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Questions-Answers-Information No. 4/96
October - December 1996


GATE is not only the name of this quarterly. It also stands for German Appropriate Technology Exchange. GATE was founded in 1978 as a special division in the government-owned Deutsche Gesellschaft fhnische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), German Agency for Technical Co-operation.


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 utilisation 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 focuses its work on the following areas:

· Technology Dissemination: Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology (ISAT) provides a wide range of information and consultancy services relating to every aspect of adaptation and dissemination of technologies which help satisfy basic needs, make efficient and environmentally sound use of locally available resources, mobilise existing skills as well as promote selfhelp and extend the scope of the user and promote independent action.

AT-Small-Scale Activities Project (KPF): The Project aims to support pilot solutions that can be used as models, and demonstrate these with a view to putting into practice appropriate technological solutions.

· Environmental Protection: The growing importance of ecology and environmental protection requires better co-ordination and harmonisation of projects. In order to tackle these tasks more effectively, a co-ordination centre was set up within GATE in 1985.


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

German Appropriate Technology Exchange Centro Alempare Tecnolog Apropiadas Centre allemand d'intertechnologie appropriBR>Post Box 5180
D-65726 Eschborn
Federal Republic of Germany


gate 4/96 December 1996
GATE in Deutsche
Gesellschaft fTechnische Zusammenarbeit
(GTZ), GmbH
Post Box 5180
D-65726 Eschborn
Federal Republic of Germany

Telephone: +49 61 96/79-0
Fax: +49 6196/79 73 52

Roland Seifert

Editors: Norbert Glaser Michael Gardner
Print, distribution, advertising: Societ-Druck Frankenallee 71-81 D-60327 Frankfurt Federal Republic of Germany

Cover pboto: Growth is taking its toll on the environment in South East Asia. Access to information is crucial in this context.
Photo: GATE

Focus in this issue:
Werner Kossmann

"gate" appears quarterly. A single copy costs DM 6.00 and a year's subscription DM 24.00. 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 transfer of environmentally sound technologies is crucial to sustainable development. If decision-makers do not dispose of relevant knowledge and only have insufficient access to information on technologies, they will tend to resort to options detrimental to the environment.

This state of affairs, which above all prevails in developing and newly industrialising countries, has a serious impact on international moves to protect the global environment. And at national level, it poses a threat to sustainability of development efforts.

South East Asia is in a special situation in this respect. While rapid industrial development in the tiger economies has not been accompanied by an across-the-board attempt to tackle ecological issues, there are a number of initiatives al local and regional level that promise to act as motors of environmental awareness by providing the all-essential ingredient of information.

RISE-AT, based at Chiang-Mai University in northern Thailand, focuses on appropriate technology in five main areas. With its Q &A service and its new documentation centre, RISE-AT bids fair to become a regional development factor. ATA and CORE are two further organisations working in this context. TIS, another Thai organisation, provides regular information services on renewable energy the environment and biotechnology to over 100 countries. And in the Philippines, SIBAT is performing the role of a counter-balance to an official agricultural policy bent on intensified cash crop cultivation. There are other examples in the region.
Michael Gardner

Filling the information gaps

New Southeast Asian centre promotes Appropriate Technology

by Tim Sharp, Bundit Na-Lamphun and Tien-ake Tiyapongpattana

More and more money is needed to maintain the momentum of development in the Mekong Basin region. But neither are human needs being adequately met, nor is there a let-up in the strain on the environment that rapid growth has been causing. Our authors argue that this is a case for appropriate technology.

During the past decade or so, mainland Southeast Asia has been one of the more vibrant places on Earth. Following the end of hostilities in the 1970s, almost all countries in the region have experienced rapid social and economic growth. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says the region's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by an average 6.5 percent per year from 1985-1992,and regional growth rates have topped seven per cent each year since then. Even statecontrolled economies like China and SR Vietnam are enjoying the boom.

Some of the consequences of this growth are truly benign. Basic indicators of human well being such as nutrition, life expectancy and literacy have improved dramatically. The more superficial indicators of the good life such as housing and car ownership have also improved. In most countries, these developments have been accompanied by a marked shift away from agriculture to industry and even to the service sector. Modern telecommunications, computers and even the Internet now co-exist in cities with rural and small-town lifestyles that have not changed in centuries.

Changes not problem-free

But as this prospect suggests, some of the changes are not problem-free. For example, increasing income disparity is becoming steadily more noticeable. Whereas in many developed countries the wealthiest fifth of the population generally captures less than 40 per cent of total income according to World Bank figures, the same population group in rapidly developing countries often captures well over that. The wealthiest fifth in Thailand, SR Vietnam and China for example capture 51, 44 and 42 per cent of total wealth respectively while the poorest fifth in the same three countries must make do with only six, eight and six per cent of total wealth respectively. Such marked differences often reflect geographic and cultural divides, the different lifestyles of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, not to mention remote villages in Vietnam, being a dramatic example.

Underlying these immediate problems are a host of others that are only now becoming apparent. For instance, the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, hosted by the United Nations in Bangkok in November 1995, found growing land degradation, deforestation, big-diversity loss and pollution in Southeast Asia. Air and water quality is diminishing. Solid wastes, urbanisation, traffic congestion and industrialisation are all growing problems.

Unhappily, their solution at least in conventional terms promises to be hugely expensive and perhaps even unaffordable. The ADB recently compared investment in public infrastructure in Asia as a whole with and without at tension to the environment. It then compared these figures with the region's ability to pay. If no attention is paid to the environment at present economic growth rates, the 'business as usual' ease, the region would need to spend some US$ 13 billion on environmental infrastructure in the year 2000, mainly for water supply, population policies, forestry and sanitation. With attention to the environment and rapid development, however, the figure balloons to US$ 70 billion mainly for electricity generation, industrial waste management, water supply and transport. But the infrastructure development resource gap - the shortfall in funds needed to pay for these things-is growing. Estimated at 2.3 per cent of GDP for Southeast Asia in 1993, the gap grew to 2.9 per cent in 1994 and 4.5 per cent in 1995. It is expected to remain above 4.0 per cent for the foreseeable future.

Significantly, a mayor site for these problems could well be the countries along the Mekong River - SR Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and the Chinese province of Yunnan. Mekong Basin development has suddenly become a hot issue. The ADB is the lead agency to coordinate several international programmes for the basin whose total budget would be around US$ 40 billion, the dream being that the Mekong could become the Danube of the East.

These sums are of course beyond anyone's reach. Indeed, part of the paradox of the region's rapid development is that it now needs such huge sums to maintain the momentum. As many people have been saying for years, there must be a better way - one in which development can still be achieved but in greater harmony with people and with nature. One of the main means by which such development would be achieved would be through the use of appropriate technology (AT). AT is the technology, whatever its «level", that meets human needs in an affordable, environmentally friendly way. A more precise definition is impossible because the actual technology, even for the same application, differs according to the specific circumstances of time and place. Thus pumping water in Bangkok, Savannakhet or a hamlet outside Hanoi is three separate problems. Appropriate technology is the obverse of the single panacea.


But this specificity itself causes difficulty. For if appropriate technology is culture and site specific, then a mass of information must be available to the people who would like to use it. Yet the information is usually widely scattered and often incomplete or unmodified to local conditions. Prospective users therefore often cannot find it, let alone process, evaluate and obtain it. Thus a collector, filter and distributor of such information is needed. This was the starting point for the Regional Information Service Centre for Southeast Asia on Appropriate Technology (RISE-AT)inThailand. Setup within Chiang Mai University's Institute for Science and Technology Researchand Development (IST) in May 1995 as an independent body with initial technical and financial support from the Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology (ISAT) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fhnische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, it is intended specifically to help the Mekong Basin countries mentioned earlier.

