On the basis of this inventory, a register of organisations with experience in the field of LEISA could be made, the problems experienced by them could be inventorised and the feasibility of a network be analysed. In fact, even where a network did not come off the ground, the register continues to be an important source of information.
A statement of intent for a possible network would then be formulated by this committee to be presented to potential members at a constituting meeting. The meeting, should agree on the intention, objectives, structure and activities of the network. For implementation of activities and the necessary financial resources networks should always first mobilise and use the capacities, experiences, and funds from member organisations. Only where this would not be sufficient, additional structures like a network secretariat, could be established and funding proposals be forwarded to donor agencies.
Of course this is not a blueprint on how to start a network, nor should a starting network be too formalised, but it does show the importance of a careful, step-by-step development of the network. Experience has also shown that face-to-face contact is crucial in building a network. Well designed and managed workshops will therefore often be a central network event. Some very effective networks are nothing more than a series of such workshops.
Networks are emerging at all levels at rapid speed. Although this is a positive process, it is realised now that one needs to spend some time defining the network's objectives before jumping into large-scale structures.
Illustration: Studio Driya Media/lLElA
Facing the problem
The problems encountered in networking are mostly closely connected to either structure, its management, resources and monitoring and evaluation. Farmer-based networks for example often face the need for informal structures with flexible activities at village level. NGO networks on the other hand struggle to develop clear criteria for membership; on the one hand, anyone who wants to contribute seems to be welcome; on the other hand there is the need for a joint vision and mission to maintain network coherence.
In managing networks the key challenge is to maintain a balance between coordination and pooling of resources on the one hand and promoting decentralisation and maintaining active involvement and commitment of members on the other. To find this balance, rotation of leadership is considered important to avoid monopolisation and concentration of knowledge and power. The internal processes of management should be evaluated periodically, preferably with the help of outsiders.
For any network to be operational, resources would be required, like funds and, what's more important, time from members. Often it is felt that network activities compete for time with members' own activities. This situation could be prevented by making sure that network activities clearly serve the actual needs of members and their programmes.
So far, most networking experiences have been based on trial and error. Although a lot of lessons can already be formulated, networking can be done on the basis of a blueprint. Continuous monitoring and evaluations are therefore essential. The workshop developed some first guidelines.
Strengthening the movement
The discussion on the role of networks to enhance LEISA does and should not stop at the closure of the workshop. The workshop therefore formulated several recommendations to improve networking for low-external-input and sustainable agriculture and its key activities. Among others it was recommended that the evolution for farmer based networks should be promoted and ways of linking different types of existing networks should be studied. Management capacities for networking should be strengthened by promoting inter-network visits, developing a resource book and organising training courses. Support organisations should also get together to study their possible role in further enhancing networks. Other recommendations referred to the role networks should play in areas like marketing of LEISA produce, training, and advocacy and policy dialogue.
Task forces were initiated to start working on each group of recommendations. Each task force consists at least of several participants to the workshop from different parts of the world, but others have joined afterwards for their specific interest.
The workshop generated of course much more detailed information on experiences of networks, on the problems they faced and the solutions they found. Part of this information is published in a special issue of the ILEIA Newsletter "Let's work together". This also contains a complete list of papers of workshop participants. To obtain more information, please contact the authors at ILEIA.
ILEIA Newsletter Vol. 8 No. 2(1992). ILEIA, RP. Box 64, 3830 AB Leusden, The Netherlands. Fax: + 31 (0) 33940791 Telex 79380 ETC NL
2) Nelson, J. and Farrington J. (1992). Information Exchange Networking for Agricultural Development: A review of concepts and practices ODI, London United Kingdom (draft).
The West Africa Animal Traction Network is an open network of people from various backgrounds interested in animal traction. An informal to semi-formal structure has been found to be most effective, without a permanent secretariat or even a newsletter. Although networking takes place in various forms, workshops are a key activity.
The workshops of the West Africa Network are organized every two years. The number of participants increased from 73 in 1988 to 93 in 1990. To date, network workshops have been attended by over 200 people. Furthermore, the workshops have directly stimulated the preparation and publication of over 140 papers covering a wide variety of issues and experiences concerning animal traction in different farming systems and related research, development, extension, training.
