|Small-Scale Horn Processing (ILO - WEP, 1988, 104 p.)|
The countries of the Third World are engaged in a fierce struggle on all fronts to achieve self-reliant, harmonious and balanced development. In this struggle, there is an urgent need for them to exploit their natural resources to the full. This cannot be done, however, unless the methods and means of exploiting them are rationalised by a general command of technology that will enlist the active and effective participation of the population, thereby equipping society as a whole to move forward and creating the internal dynamic for an authentic process of development.
The new techniques play a fundamental role in the process of development as they generate the innovations without which the economies of the developing countries are likely to remain in a fragmented and precarious state for a long time to come for lack of effective training that could inject true dynamism into development.
The modern techniques made available by the developed countries have merely been superimposed on traditional techniques in an artificial and insular fashion without any attempt to penetrate and activate them so as to give rise to training and to the creation of poles and foci of authentic development. As a result, the traditional techniques have remained static and archaic, following procedures based on routine, tricks of the trade and rule of thumb with no recourse to scientific know-how or methods. These techniques are not without interest but must nevertheless be rethought in terms of an appropriate technology that is acceptable to and can be assimilated by the people as a whole in an innovative technological leap forward.
Horn is a high-quality raw material that is abundant in Madagascar, which can boast of having one zebu per inhabitant as others would speak in terms of cars or television sets per household. The possibilities of this raw material have long been neglected in favour of plastics, which horn could advantageously replace in a number of everyday utilitarian or decorative objects that do not require much mechanical strength.
Moreover, horn working is a many-sided technique comprising a number of crafts that can lead to a sound division of labour in the organisation of production.
The project for developing this craft, now being carried out at the Malagasy National Craft Centre (CENAM), has attempted to describe the different techniques of horn processing in this manual on the technology of the craft. The manual is the result of collaboration between high-level technicians and small-scale artisans, who have worked together to rationalise the traditional techniques so as to develop an appropriate technology that will eventually lead to product standardisation.
This publication, and the idea that inspired it, could be a starting point for other constructive and fruitful meetings and could furnish a model for the popular mastery of horn technology. It is, in this sense, a useful innovation. It will not, of course, be directly addressed to the majority of horn workers, but in any case it should encourage technicians to develop simple manuals for use by the artisanal sector.
We are particularly grateful to the promoter of this work, the development project for Malagasy crafts, to the Norwegian Government which helped to fund it, and also to Mr. Randriamihajamanana Thomas, an artisan in horn, who was kind enough to unveil and explain its secrets for posterity.
Director General of Planning,
Chairman of the Administrative Committee of the Malagasy National Craft Centre