Focus on five main technologies

The Centre's role is to fill the gaps that exist in information about appropriate technology. Two main challenges are involved - first, to find and prepare information in a format that suits prospective users, and second, to deliver the information to the users and help them apply it.

To begin with, RISE-AT has targeted five main technologies. These are anaerobic fermentation and waste water treatment, renewable energy, construction, agriculture/ food processing, and handicrafts/small business. Most of these technologies are in strong demand in all five countries. The Centre then collects from the Internet, directories, research institutes and other organisations all the information it can find on these technologies and their suppliers. It then encourages either individuals or private sector, NGO or government organisations at whatever level to use its question and answer (Q&A) service. This direct contact with potential AT users helps to ensure that RISE-AT's information is demand oriented. Once it knows what the actual demands are, it can develop an overview of the issues and contribute towards solutions. Because it can quickly search the relevant databases, it can generally offer a broad range of options that often include alternatives. Because it also maintains a database of resource persons, manufacturers and suppliers it can then follow through on the original request by organising seminars or workshops on the topic so that the chosen technology is actually delivered to the user. The networks and user groups that come into being in this way join RISEAT's growing network of contacts. Steadily, as more and more technologies become ever more widely dispersed through the region, market demand for them will develop leading to indigenous, environmentally-desirable industry.

Key role for universities

A crucial aspect of this structure is the network of contacts. Right at the start, therefore, RISE-AT carefully identified at least one government and non-government organisationin each country that can either supply it with information or help it reach out to prospective end-users. In practice, RISE-AT has several key partners in most of the five target countries including government departments, NGOs, universities and private sector organisations. Some of these, particularly the universities, provide both information and outreach channels and may also provide links to several different kinds of technology. Thus an apparently select group of network members - RISE-AT currently has about 30 key partners across the five countries - actually translates into a considerable technological and grassroots reach. Consider for example, solar energy issues. Following queries to RISE-AT's Q&A service and working together with the Solar Energy Research and Training Centre (SERT) at Naresuan University in Phitsanulok, Thailand, and the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of Yunnan (ISTIY), RISE-AT helped to organise an international seminar on the financing and commercialisation of solar energy activities in South and East Asia that was held in Kunming, Yunnan Province, PR China, in August 1996.

The seminar helped to bring private sector manufacturers, academics, bureaucrats and development NGOs together. It exceeded expectations by attracting 70 participants from 16 countries. Predictably and properly, most of these were from RISE-AT countries - Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Thailand and SR Vietnam - but India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Philippines, not to mention several European countries, were also represented. The seminar helped to introduce a regional organisation now headquartered in Lao PDR - the «Council on Renewable Energy in the Mekong Region" («CORE"; which see in the following).

In other examples of its work, RISE-AT will contribute towards a regional seminar on anaerobic technology for waste and waste water management in Ho Chi Minh City, SR Vietnam in December 1996. The seminar is jointly organised by the Renewable Energy Centre at Can Tho University, SR Vietnam, CEFINEA, Ho Chi Minh City, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fhnische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) Gmb H. Anaerobic technology has applications in sewage treatment, waste recycling, energy recovery and methane emission reduction and is therefore hugely important to both municipalities and many kinds of industry.

Also in co-operation with Thailand's Department of Agricultural Extension (DoAE), RISE-AT organised training on anaerobic and biogas technology for two technicians from the Science, Technology and Environment Organization (STENO) of the Lao PDR. STENO will now start a demonstration programme to apply the technology with further support from Thailand's DoAE and RISE-AT.

Small businesses

The Centre has also initiated a successful working group on hospital waste treatment that now involves all major hospitals in Chiang Mai (cf. further on in this edition) and is moving strongly into textile technology, particularly spinning and dyeing, as part of its emphasis on handicrafts and small businesses. This issue offers a classic example of the Q&A service in action. By responding to a simple request for information about faster, more productive spinning machines, the Centre uncovered a whole cluster of interrelated problems whose solution would restore textiles to a viable cottage industry. In fact one of the best ways to gauge RISE-AT's activities is to look at the data on the Q&A Service. Less than 18 months after its establishment, RISEAT had answered about 140 requests from 16 countries by end of September 1996, far more both in number and geographic spread than was anticipated. Queries have come from as far away as Argentina, Bhutan, Mexico and Sri Lanka, and the affiliation of respondents is equally broad. Significantly, these are spread more or less evenly across government, NGOs and the private sector, indicating its work in appropriate technology is a very welcome addition to efforts to achieve sustainable development in Southeast Asia.


Ces dix dernis ann, le Sud-Est asiatique a connu un essor nomique prodigieux, marquans la plupart des pays de la ron par une mutation radicale de socis traditionnellement agricoles en socis industrielles. Un peu partout, le niveau de vie moyen de la population s'est vMais l'environnement fait les frais de ce dllage nomique. Les technologies appropri pourraient aider notablement emer ette situation. A cette fin, le service d'information RISE-AT recueille et diffuse les informations correspondantes dans la ron.


En el curve de los os a el desarrollo econo de los pas del sureste de Asia ha sido vertiginoso, caracterizado, en la mayor parte de los pas de la regipor la marcada transformacie sociedades agrlas en industriales. En general, el nivel de vida de la poblacia mejorado significativamente. No obstante, el auge econo repercute negativa y marcadamente sobre el medio ambiente. Las tecnolog apropiadas podr contribuir considerablemente a solventar esta situaciEl servicio de informaciISE-AT recopila y divulga informaciobre este tema en la region.

Public awareness creation - A delicate task

Some fresh perceptions on Chiang Mai's perennial garbage crisis

by Bundit Na-Lamphun, Martin Weinschenk-Foerster and Ulrich StGrabowski

Garbage is threatening to suffocate the city of Chiang Mail A number of attempts to get rid of refuse have not only failed but brought local inhabitants up in arms as well. RISE-AT proposes treatment of garbage involving recycling as opposed to dumping in landfills or incineration. However, there are many obstacles, not the least of which being official administration.

Mention the word «garbage" to anyone in or around the northern Thai capital of Chiang Mai and one is likely to be met with either a cynical smile, an angry glare or outright suspicion. Since 1989, the issue has become increasingly emotive to the point where four separate communities have each come out in angry public protest against the local authorities.

The first such event took place at Mae Hia, a small village a few miles to the southwest of the city where garbage had been dumped in a simple landfill since 1957. The villagers were fed up with mismanagement of the dump that included not just broken promises to manage it better but stench, smoke and flies as well. They blocked access to it.

Taken by surprise, the Chiang Mai municipality was forced to use a number of small temporary landfills scattered around the city while it found and prepared the next «permanent" site in San Sai District to the northeast. This was better than Mae Hia in that the site was excavated and lined but no leachate treatment system was installed. Moreover, the whole search and development process took so long - five years - that before it was ready the temporary sites had already been exhausted. Hence in late 1994 mounds of smelly uncollected garbage could be found all over the city. This situation prompted a second protest by angry, ashamed residents over non-collection of the city's solid wastes.