The workshops have proved extremely popular, and participants have considered them interesting, helpful and professionally valuable. Participation is always open to all those working in the field of animal traction, in West Africa and elsewhere. This open approach has encouraged a broad range of people to attend. The workshops have been thoroughly multidisciplinary with agricultural engineers, economists, animal scientists, agronomists, sociologists and other professions all coming together. Diversity has also been achieved in terms of participants' professional fields, with researchers, extensionists, administrators, producers and donor representatives all closely interacting.
Without doubt, the most popular elements of each workshop have been the field visits. People who have been to conferences where the field visits have involved large groups slowly straggling around research sites may be surprised at this. But these popular network field visits were in small groups of 5-8 people from different countries, who went to villages to watch work animals in use and to discuss directly with farmers. Such in-depth talking with farmers has often been a new experience for participants. They have often felt free to ask farmers questions they would never dare to ask in their own countries, for fear that their juniors would laugh at them. In the day following the field visits, the small groups sat down to discuss in detail their observations and findings, and to discuss also specific workshop themes highlighted in the lead papers. The groups then reported back to all the other participants, in preparation for open discussion on the key issues raised. The small group discussions have proved almost as popular as the field visits.
The workshops also provided an opportunity for a network business meeting, to discuss plans for the network, and elect a new steering committee to supervise the forthcoming programme. The proceedings of each workshop have subsequently been attractively published to act as regional resource documents on animal traction.
Address: Oxygate 64 Northcourt Avenue Reading RG2 7HQ United Kingdom.
by Thomas Scheutzlich and Reinhold Metzler
The MHPG (Mini Hydro Power Group) is a group without formal structure pooling experience and know-how beyond institutional boundaries for the benefit of micro and mini hydro programmes in developing countries.
MHPG actively monitors new developments in hydro technology both in Europe and around the world. This allows to disseminate the state of the art, and to make an effective contribution to the implementation of projects.
MHPG offers a Technical Enquiry Service for all institutions, organizations and individuals having questions related to mini and micro hydro power development. This service is being financed by the GTZ/GATE-ISAT project.
The comprehensive know-how of the group covers to a large extent the information needed. Whenever necessary, access to specific expertise can be arranged.
MHPG members are linked to documentation systems, allowing access to their experience in the field of mini and micro hydro power. Specialized libraries on hydro power have been built up and are kept up-to-date. They serve as an information base for visitors and the Technical Enquiry Service. Management of most of the documentation systems is entirely computerized and selective bibliographical printouts can be routinely provided on request. MHPG provides drawings and design packages for mini and micro hydro power components as well as training and software-packages for planning and implementation.
It is the aim of the group not only to facilitate access to proven technologies but also to initiate and support processes of technology transfer wherever possible.
The initiative of forming such a networking group came from FAKT (Fordergesellschaft fur angepasste Technik, Stuttgart) in 1988 when the edition of a publication called "Hydronet" was started. "Hydronet" is a newsletter for the interchange of information, publication of worldwide local experience and reports on successes and difficulties in project and programme implementation.
With the involvement of other European organizations dealing in mini and micro hydropower like SKAT (Swiss Centre for Appropriate Technology and Management, St. Gallen), ITDG (Intermediate Technology Development Group, U. K.) and GATE. "Hydronet" quickly developed into an international platform where experience, opinions and know-how related to micro and mini hydropower development are published and fruitfully interchanged. The editorial committee of "Hydronet"-today consisting of GATE, FAKT, SKAT, ITDG, Project-Consult (Konigstein, Germany) and PPL (Projekt-Planung-Lauterjung, Germany) formed the nucleus of which MHPG was born as an European micro hydropower network.
"Hydronet" is, therefore, a tool for international cooperation. It offers information on new developments in hydropower as well as basic information on standards.
"Hydronet" is open for everybody to make comments, contributions, and to ask questions. Hydronet gains its quality from the response of the readers.
Since 1990, "Hydronet" got a twin brother, the Spanish edition called "Hidrored" which quickly grew up to an equally important publication in Latin America. "Hidrored" is jointly edited and published in Lima/Peru by ITDG and PROMIHDEC (Programma de Minicentrales Hidroelectricas y Desarollo Energetico en Cusco). The "Bahesa Indonesian" version of Hydronet is in the planning phase. An editorial committee in Jakarta has started its activities.
