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Address: VITA 1815 North Lynn Street Suite 200 P.O. Box 12438 Arlington, Virginia 22209-3438 USA Telephone: 703/276- 1800 Telex:440192 VITAUI Cable: VITAINC
A group of scientists, engineers, and business people with a sense of social responsibility created VITA in 1959. It has grown into a major private, nonprofit organization that provides technical assistance to people and groups in more than 100 developing countries. With VlTA's technical assistance, people are able to use the skills and resources available to them to provide food, water energy, and shelter. VITA works with inventors, entrepreneurs, governements, and development organizations to develop and diffuse promising technologies.
The heart of VITA is a worldwide network of 4,000 engineers, business people, farmers, energy experts, and others who volunteer their know-how to help others. A technical staff works with these consultants to offer a wide range of services, which include by-mail problem solving and technology design, on-site consulting, project planning, feasibility studies, and publications preparation.
Services are offered in most technical areas, but emphasize smalland medium-scale technologies in the following fields: renewable energy applications, agriculture and food processing, water supply and sanitation, housing and construction, and small business development.
Individuals, institutions, and governments turn to VITA for technical information to solve common problems in developing countries. The information that is provided in response to specific requests is drawn from VlTA's 4,000 Volunteer experts. More than 2.500 requests are answered annually.
Each year VITA provides more than 150 technical consultancies and consultant name referrals to groups that need expert, on-site assistance.
Small Business Development
VITA conducts surveys to identify the range of technologies and development services needed in a given country or region. VITA also provides management and technical training, and works with business and community groups to develop commercially viable technologies.
VlTA's Information Resources Development Training Program is held twice a year. It is specifically designed to provide organizations and individuals with the skills to establish or operate a specialized informationhandling system. The program will soon include training in micro-computer applications for information processing.
Research and Development
VITA works internationally with researchers and engineers to develop or adapt technologies that do not require substantial capital or sophisticated support systems.
VITA distributes a variety of technical publications and manuals, both its own and those of others. VITA News, published quarterly, highlights information on a wide range of development activities around the world.
Fachstelle fur kontextgerechte Technik
7000 Stuttgart 1
For the time being the FAKT organisation (Fachstelle fur kontextgerechte Technik - Specialized Agency for Context-appropriate Technology), re-founded in September 1983, will be under the administration of Services Overseas (DU - Dienste in Ubersee), while decisions of an conceptual and organisational nature will be supervised by an advisory committee consisting of ten members. Apart from the four sponsoring bodies this committee will include representatives from the planning and principals department of AGKED (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Kirchlicher Entwicklungsdienst Church Development Service Workgroup) and other experts from the field of context-appropriate technology (returning fieldworkers, consulting engineers, universities and colleges, action groups etc.).
The principales underlying FAKT's work, and the programme covered by the concept "context-appropriate technology" can be summarized as follows:
- FAKT aims at developing and promoting alternative technologies which are appropriate to the relevant environment both in industrial countries and in the Third World. These technical solutions are to be mature and, wherever possible, competitive and practicable when contrasted with traditional processes. During the start-up phase, however, a certain degree of subsidization will be required.
Technical processes should not be promoted merely because they function or are economical. The social situation and the requirements of human beings must always be taken into account. Thus FAKT intends to examine the social, cultural, ecological and economic conditions under which the machines and processes are to be employed.
FAKT will do its best to accompany the processes it has decided as suitable and therefore recommended into the application phase, evaluating them and protecting them from being undermined by the forces of opposition. FAKT would like to co-operate with a world-wide network of comparable groups and institutions in order to exchange experience and publicize its own findings.
The fields in which FAKT is active are:
The discovery, adoption and improvement of already existent, known technologies, including the initiation and promotion of the development of functional prototypes, as well as the establishment and maintenance of contacts with partner organisations in the Third World and specialised institutions. The planning, supervision and, if required, execution and evaluation of important projects or programmes in co-operation with regional churches, AGKED and other church organisations and their partners, as well as with other suitable institutions and groups.
Advice for church aid and mission programmes .
Extending AGKED's existing literature and documentation service by making use of the centres already set up.
Assistance in training personnel to be sent abroad by the DU or other manpower agencies.
Evaluating the experiences of returning development-aid workers in order to improve the practical side of the development-aid services and to contribute towards the realisation of alternative technologies and production methods in our own society.
Co-operation with engineering consultants, action groups and other organisations doing practical, target-oriented work in the field of appropriate technology who are able to carry out commissions of this kind.
Assistance in an execution of development-related training schemes (e.g. DU's overseas register, accompanying programme and reintegration programme for students from developing countries).
The exploitation of financial resources available for the execution of projects or programmes.