In the event, a meeting of ASEAN's economic ministers at the city's premier hotel provided the impetus to clean up the streets. The Army and the municipal garbage collection service was mobilised. Almost overnight and before the VIPs arrived the city was clean. But the garbage had in fact been tucked temporarily out of sight to be moved as soon as possible to San Sail When that facility opened shortly afterwards the normal garbage stream, plus the backlog, plus wastes from a nearby industrial estate in Lamphun province, plus domestic wastes from outlying private housing estates all but overwhelmed it. It was soon accepting over 300 tons of garbage a day. At present rates it will be exhausted by the end of 1996.

Incineration "solution"

It was recognised from the start that San Sai would have only a short lifespan. Thus a search for a more permanent alternative began almost immediately. Incineration seemed the best option. But because Chiang Mai's garbage has a high "wet» - mainly organic - content, a dual-fuel lignite-garbage fired power generation plant was proposed to be built at Hang Dong not far from Mae Hia. Unhappily, the decision was taken by central government in Bangkok without consulting either the local authorities or the community, or for that matter studying the local situation in any great detail. Almost inevitably, the community protested in a series of violent disturbances in late 1995, citing as the reason for their protests the possible environmental harm from the power plant. The project is now shelved, at least for the moment.

But by this time, San Sai was showing its imperfections too. The impervious lining means that rainfall and leachate must be pumped from the site into tankers for transport and treatment elsewhere. When heavy rain overwhelms the pumps, or plastic bags block the inlets, the whole site becomes a filthy, stinking swamp. So again nearby residents protested. In May 1996, they blocked access to the site. The net effect is that within a few months, Chiang Mai will have nowhere to dump its garbage and, because it has alienated community after community, little prospect of finding a new site. Meanwhile, very little progress has been made in developing more technological solutions.

Decisions arbitrary

This brief chronology serves to emphasise a key feature of municipal government throughout Thailand, namely that most of the important decisions and the authority to implement them are still taken and held by central government. As a consequence, decisions tend to be arbitrary, only poorly researched, and imposed on the local community from above. Disempowered local communities meanwhile have neither the incentive nor the means to solve their own problems. They can only accede to the view from the capital which, while meant for the best, is not always very clear.

This was made very obvious when RISE-AT became more involved in the issue in late 1995. Noting that solid waste management is a pressing issue, not just in Chiang Mai but in a rapidly growing number of municipalities across the country, it initiated more baseline studies and the compilation of relevant information in cooperation with university researchers. The results of this work were discussed several times with municipal officials.


L'encombrement des darges a soulevlusieurs vagues d'indignation dans l'opinion publique et fait peser de surcroune menace grandissante sur l'environnement et la santublique. Un projet d'usine d'incintion des dets raccordne centrale thermique a rejetar la population riveraine en raison des nuisances qu'il pourrait occasionner. Le service d'information RISEAT s'emploie actuellement aire le point de la situation, aprquoi il deviendra possible de dlopper un concept diffnci'mination et de recyclage des dets.


En diversas ocasiones, los rellenos sanitarios colmados hen dado luger a protestas pas; adem representan un creciente peligro pare el medio ambiente. Los habitantes del luger rechazan asimismo por motivos ecolos una planta de incineracie residuos conectada con una central elrica. RISE-AT se encargarrimerodellevar a cabo una compilacie los datos efectivos, sobre cuyos resultados se proceder elaborar un proyecto diferenciado de saneamiento con un componente de reciclaje.

Inaccurate statistics

The studies undertaken in cooperation with Chiang Mai University make fascinating reading. The first substantive point is that official population and waste generation statistics are often quite inaccurate.

Therefore no reliable basis exists by which to estimate or predict waste management requirements. One subset within this lack of knowledge is that waste composition IS not reliably known either. Hence right from the start, the development of a realistic waste management strategy is Impossible. But in addition to these drawbacks, the studies found that for political reasons, garbage service fees are both unrealistically low and even then collected only on a voluntary basis. So even if one could produce a realistic plan, it could not be implemented for lack of funds. Not unexpectedly in such a situation, the garbage truck fleet is decrepit. Most of the 48 trucks are over 13 years old, must be repaired by their drivers when they frequently break down, and are often too large to enter the city's small lanes. Just about the only bright point is that two zones in the city are served by private sub-contractors with 20 additional trucks, but even here the garbage containers that are supplied by the municipality are often too big to be handled by garbage workers It is amazing that the City IS as clean as it is.

Against this background, any proposed solutions are necessarily of an ad hoc nature. Officially, three waste management alternatives have been considered - landfill, composting and incineration - each as competing alternatives. The most careful research urged landfill as having the lowest capital and operating costs, followed by composting and incineration as progressively less financially attractive. However, these alternatives ignored growing land scarcity (not merely a physical constraint but a financial one as well) with regard to the landfill option, as well as the only partial solution offered by composting and the air pollution associated with incineration. More seriously, the proposed solutions did not address shortcomings in the fee collection system or attempt to redress the underlying knowledgegap. They also ignored the possibility of integrated solid waste management, including waste separation and recycling.

Preliminary RISE-AT suggestions attempt to deal with all these issues. Because actual data is unavailable, they are necessarily indicative only. Yet they move the whole discussion of possible solid waste management strategies onto a higher plane. All the relevant aspects are considered.

Starting with population, RISE-AT's work accepts Transit Authority of Thailand estimates made in 1993. These figures put Chiang Mai's 1995 population at 693,330, which is more than double the "official» estimate of 256,069. If each person generates 0.34 kgs of garbage per day (against a higher officially assumed 1 kg) total waste generated is 256 tons per day, which is quite close to the actual quantities handled. The official estimate also gives 256 tons, the same quantity, but because the baseline assumptions differ, the two projections diverge sharply over time. The RISEAT proposal suggests that the city's population will grow to 0.88, 1.00 and 1.12 million by the year 2005,2010 and 2015 respectively, generating 325, 371 and 413 tons per day of garbage respectively. For the same dates, the official population estimates are considerably lower and officials expect that the amount of garbage per day would be only 282,305 and 361 tons in the year 2005, 2010, and 2015 respectively.

RISE -AT then suggests that the most probable composition of Chiang Mai's solid wastes is as follows (based on a recent survey):







Plastics and rubber


Organic material like food scraps


Textiles (cloth)


Ceramic, sand, stone


Other (sweepings, etc.)


If a considerable share of the organic fraction is available for processing and if a combined anaerobic/aerobic composting system is applied, it would thus be possible to dispose of the large organic fraction of Chiang Mai's wastes at a low net cost of less than 300 Baht per ton while producing energy (methane) and compost at the same time. The remaining fractions would then become available for recycling. Concerning the organic share, a combined anaerobic/aerobic composting system could start with the huge amount of biomass material from hotels (e.g. food residues) and the vegetable/fruit markets; largely unmixed organic material, which is easily collected at the source. Thus for the beginning, the waste collection system and behaviour need not be changed for each individual household, but the main fraction of organic material could be easily collected and treated in an environmentally sound way instead of being dumped at the landfill.

Garbage contaminated

Recycling already occurs in Chiang Mai but mostly at low recycling rates - plastic 6.5 %, paper 16.5%, glass 22.9% and metal 80.0%. The main problems are that garbage is not separated at source and is therefore contaminated, and waste picking by both private scavengers and waste collectors and landfill workers under contract to the municipality is more tolerated than encouraged.

As a result, only the most easily resaleable items are recovered. If on the other hand waste picking was encouraged, it would in combination with some form of biocomposting system open the way for integrated solid waste management. Assuming 8090% of each *action becomes available for recycling and that 50-95% of it is recycled, over half of the initial total waste stream could be recycled. The balance would then go to sanitary landfill at much lower costs than incineration. The reduced quantities of material would of course extend land fill life. In this way, all wastes would be handled at least cost and for least environmental impact.