Since 1986, 4 Training courses in mini and micro hydropower development were organized by SKAT for trainees from all over the world who are involved somehow in the planning, execution and operation of hydropower schemes.
The 15 - 20 participants of different countries from Asia, Africa and Latinamerica, were trained for 4 weeks in Switzerland in theory and praxis of mini and micro hydro power schemes, project planning, management and development as well as in the elaboration of case studies. An one week excursion to interesting micro and mini hydropower sites in Switzerland rounded up the picture the participants obtained during the course.
In 1992, for the first time the training course was jointly carried out by the members of the MHPG network.
The course took place in Switzerland, utilizing the interesting facilities the training and demonstration hydropower station in Churwalden offers for such events.
The trainers of the '92 course came from the MHPG-members FAKT, ITDG, PPL and Projekt Consult and worked free of charge. This networking activity resulted in a cost reduction from approx. 8,500 s. F. to 5,000 s. F. for each participant, which represents a drop of costs of approx. 40%.
MHPG - Publications
The MHPG-Series "Harnessing Water Power on a Small Scale"is edited under the label of MHPG. The series started with the volume "Local experience with micro-hydro technology" in 1985 and was first edited and published by SKAT.
The series resumes the experience made by the involved parties in numerous programmes, projects and aims at covering the know how in all aspects of micro hydro power development.
In the meantime, 11 volumes have already been published or are in preparation to be published in 1992 of which the last 5 volumes are published under the MHPG label. The series is now edited and published by two different publishers in Switzerland and Germany having, however, the same layout indicating that this is a MHPG publication.
GATE and SKAT are working closely together in order to maintain the same layout of these publications. The series will be continued reporting present experience.
The Mini Hydro Power Group (MHPG) is made up of European AT organizations. The group's technical journal >Hydronet< is also published in a Spanish edition (>Hidrored<), with the emphasis on Latin America. MHPG coordinates training, information supply and documentation and makes technical drawings and construction plans for micro-hydropower plants available to those interested in the technology.
IT Publications of ITDG is publishing its own series of publications dealing with hydropower technology. However, a complete "Micro Design Manual" has been published by IT Publications in association with MHPG.
However, not all the initiatives taken by the Mini Hydro Power Group have been crowned with success. In June 1991, for example, at a conference of mini-hydropower experts in Cusco, Peru, great enthusiasm accompanied the founding of ALAHIDRO (Asociacion Latinoamericano de Pequenas Aprovechamientos Hidroenergeticos). But the network never became active despite several stimuli from organizations in other regions, and in particular from the periodical Hydronet/Hidrored. One of the reasons for this failure (at least so far) was a lack of funds. Meanwhile, revival attempts have been started both from within and outside the network.
Le Mini Hydro Power Group (MHPG) se compose d'organisations europeennes de technologie appropriee. Ce groupe public une revue technique (>Hydronet<) qui est egalement editee en espagnol (>Hidrored<) et qui se consacre tout particulierement a l'Ameriparties in numerous programmes, projects and aims at covering the know-how in all aspects of micro hydro power development que latine. Le MHPG se charge de la coordination entre la formation, l'information et la documentation et met a la disposition des personnel interessees des dessins techniques et des plans de constructions pour des centrales hydro-electriques de tres petite taille.
El Mini Hydro Power Group (MHPG) consta de organizaciones europeas sobre la tecnologia adaptada. El grupo publica una revista tecnica (>Hydronet<) que tambien se edita en castellano (>Hidrored<) con enfoque especial de America Latina. MHPG coordina la formacion professional, la informacion y documentacion, y tambien pone a disposicion de personas interesadas los dibujos tecnicos y pianos de construccion pare centrales hidroelectricas de dimensiones minimas.
The MHPG network is jointly financed by international donor
agencies like GTZ/Germany, DEH/Switzerland and the German Protestant Church
Organisation "Bread for the World". Parts of the network's activities are also
financed by own resources of its members. For the future, the MHPG network is
seeking cofinancing from other international organisations in order to widen the
international base of its supporters.
MHPG Contact Address: R. Metzler, Stephan-Blattman Str. 11, D-7743 Furtwangen, Germany Phone: + 49 7723 4459, Fax: +49 7723 5373
by Approtech Asia Secretariat
The Asian Alliance of Appropriate Technology Practitioners (APPROTECH ASIA) includes 18 full and 20 associate member organizations in nine countries in South and South-East Asia. Networking activities, through linking for information and technology training and transfer, catalyze the use and adoption of appropriate technologies.
During the last two decades, appropriate technology (A.T.) has emerged as an innovative development strategy increasingly espoused and practiced by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and private voluntary organizations (PVOs) in Asia.
During a conference of Asian appropriate technology practitioners held in Bangkok in 1980, the relative success achieved by these A. T. groups and practitioners were spotlighted. It was observed that many NGOs in Asia have effectively improved the lives of the poor and have developed and applied appropriate technologies, products, and systems in their work. What was missing was an intermediary organization to band these NGOs and their experiences together, to strengthen their indigenous capabilities and mechanism, and to serve as a conduit of funds and resources from international organizations. This observation provided the inspiration to the formation of an institutional networking and cooperation.
APPROTECH ASIA (AA) or the Asian Alliance of Appropriate
Technology Practitioners was thus born out of this need and a shared vision to
unify and strengthen the many but scattered efforts of development workers to
help Asia's poor. The 1980 gathering laid the foundation for AA's establishment;
the foundational pillars consist of networking, cooperation and sharing. The
participants prepared a plan of action which conceived the Alliance of
institutions, both formal and non-formal, and of individuals to be at the
forefront in mobilizing people, resources and techniques that respond to
socio-economic needs of their respective countries.
With the organisational structure in place, AA's goals took shape:
· To aggregate regional A. T. experience, expertise, and resources for wider use and application.
· To encourage a sense of community among A. T. practitioners
· To demonstrate indigenous capacity of local grassroots to identify essential development issues and constraints, and to apply appropriate solutions.
In 1991, the goals of the Alliance were further honed:
- To promote and facilitate the exchange and transfer of appropriate technology with international understanding and cooperation;
- To stimulate and facilitate the discussion and promotion of sustainable development issues and policies among policy makers and social development practitioners; and
- To strengthen and develop networking strategies and mechanisms for international cooperation and sharing.
The Alliance is collectively realizing these goals through the following program thrusts:
· A. T. development and dissemination through development and transfer of new and existing technologies;
· A. T. training and promotional services through seminars and workshops, exchange programs and publications and other media support materials;
· information systems development through information management capability and communications networking;
· membership development through management capability building and institutional development; and
· consultancy Services through
provision of expertise in A. T. development and transfer.
Approtech Asia has grown through 11 years of networking and regional cooperation. Its vibrant network includes 18 full and 20 associate member-organizations in nine countries in Southeast and South Asia with a combined development experience of more than 400 years.
Approtech Asia members and development partners possess extensive hands-on organizing and implementing experience in the Third World. Sensitive to the unique community and environmental needs of the region, they have created and managed opportunities. In the process, they have also adopted workable approaches and designed effective systems in the Third World context. Individually or collectively, the network tightened the bond among members in pushing for common interests like A. T. advocacy, promotion and transfer:
Some of the areas of concern of the members include:
- Rural Development
- Enterprise Promotion and Development
- Rural Industries
- Social Forestry
- Aquatic Development
- Integrated Food Processing
- Women in Science and Technology Development
- Water Supply and Sanitation
- Slum Development
- Low-cost Housing
Approtech Asia's network provides visible channels for sharing vast and rich experiences of users and practitioners of appropriate technology. Its network links developers and users involved in various phases of development, testing and transfer of various technologies. It has a network of experts who can provide on-site and on-the-spot assistance in several specialized areas or types of technology.
In disseminating technologies, Approtech Asia selects members from its network who have the proven expertise, advance knowledge or important resource in a specific field. Technology transfer through consultancy or hands-on training for a recipient organization proceeds more efficiently. Follow-through activities are likewise provided by the Alliance through consultancy, information exchange and technology assessment.
One of the Alliance's strategy of technology dissemination is the South-South Exchange Program. Under the program, AA sources technologies that have been developed, adopted and/or tested then organizes staff study visits of members in host sites of A. T. projects of member-organizations, NGO affiliates or research institutions within the sphere of the Alliance.
For the past ten years, technologies developed and transferred through the intervention of the Alliance include integrated farming systems, food processing, microenterprise development schemes, sustainable agricultural systems, agroforestry systems, solar energy artificial reef and marinelife aggregating and others.