But as always, the problems to be overcome are more than just technical. If one looks at the present state of solid waste management in Chiang Mai, it is crippled not just by ignorance of the technical issues but by poor fee collection and public alienation, both of which are rooted in low public awareness of the issues. As long as people are unaware of what is at stake, it is easy for them to take an unsympathetic and even hostile stance towards government initiatives while simultaneously being content to avoid paying collection fees. In such a context, it is easy for politicians to perceive the need to pay as a barrier to their re-election. They therefore tend to forgive nonpayment. But no money of course dooms the whole exercise.

For these reasons, and as a means of contributing to informed public debate, NGOs and RISE-AT focus on public awareness creation, primarily through the Thai and Englishlanguage print media. They often point out for a specific fraction of the total waste stream what would be the best approach for that fraction within an assumed integrated waste management package that may or may not be presented as well. Unhappily, given the urgency of the situation, this approach though vital, promises to take a long time to accomplish its goals.

At odds with administrative structure

Moreover, in such a situation, dissemination of an integrated approach to solid waste management based on appropriate technology can be seen as opposing the existing centralised administrative structure in Thailand. Bangkok elite, living and working in their environment, can all too easily assume that what is appropriate for Bangkok must necessarily also be appropriate for Chiang Mail Thus if high-technology incineration is the only feasible approach in Bangkok, why not apply it to Chiang Mai too? In this view, incineration can seem to be such an obvious choice that no further discussion is needed.

NGO involvement

Unhappily, this approach has produced not merely a flurry of competing proposals from incinerator suppliers, at least one of which has become a contractual obligation, but any opposition to it from whatever quarter can easily be seen as obstructive. Such a confrontational stance becomes even easier to adopt in view of the past history of protests, and the lack of power, influence and interest of local authority. Thus in these circumstances, public awareness creation becomes an extremely delicate task that must be handled with great tact.

On the other hand, the long history of protest has also been accompanied by a growing swell of public awareness campaigns such that these activities can be viewed as positive contributions to the debate. Chiang Mai University organised the third and fourth National Symposiums on Environmental Technologies in Chiang Mai in November 1990 and June 1992 respectively. In September 1993 a a Clean up Chiang Mai" project involved thousands of people in cleaning up the historic parts of the city, an activity that was repeated in late 1994. At that time, the city's garbage collection crisis sparked action by several NGOs, the best known of which are the «We Love Chiang Mai Group" and "Walk for a Better Environment" which are close cooperation partners of RISEAT. The University has continued quietly to organise seminars on solid waste disposal technology, municipal laws in relation to the environment and other topics through 1995 and 1996. Very gradually through such activities, the authorities are coming to realise the need for a much more open, proactive, locally acceptable stance. Change is taking place. But it promises to be a long road and one which may still be difficult to travel.

Banana wastes application

Meanwhile, in another solid waste management development, the Solar Energy Research and Training Centre (SERT) at Naresuan University at Phitsanuloke, Thailand, in co-operation with GTZ/ ISAT has applied biogas technology to banana wastes. Villagers near the university peel banana stems to sun-dry the inner core, but the discarded peel produces a strong odour as it rots. SERT's solution has been to teach the villagers to feed the peel to biogas digesters. They now get methane gas for cooking and lighting instead of the odour.

Safe disposal of hospital wastes

Q&A service leads to intermediary role

by Rewat Yangyeun and Tien-ake Tiyapongpattana

Hospital waste can be a dangerous health hazard, especially if it is simply dumped in landfills. RISE-AT has been supporting hospitals in Chiang Mai that are loooking for better solutions. A working group has been formed to develop an efficient incineration concept. RISEAT is playing an important role in facilitating planning and decision-making processes. Approaches in Chiang-Mai could be applicable nationally.

When monsoonfloods washed away a small Chiang Mai hospital's accumulation of infectious wastes in mid-1995, its staff started to worry. Where might the wastes go? Would they contaminate the flood waters? Who might become infected? Following normal procedures, the wastes had been separated from the hospital's ordinary garbage, but the floods carried them downstream before they could be disposed of. Since disposal was problematic anyway and the hospital's staff knew about the newly established RISEAT, a first contact was made.

Initially, the query was perfectly straightforward. The hospital had long had difficulty disposing of its infections wastes. Not only are effective incinerators expensive, but the available municipal services do not distinguish between ordinary garbage and toxic or infectious wastes. The hospital therefore wanted to know whether RISE-AT knew of any good, low-cost incinerators that it could install. It would then be able to burn its own wastes before they were washed away or were dumped into the ordinary communal landfill.

Health hazard

Through contacts at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Bangkok, RISE-AT was able to refer the hospital to a Hungarian incinerator that might serve its purposes. However, the query interested RISE-AT so much that, after talking the problem over with the hospital, it decided to see whether other hospitals in Chiang Mai had similar problems. A survey conducted among the city's 28 hospitals in late 1995 produced an unequivocal answer: Yes!

Unfortunately, some of the hospitals felt the issue was too sensitive to discuss. Even so, 18 of the 28 responded to RISE-AT's questionnaire. It turned out that as each hospital bed generates roughly 0.4 kgs of wastes per day, the 4,762 beds in the 18 responding hospitals generate some 1.8 tons of waste per day. The majority of responding hospitals separate their wastes and most of these, generally the larger ones, incinerate them. However, not only are most of the incinerators substandard but the majority of Chiang Mai's hospitals, perhaps even as many as 20 out of 28, do not incinerate at all. In other words, because the municipality does not distinguish between types of solid waste, quite large quantities of infectious waste that may even include diseased organs, whether separated by the hospitals or not, are dumped in ordinary landfills where they constitute a substantial public health and environmental hazard. Quite clearly, it would be advantageous if a better solution could be found.

By this time, RISE-AT was fully committed to the problem. So in late January 1996, it organised an informal working group among staff from some of the hospitals it had surveyed. Technicians from the leading hospital, Maharaj, were invited to share their experience with incineration. Officials from the Provincial Health Office, the municipality and the Thailand Research Fund were invited to attend.

The discussions identified a cluster of quite intricate technical and economic problems. For although incineration is the obvious way to safely dispose of infectious wastes, it is neither cheap nor necessarily easy. On the financial side the capital cost of the equipment is often greater than a small hospital wanting to buy its own incinerator can afford. Technically, incineration must occur at high temperatures. Otherwise the smoke and toxic gases produced from rubber gloves and disposable syringes among other items, not to mention the possible survival of harmful bacteria and viri from diseased tissues, make it a greater health and environmental hazard than just combining the wastes with the normal garbage stream. And if the municipality cannot offer a communal incinerator, should the hospitals form some sort of co-operative to set up their own system? If so, how, where, what are the costs, how would it work and be paid for?

As these issues emerged they began to ramify into the overall waste management problem faced by Chiang Mai (cf. previous story). In a farreaching move, the working group therefore established a formal organisation - The Working Group for Chiang Mai Hospital Waste Management. Chaired by the Provincial Health Officer, and including representatives from the municipality, the Thailand Research Fund, and 11 Chiang Mai hospitals and facilitated by RISE-AT, the CHWM held its first meeting on 2 February 1996. It met again in late April at RISE-AT and has since been informed by the municipality of its intention to move the incinerator from Maharaj Hospital to municipal land so as to operate it as a municipal service for all Chiang Mai hospitals.


This welcome decision in principle largely solves the initial problem and shows the efficacy of the working group approach. However, actually implementing it may take time, and as RISE-AT's earlier investigations showed, the issue is not that simple.

Essentially, the safe disposal of infectious wastes is a cost to hospitals which they are morally obliged to meet. Now that an incinerator may soon become available, the issue switches from just disposal to efficient, cost-effective waste handling. RISE-AT identified the following areas for a more comprehensive concept at the 2 February meeting:

- apply all possibilities of pretreatment of wastes, especially on-site inactivation

- pre-collection and separation/recycling of wastes by type and hazard

- further in-hospital collection and transportation

- suitable and effective technologies for inactivation/disposal such as thermal, chemical or irradiation methods

- post-treatment issues including disposal of residues - management and staff skills and training needs

- equipment operation plans and manuals

- emergency plans (if the municipal incinerator is nonoperational)

-follow-up and monitoring of the waste treatment system (by which institution, how often and so forth).

The full investigation of all these areas within the context of the amount of wastes to be handled and the prevailing health and sanitation standards would permit the identification of the most cost effective cluster of waste treatment options both by individual waste and as an integrated infectious waste management system. Bearing in mind such things as transport costs of as much as 10 Baht per kg for, in some hospitals, up to 200 kgs of wastes per day to the central incinerator, such issues are far from trivial.

In one sense, both the formation of the Working Group and the decision to use the Maharaj Hospital incinerator for other hospitals also means that RISE-AT's role is over. But there are other senses in which it is still needed. The whole issue of wastes is still so sensitive between hospitals that they welcome RISEAT's presence as a neutral body through whom they can work. And, impending public health legislation that will soon require all hospitals to incinerate their wastes promises to force the issue to the attention of even those hospitals that at present are doing nothing.

This means that RISE-AT, working through the group, could still play an important role in facilitating the series of investigations outlined earner. But because their outcomes under the new legislation would be important to all hospitals in Chiang Mai the impact could be very much greater than was originally imagined. And if it is assumed that the law will come into force within a year and that hospitals will then have another year's grace period within which to begin incineration, something like a two-year investigation horizon emerges. Given that by that time incineration must be adopted by all hospitals, it follows that within the same time frame they need to investigate all the other aspects.

A further issue that has not yet been considered concerns the expansion of the concept as a whole. The group has so far been working and thinking purely in terms of Chiang Mai city. But there are many other hospitals in the province. Hospitals in other provinces will also have to obey the new law. Thus the group may unwittingly have begun to formulate general concepts and approaches that might be applicable nationally.

In any case, RISE-AT stands ready to play an intermediary role, facilitating the investigation, planning and decision-making processes as a neutral body able to mobilise technological and managerial expertise from qualified resources inside and outside the country. It is precisely this role that is proving to have immense value in working towards appropriate solutions for specific problems.


A Chiang Mai, une ville du Nord de la Thande, d'importantes quantitde dets hospitaliers ont emport par les inondations de la mi-1995. Alarmpar cette situation, l'administration hospitali a contacte service d'information RISEAT pour borer une vaste strate d'mination des dets hospitaliers. Les projets d'mination des dets oduit qu'un groupe de travail doit borer pourraient avoir nombre de retomb positives, m audele la seule ron de Chiang Mail


Las inundaciones arrastraron a mediados de 1995 los desechos de hospitales de la ciudad de Chiang Mail A rade ello, la administracie hospitales establecintacto con RISE-AT, a fin de elaborar un esquema integral pare el saneamiento de residuos hopitalarios. Las propuestas sobre soluciones econas pare el saneamiento de desechos, elaboradas por un grupo de trabajo, podr tener efecto malle Chiang Mail

Tapping renewable resources

A new organisation helps to promote sustainable energy in the Mekong region

by Wattanapong Rakwichian, John O'Donoghue, and Bundit Na-Lamphun

Renewable energy resources are not being made use of sufficiently in the Mekong region. Above all, there is a lack of information and awareness about sustainable energy. However, a recently established organisation has launched highly successful networking activities that even appear to be having an impact beyond the Mekong countries.

Every country along the Mekong River has abundant renewable energy resources. In addition to potentially massive hydropower from the mainstream and its tributaries, both sunshine and biomass are plentiful. Yet most of these countries suffer severe and widespread energy deprivation, particularly if this is measured in terms of available electricity in the countryside. Shortages are particularly grave in Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic, but also exist to lesser degrees in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Thailand and Yunnan, People's Republic of China. Since all the renewables can easily contribute to decentralised energy supply, the best use of available resources is obviously not being made.

As the newly established "Council on Renewable Energy in the Mekong Region (CORE)" defined at its inaugural meeting in March 1996 at Phitsanulok, Thailand, at least 17 conditions hamper optimum renewable resource use. The most important one is a lack of information and awareness about the viability of sustainable energy, together with a lack of knowledge of the local geographic and socio - economic conditions within which it would work. CORE would help to redress these issues through networking, thus contributing to the region's sustainable development. But within just six months of its establishment it has found an eager audience that extends beyond the original five Mekong countries. India, Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and even Australia now want to cooperate to promote sustainable energy.

There is a sense in which sub-optimal use of renewable resources is a relatively recent phenomenon. Although alternative technology enthusiasts have been trumpeting both the need and the possibility to switch to renewable energies for several decades, the fact remains that most of the technologies have only recently matured or are still maturing. Initial costs, system delivery, after-sales-services and operation often still pose problems.

Still a fringe issue

Yet it is also true that Appropriate Technology still means "fringe" to many people, perhaps especially policy makers, so that the old paradigms of centralised, state-controlled energy delivery systems persist even as demand for and the ability to supply decentralised privatised energy services in Southeast Asia expands. And while it may be overly pessimistic to say that supplies of fossil fuels are decreasing, at least in any real world economic sense, it is also true that they must be finite, that they often contribute to pollution, and that the delivery systems that they have fostered cannot provide affordable energy to dispersed populations. There are thus now very powerful reasons why a fresh look at sustainable energy is needed.

The new approach began back in 1994 when the GTZ in Germany and the Department of Technical and Economic Cooperation (DTEC) in Thailand sponsored a seminar in Chiang Mai on the State of the Art and Prospects for Photovoltaic Systems in Thailand and Neighbouring Countries. That meeting brought together nine sustainable energy organisations from Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, SR Vietnam and Thailand who agreed to maintain contact. The nine organisations are as follows:

- Ministry of Mines, Energy and Industries, Department of Energy, Royal Kingdom of Cambodia;

- Yunnan Semiconductor Factory, Kunming;

- Institute of Science and Technical Information of Yunnan (ISTIY), both of the People's Republic of China;

- Science, Technology and Environment Organization (STENO), Lao People's Democratic Republic;

- Ministry of Industries, Institute of Energy, Hanoi;

- Vietnam National Centre for Science and Technology, SOLARLAB, both of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam;

- Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment, Department of Energy Development and Promotion (DEDP, Bangkok);

- Solar Energy Research and Training Centre (SERT), Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, RISE-AT, Chiang Mai, all in Thailand.

But sustainable energy is such an important aspect of the region's development that it soon became clear that the core group should do more than just maintain contact. Thus, after informal discussions between the partners, plus trips between February and May 1995 to all five countries by SERT and RISE-AT staff to collect baseline data, they met again in late March 1996 at Naresuan University. It was there, working from the baseline data and additional country reports prepared by the partners, that about 17 problems affecting the promotion of sustainable energy systems were identified and CORE was inaugurated.