The Third World A. T. Exchange Program, another AA networking activity, is much broader in scope. The horizon for A. T. in developing countries covers the collaboration of two Third World networks - the African Association of Literacy and Adult Education (AALAE) based in Nairobi, Kenya and the Latin American Council of Adult Education (LACAE) based in Santiago, Chile.
The program opens the door to AA members in observing and studying popular and creative technologies developed in other Third World countries while bringing samples of their appropriate technologies to African and Latin American communities who, in turn, may need them.
A. T. Promotional Services Through Networking: Approtech Asia's promotional services popularize the integration of appropriate technology as a guiding strategy and philosophy when network members and other A.T. groups formulate their own development schemes.
This is done through actual, person-to-person exchanges and similar fore where sharing of insights, experiences and lessons takes place. Similar exchanges occur in international technology fairs, scientific expositions and assemblies where AA is represented. South-South dialogues further serve as vehicles for person-to-person exchanges. Workshops for members are held to hone their skills and upgrade their capabilities in economic activities in Asia.
Publications and audio-visual productions occasionally showcase documented A. T. experiences and programs that enrich and stimulate discussion among groups in the network. The informal networking and bond among participants in training, conferences or seminars are professed to be the most fruitful results of these activities.
Technology Transfer Through Networking: Networks can hasten the flow of technology transfer to users. Networks can help constituents identify sources and developers of technology.
Exchange and technology transfer programs are ongoing. Network reach extends all the way from NGO workers to technology developers to grassroots leaders from different mechanism for the development, countries in absorbing technology inputs on food processing, housing technology and enterprise, water and sanitation, agroforestry techniques.
Face-to-face interaction among organizations deepens the sociocultural understanding of each other's countries. This insight then enriches their capability to fine-tune hardware or software so that it is more applicable or suited to individual countries' uniqueness:
Promoting Environmental Concerns Through Networking. Regional and international networking of which the Alliance is actively cultivating is strongly characterized by environmental concerns wedded to appropriate technology. Its promotion of sustainable development through A.T. unequivocably supports a stable ecological system in the region. This is being pursued through the Southeast Asia Consortium on People's Participation in Environmentally Sustainable Development composed of three Asian regional networks and four national coalitions. The Consortium aims to galvanize national coalitions of grassroots organizations as vanguards of the environment and sustainable development.
Close linkages have also been established with regional networks and region-based international agencies for collaborative programmes in common areas of concern, particularly in programs with technology components.
APPROTECH ASIA links 38 organizations in south and south-east Asia. Since 1980 there has been a lively interchange of information on technologies in fields as diverse as water supply, renewable energies, food processing and sustainable agriculture. The network links the developers and the users of the technologies. Through APPROTECH's cooperation with other NGO networks its members' problems are widely publicized.
APPROTECH ASIA relic entre elles 38 organisations du Sud et du Sud-Est asiatique. II existe depuis 1980 un echange actif en matiere de technologies, notamment dans le domaine de l'approvisionnement en eau, des energies renouvelables, du traitement des produits alimentaires et de l'agriculture ecologique. Les createurs et les utilisateurs de ces technologies vent relies a ce reseau. Les requetes presentees par les membres d'APPROTECH trouvent ainsi un large echo grace a la cooperation avec d'autres reseaux d'ONG.
APPROTECH ASIA reune 38 organizaciones en Asia del sur y del sudoeste. Desde 1980 tiene lugar un vivo intercambio sobre tecnologias, entre otros en el campo del abastecimiento en aguas, de energias recuperables, procesamiento de productos alimenticios y agriculture ecologica. Desarrolladores y aplicadores de las tecnologias forman parte de la red. Mediante la colaboracion con otras redes NGO, las demandas de los miembros de APPROTECH son ampliamente divulgadas.
Results of Networking
1. Networking has become Approtech Asia's strategic
transfer and promotion of appropriate technologies. Networks provide channels for the sharing of experiences of A.T. users and practitioners with those who wish to build upon them and evolve better and more relevant technology. Networking activities, through linking for information and direct technology training and transfer, catalyzes the adoption, use and evaluation of the technology.