The Council's first chairman is Mr. Pho Muangnalad, Director of Cabinet, Science, Technology and Environment Organization of Lao PDR. The Secretariat is at SERT. The problems identified by the inaugural meeting are listed below:

1. A lack of promotion and awareness on the range of sustainable energy technologies that are already available in a proven and cost-effective form. The unaware majority varies from grass-rootusers to active policy/decision makers in all countries.

2. A lack of practical day-today information that can be directly put to use by the endusers of sustainable energy systems, particularly in local languages.

3. Lack of literature (brochures & advertisements) to promote existing and proven technology in the market place to attract user/consumer attention.

4. There is concern from countries located downstream on the Mekong River that any attempts to build large hydro - power stations on the upper stream of the river will have adverse ecological effects on fish and agricultural practices.

5. Some of the countries do not have data on typical climatic conditions and existing characteristics, which are necessary perquisites for the application of wind and solar energy.

6. Lack of information available on the existing situation within some countries or target areas that would view or identify social, economic and technical issues of the enduser; such as "Needs Identification for Rural Development».

7. Some countries do not have sufficient resources of sustainable energy expertise within their daily working environments as a point of reference to advise on a multitude of everyday problems.

8. Sustainable energy is still being perceived as expensive (more so in some countries than others), however attractive financing mechanisms do hardly exist.

9. Users lack access to attractive finance within local and isolated areas, particularly where people are poor. There seem to be no specific energy related loans available from the local/national banks or from agricultural financing institutions.

10. Lack of strategic dissemination approaches (including financing mechanisms) for indigenous in-country purposes to create consumer demand for sustainable energy technology.

11. Lack of uniformity in the technical skills of tradesmen, craftsman for installation and maintenance.

12. No common technical or quality control standards of the existing technologies that are already in the market place (as to identify prototype designs for justifying consumers).

13. Insufficient policy support by therespective governments to view the role of sustainable energy in a more social and economic light for rural development (particularly where in some countries 80% of the rural population are without electricity). Policy makers still tend to view sustainable energy systems in a micro-economic scale, instead of conceiving them on macro-economic terms for the country as a whole.

14. Lack of in-depth macro economic analysis comparing centralised conventional power plants with decentralised renewable systems.

15. Limited networking between focal points and with other local organisations within their local working environments to commonly promote sustainable energy use for rural social and economic development as a whole.

16. There is no multi-lateral co-operation between any of the countries in the Mekong region to share and develop sustainable energy use.

17. Very little exchange of short/long term plans across the borders of neighbouring countries to inform of efforts to develop sustainable energy through national projects and programmes.

Growing demand for decentralised energy

The list on its own makes a strongcase for an organisation such as CORE. In many cases, individual countries do not have the necessary data or background information to promote sustainable energy on their own, but a regional network could quickly assemble and disseminate it. However, when the list is related to actual conditions in the five participating countries, the rationale for CORE becomes even stronger. Against such a background, it could clearly play a vital role in helping member countries meet a rapidly growing demand for decentralised, affordable environmentally-friendly energy.

Cambodia, for example, still carries the scars of war. Thus, although it has an immense hydropower potential of some 15,000 MW, only 1 MW is utilised, a figure which represents 5 percent of total national installed capacity of 20 MW. Most of this is produced by small, old, expensive, heavily polluting diesel generators whereas solar energy - thermal heating and drying, and photovoltaic (PV) - wind, mini-hydro and biofuel technologies are scarcely known.

One exception is big-gas, which is used to a certain extent, but even here, system efficiency varies greatly. In a recent development, the Department of Energy Development and Promotion (DEDP) in Thailand installed under a technical cooperation project a 3 KW photovoltaic battery charging station with 80 batteries in Cambodia. Tragically, not only are such benign forms of energy very little used, but the country lacks much of the capacity to introduce them. It has virtually no background data, textbook information, technical skills or awareness, and lacks both the funds and the trained cadres to produce these things.

A "sustainable energy ladder" in the region

The Lao PDR is better situated in that some 16 % of households have electricity, and the country does have a cadre of professional bureaucrats, teachers and technicians as well as a more robust economy. However, only two percent of the rural population have access to electricity, several of the country's 17 provinces not being connected to a central grid. Moreover, although it exports hydropower to Thailand, the Lao PDR has only a small number of mini-hydro installations, and most of the other renewables are only now being investigated. Thus although it has much greater indigenous capacity than Cambodia, in practice it is at much the same level of sustainable energy use.

SR Vietnam is perhaps the next country up the region's sustainable energy "ladder". Some 20 percent of its villages are connected to a public grid, it already has some 600 PV installations, mainly in the mountainous border areas, and has active PV development programmes in co-operation with France and the USA (Solar Electric Lighting Fund, SELF). Yetsome 70 percent of the rural population still rely on kerosene for lighting, and many "electrified" homes must use expensive batteries that, recharged from a diesel generator, are sufficient for only a 20 watt bulb and a TV set. And although solar thermal, solar drying, biogas and mini-hydro potentials are good, none of these technologies are in fact really widely used.

Thailand too has until comparatively recently largely ignored sustainable energy. Thus although most of the country is now electrified, some 3,000 villages still lack connections to a public grid. And although it now installed, some 2 MW of PV systems mainly for telecommunications, lighting, and solar pumping, plus 50,000 m² of solar thermal installations, mini-hydro and solar drying are still not widely used. A nationwide anaerobic fermentation programme for small and large biogas systems (energy recovery from and treatment of agricultural wastes) is supported by the National Energy Policy Office (NEPO) and the Energy Conservation Fund of Thailand. A strong institutional base exists and as constraints to expanded use of conventional sources of energy increase, so greater attention is being paid to renewables. Depending on legislative and administrative changes, sometimes difficult in a changeable political climate, renewables could quickly become more important.

Yunnan is thus at the top of the ladder, producing some 0.5 MW annually of its own PV cells and modules that are used mainly for communications and lighting. It also produces around 100,000 m² of solar thermal collectors a year in 100 factories, solar water heating now being the conventional technology. Biogas is another widely used technology, as is mini-hydro. But as in all other countries in the region, solar drying technology has so far been little developed. And even Yunnan has difficulties, particularly a lack of promotion and awareness of the range of available renewable technologies, mainly because they are still often wrongly assumed to be too expensive. It could also benefit from more regional co-operation.

Since March 1996, SR Vietnam has launched a solar energy commercialisation initiative. Bilateral PV cooperation has begun between Thailand and Cambodia, Thailand and SR Vietnam, Yunnan and SR Vietnam, and Lao PDR and SR Vietnam, this last link being particulary active. Lao PDR-Thailand biogas co-operation has also begun, and Thailand has launched a solar drying technology initiative. The biggest single advance has been a second seminar on solar energy, "Financing and Commercialisation of Solar Energy Activities in Southand East Asia" held at Kunming, Yunnan 26-30 August 1996, supported by Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft (CDG) in Germany.

Some of the main conclusions of the seminar were that there is an enormous solar energy potential in Southeast Asia. The technology is now mature and is well suited to decentralised applications because it is modular. Present cost constraints could be overcome by combining existing bilateral and multilateral financing instruments in order to introduce and disseminate large numbers of solar systems both in the countryside and to industry.

Commercialisation could be promoted if solar system manufacturers and suppliers offered comprehensive energy services in response to well defined consumer needs rather than just selling the technology.

Bright prospects for sustainable energy

But even this vigorous activity is just a beginning. It remains to be seen what administrative and institutional constraints have to be overcome to transform the potential into reality.

However, the Councilis not standings/ill. It will meet again in February 1997 in Vientiane, Lao PDR to discuss ways of increasing its formal presence in the region, and to up-date its work plan. A third regional seminar on solar energy is being planned for Hanoi in late 1997. In another development, the secretariat of CORE has been approached by the National Energy Policy Office (NEPO), Thailand, to organise a high-level seminar in order to discuss existing policies and propose amendments on PV technology and application for the Thai government. At least the prospects for rapid adoption of sustainable energy technologies in the region are bright. It remains to be seen what the actual outcome will be.


Tous les pays arrospar le fleuve Mekong possnt d'importantes ressources rgques renouvelables. «CORE»", le Conseil de l'rgie renouvelable fondn mars 1995, a constatoutefois que ces ressources n'ient pas exploit de mani optimale, essentiellement par manque d'informations, et que les diffntes rgies ient diversement utilis selon les pays.

CORE est nmoins parvenu a conclusion qu'un rme potentiel existe dans la ron pour les rgies renouvelables. Le facteur dsif pour leur mise en valeur vent des mods de financement adapt


Los pas riberedel rMekong disponen de amplios recursos de energrenovable. No obstante, «CORE», el consejo sobre energrenovable fundado en marzo de 1995, ha constatado que la utilizacie estos recursos no es ma debido a la carencia de informaciAdem las diversas formas de energson utilizadas de manera diferente en cada pa Sin embargo, CORE ha llegado a la conclusie que existe un gran potencial de energrenovable en la regiEl factor decisivo pare su explotacistriba en el uso de modelos adecuados de financiaci

''CORE'': Co-operation in action

Supporting renewable energy technology transfer

by Tien-ake Tiyapongpattana and Bundit Na-Lamphun

Technology transfer is crucial to the sustainable development of renewable energy. To get to know more about renewable energy, a group of Vietnamese scientists and technicians attended training courses and had a look at renewable energy applications.

A good example of the kind of co-operative activity that is taking place among members of the " Council on Renewable Energy in the Mekong Region (CORE)" occurred in late July-early August 1996, when five scientists and technicians from four Vietnamese institutes visited Thailand on a two-week study tour that included trips to renewable energy sites in the north, a training course on domestic and industrial solar energy applications at the Solar Energy Research and Training Centre (SERT) at Phitsanulok, another training course on solar encapsulation processes organised by BP Solar Co. Ltd. in Bangkok together with a visit to the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Energy Park, and a further trip to a hybrid wind and solar power station in Phuket in the south. All five visitors gave the training project high marks.

The original idea for the project emerged when the Department for Development of Solar Electricity (SOLARLAB) within the Vietnam National Centre for Natural Science and Technology participated in the 1994 seminar in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, on the state of the art and prospects for photovoltaic (PV) systems in Thailand and neighbouring countries (cf. previous story). SOLARLAB found the seminar such a good opportunity to exchange experiences and transfer technology that it approached the two sponsors - the Department of Technical and Economic Cooperation (DTEC), Thailand and «Deutsche Gesellschaft fhnische Zusammenarbeit" (GTZ) to see whether further technology transfer could be arranged.


Durant l' 1996, un groupe de scientifiques et de technicians vietnamiens s'est rendu en Thailande pour se familiariser avec les technologies de mise en valeur des rgies renouvelables. Dans le cadre de leur voyage, ils ont pris part n snaire sur les rgies nouvelles. L'initiative du projet revient au drtement " SOLARLAB " du Centre vietnamien des sciences de la nature et des technologies.


En verano de 1996, un grupo de cientcos y ticos vietnamitas visitilandia con el objetivo de informarse sobre las diferentes formas de energrenovable. En el marco de su viaje, participation en un seminario sobre este tema. El proyecto fue iniciado por el departamento "SOLARLAB" del Centro Vietnamita de Ciencias Naturales y Tecnolog

International support

The upshot was that in December 1995, SOLARLAB submitted a formal proposal. Five solar experts from Vietnam would visit Thailand for two weeks to undertake the training described above. The project would be jointly sponsored by DTEC, the GTZ/ISAT project, and the International Training Institute for Materials Science (ITIMS) in Vietnam with facilitation by RISE-AT.

Two of the solar experts came from SOLARLAB itself in Ho Chi Minh City while the other three came, respectively, from the Institute of Energy, Hanoi, the Renewable Energy Centre, Hanoi, and the Renewable Energy Centre, Can Tho. They arrived on July 22, 1996 and were immediately plunged into an intensive two week programme.

Visits to solar plants

The first three days included orientation at RISE-AT, an introduction to the Energy Development and Promotion Department's (DEDP) photovoltaic battery charging programme in Thailand, and trips to nearby mini-hydro, geothermal and PV charging sites. The group then travelled to Phitsanulok for three days of intensive study on solar energy applications for domestic and rural industrial use. Solar drying and solar charging sites were also visited.

Constraints to the application of renewable energies in rural areas were discussed.

Moving on to Bangkok, the group spent four days learning PV encapsulation processes step by step at BP Solar Co.'s factory and visiting AIT's Energy Park. As a result of the visit, BP Solar and SOLARLAB have begun a formal cooperation agreement. The group saw solar hot water, solar pumping, solar cooking end PV systems at the AIT-Energy Park. The final four days were spent at Phuket, southern Thailand, and hosted by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), where after a wellearned day off, participants visited a hybrid wind and solar power station of EGAT that could also be used in rural Vietnam. The outcomes of the trip are as follows:

First, senior Vietnamese solar experts have been exposed to a range of new technologies, particularly PV encapsulation and hybrid systems, which they will begin to implement in their own country, working directly with the contacts they made during the trip. Since the visit, SOLARLAB has started its own solar assembling and encapsulation line in Ho Chi Minh City.

Second, the technologies transferred in this way to SR Vietnam will be further disseminated when Vietnam, under its treaty of friendship with Lao PDR, in turn demonstrates them to Lao technicians.

More generally, of course, the project has helped to fulfill the goals of the "Council on Renewable Energy in the Mekong Region" - broader awareness among governments, the private sector and research institutes of all renewable energy technologies and their applications in the region, the ultimate goal being to promote its sustainable development through greater use of alternative technology.

Meeting a rising demand

Information services in South East Asia

by Suvit Tia and Terry Commins

Technical information exchange in the ASEAN countries has not kept pace with their rapid transition to industrially based economies. TIS aims to help bridge this gap by providing a comprehensive information service.

Of the seven members which make up the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), most are newly emerging economies making the transition from an agricultural base to an industrial base through greater use of technology.

In many cases, traditional information services in these countries are still at the developing economy stage and are unable to meet the rising demand for easier and better access to both new and appropriate technologies. Funding remains restrictive for libraries while information costs (e.g. journal subscriptions) continue to rise and the volume of information available continues to proliferate. Academics, researchers and students in provincial areas often have even less access to information sources than their counterparts in the larger universities. Also, university libraries generally feel that their responsibility has ended once students graduate. Whereas, in reality, most of these students join the private sector, the driving force behind technology development and application, where there is a continuing need for technical information. There has been a trend in developing countries, where budgets are limited, for librarians to become guardians of information rather than service providers.

A further problem is that many of these newly emerging economies are also themselves starting to generate a lot of information, much of which has relevance to other countries in the region. Mechanisms for facilitating technical information exchange amongst countries in the region have not matured at a pace equal to the need. Similarly, as these economies grow they provide greater market and investment opportunities for the developed nations, who are thus also interested in technology developments in the region.