2. A.T. networking has widened avenues of acceptance and redefined the scope of donor countries' official development assistance from their traditional confines. A milestone achievement, Approtech Asia broke new grounds as the first NGO to be directly funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for its Third Country Training Program. AA received a grant for a month-long "Regional Orientation Course on the Principles and Practices of Appropriate Technology Development" which will be held yearly in the next five years.
3. Through networking with other Asian NGO networks such as the Asian NGO Coalition (ANGOC), Asian Cultural Forum on Development (ACFOD), and Development Innovations and Networks (IRED), Approtech Asia has come closer, even face-to-face, with its Asian publics. Approtech Asia also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japanese NGO Center for International Cooperation JANIC) to provide information and facilitation services regarding NGOs and appropriate technology in Japan and the Asian region.
4. Active immersion to regional or international fore has thrown Approtech Asia into the forefront of advocacy for relevant science and technology in Asia. It has displayed useful technologies in water and sanitation, food processing, non-conventional energy systems and others in the "Technology for the People Fair", an international trade exhibit in Manila. Lectures given by AA representatives drew attention to technology-focused programmes that have acquired an "Asian face" - with Asian needs, culture and resource in mind.
5. In its promotional and networking activities, the Alliance has assumed a visible advocacy role. The 1989 "Environment and Development Conference" which was organized by Approtech Asia in Indonesia, for instance, publicly issued a Statement of Concern committing the AA membership to pursue ecologically sustainable development through A.T. The Alliance enjoined governments as well in providing policy and political support for sustainable development efforts especially in Asia. In 1991, the Alliance and its two other partner-networks, the Asian NGO Coalition (ANGOC) and the Asian Forum for Development (ACFOD) and national network partners sponsored the "Southeast Asia Regional Consultation on a People's Agenda for Environmentally Sustainable Development: Towards UNCED and Beyond" wherein the participants forged their common positions on the vital issues of development and environment, as the Southeast Asia regional input to the global UNCED-related debates.
Information is the most vital component of development. Assistance directed to poor communities will remain stunted if information on available technologies is restricted or not within the easy reach of development workers. As such, Approtech Asia ensures a steady flow and exchange of information among its members, other NGOs and partner-organizations.
Most of the exchanges occur during conferences, workshops or meetings where members share information to fellow members. At the same time, each member is required to furnish the Approtech Asia Secretariat and other members as well with all the data and communication materials that they generate and produce. The Secretariat then consolidates these informations and selects the most appropriate ones for circulation to all the members.
The Alliance regularly releases publications to share indepth information on technology and development with its members and the wider audience on development institutions, NGO networks, donor agencies and governments. It currently publishes Approtech News, Diviner News, and Ecology Express to an increasing circulation in the region. Also within the scope of its publications are books, proceedings of training seminars, workshops, fore and exchanges for AA members and other interested NGOs.
Information and communication materials are transmitted through various means: letter post, telex, telegram, telephone and lately the facsimile (fax) transmission. Although these modes of information exchange have been ongoing for awhile and have been proven effective in the past, Approtech Asia deems it necessary to embark on formal networking with the use of the latest and more sophisticated technology - the electronic mail (E-mail). Recently installed at the Secretariat, E-mail system is now widely promoted among members for faster and more accurate flow of information.
Approtech Asia Information System on Water and Sanitation
Approtech Asia is now setting up the Diviner Information System that will generate, process, store, access and disseminate information on water and sanitation.
To develop and test this computerized information linkage, AA has selected seven national and provincial NGOs from India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. These NGOs form the nucleus of the network that will undertake collection, processing and dissemination of four types of information dealing with water and sanitation: literature, projects, experts and institutions.
· National focal points and their provincial NGO counterparts either collect existing information or generate new information.
Once the information is in, these NGOs then process them into the computer database using standard software program. The network participants send (in diskettes) the raw data they have gathered to the regional coordinating center (AA Secretariat) every quarter. The Secretariat, on the other hand, consolidates all the information and then disseminates them in various forms to members and other interested institutions. The database is also accessible to all members.
· Once the system is completely installed and fully operational, all Approtech Asia members will be included in the network. This project envisions the development and institutionalization of the information system that will serve not only the water and sanitation services but other development concerns of NGOs as well.
The Diviner Information System will eventually link with other regional and international networks that also deal with water and sanitation.