Development of TIS

In 1990, the ASEAN Sub Committee on Non-Conventional Energy Research (SCNCER) was undertaking collaborative research programmes on renewable energy with Australia, Canada, the EC and New Zealand. Committee members saw a need to keep abreast of technology developments in support of the projects they were working on. They also perceived a requirement for a mechanism facilitating better information exchange amongst the participating countries in the region. Thus the idea for a selective dissemination of information (SDI) service on renewable energy was born. This was supported by a regular newsletter covering activities of the SCNCER.

Basically, the SCNCER Technical Information Service (TIS) entails the establishment of a database covering titles of articles from journals, proceedings and reports. Special emphasis is given to material on the ASEAN region. Probably for historical reasons regarding the SCNCER's projects, emphasis is also given to material out of the mainstream, such as Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and South Africa. Subscribers are sent a printout of new titles every month, from which they can indicate titles of interest. The printouts are returned by mail and copies of the articles are supplied to subscribers.

At its peak, TIS was servicing over 1,000 subscribers in 117 countries. However, a survey of users, together with the introduction of a small fee in 1994, has seen the number of subscribers drop back to around 500.

Seeing the value of such services, particularly to industry, PDTI decided to establish a Technical Information Service (TIS) unit in 1993, with the addition of a service covering food technology. Since that time, the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) has contracted TIS to provide a service on biotechnology, while PDTI have also added a further service on environment. All are funded by the Thai government. TIS now provides regular information services to more than 3,000 subscribers in over 100 countries worldwide - the majority being in developing nations. The SCNCER-TIS continues to receive support from Australia, the EC and New Zealand. Total running costs for all of the four services are around US$130,000 each year, the bulk of which is provided by the Thai government.

Experience gained

The SDI concept goes part of the way towards meeting the demand for better information services. By sharing information amongst a wide variety of users It is economically appropriate for developing or newly emerging economies. The service also allows users a more judicious choice of journals they might subscribe to, or conferences it would be appropriate for them to attend. By focusing on the individual, TIS is able to deliver information direct, bypassing the need to join the queue at libraries. By being selective, TIS also helps reduce the time spent by users in searching for relevant information. One of the major benefits of TIS is that some 50% of its subscribers are from the private sector, where technical information can often be put to immediate use.

For the future, two clearly emerging patterns are evident. The first and most obvious one is developments in information technology itself, with the advent of computers and the Internet. While TIS services will become available on the web in 1997, a recent survey of users in Thailand indicated that less than 5 % have ready access to the internet; thus TIS will continue its regular SDI services for some time to come. This will ensure that more remote subscribers and groups such as NGOs continue to benefit.

The second pattern which is emerging is the increased demand for even more specialised services, particularly from the private sector. While research papers continue to beuseful for academia, the private sector is more interested in market trends and opportunities, import regulations, developments in world trade and quality enhancement. TIS is currently formulating strategies to meet this need.


Dans la plupart des sept pays membres de l'ANASE (Association des nations de l'Asie du Sud-Est), I'industrialisation est en marche. Les services d'information en revanche vent rest'rt de cette lution. Le Service d'information technique TIS a vu le jour dans le cadre de l'ANASE; il se charge de diffuser des informations dans une centaine de pays du monde, surtout dans le domaine des rgies renouvelables.


De los siete miembros del Grupo ASEAN, la mayor parse se encuentra en proceso de industrializaciLos servicios de informacio hen podido evolucionar a la misma velocidad. En el marco de ASEAN, se cre servicio tico de informaciIS, el cual difunde informaci mde 100 pas del mundo, especiaImente en el campo de la energrenovable.

Appropriate textiles technology

Reintegrating rural families in development

by Charnchai Limpiyakorn and Astrid Faust-Tiyapongpattanar

Technical information exchange in the ASEAN countries has not kept pace with their rapid transition to industrially based economies. TIS aims to help bridge this gap by providing a comprehensive information service.

Appropriate technology/ends by its very nature to be socially benign. In a number of instances, it can therefore be used directly to counteract some of the negative social impacts of conventional development. A good example of this can be found in the cottage-based textile industry in north and northeastern Thailand.

In these regions, carefully phased interventions are reintegrating otherwise marginalised people back into the development process. This is being achieved, in combination with entrepreneurship and marketing training, by introducing improved spinning and dyeing techniques to villagers. Incomes in some villages in consequence nearly doubled in the short period from 1992-1996.

The process began in 1985 when the Appropriate Technology Association (ATA) of Thailand with technical assistance from ISAT among other agencies, began a Local Weaving Development project in Roi-et Province in the impoverished northeastern region. The goal was to help village women become more self-reliant through the formation of weaving groups that would use natural dyes to produce distinctive textiles that would find a ready market.

Trying out natural dyes To begin with, the project's primary objective was to study and experiment with the use of natural dyes from the bark, leaves, trunk and roots of trees as well as from small insects and minerals. Natural dyes had been used traditionally, but knowledge about them had almost died out. Although they can be harmful to health and the environment, synthetic dyes are easier to use.

Natural dyes are usually found in the forest. The project therefore organised village men and youths to collect material from trees, herbs and even crops. Then, starting with a single group of seven women in one village in Roiet Province, the first weavers' group was formed to use this material. This group has been joined by a further 23, and in all the groups now consist of over 500 women in villages in three neighbouring provinces - Roi-et, Srisaket and Surin. Since the quality of their weaving steadily improved, the confidence of the women in these groups increased as well.

Today, they are networking, participating in training workshops and study visits, and even hiring their former advisers as marketing consultants! Some of the women now earn more from weaving than from rice farming. Thus a kind of cottage industrialisation is taking place that releases people from their dependence on agriculture and gives them the benefits of industrialisation without the social and economic dislocations that are so often associated with the conventional process.

But ATA is not the only project in Thailand. Another initiative, called the Small Business and Handicraft Promotion Project (SBHPP) was established five years ago by the University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV) of Chiang Mai University, northern Thailand. The goal here was to complement public sector programmes by such organisations as the Northern Industrial Promotion Centre (NIPC). With technical support from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) in Frankfurt, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Bonn, the university brought together government and non-government organisations in a wide-ranging home-based handicrafts development project. Happily, through the ILO, the Appropriate Technology Association (ATA) became a major partner.

Initially, appropriate technology was not the central issue at SBHPP at all. It first concentrated on upgrading villagers entrepreneurship and marketing skills, mainly in five northern provinces including Chiang Mail As these skills increased, the participants, mainly women, began to realise the need for better technology to produce goods to acceptable market standards. Hence the introduction of appropriate technology and the involvement of ATA.

Local technology slow

The need for appropriate technology was particularly felt in relation to traditional textiles. The project found that local spinning technology had not changed in centuries, meaning mainly that it was slow, and with very low productivity. Similarly the dyes, either traditional or synthetic, left much to be desired. Colour range and fastness were inferior. Some of the synthetic dyes pose health and environmental hazards. Raw material supplies for traditional dyes often could not be maintained.

In 1994, therefore, ATA and SBHPP developed the technical content of the project. As RISE-AT was formed, it assumed responsibility for technical information search, retrieval and transfer, using among other sources of information ATA's own database on textile technology.

Regarding spinning technology, a multi-step procedure was followed. After first investigating current practices and needs among textile producers in north and northeast Thailand, RISE-AT contacted alternative technology information carriers in Thailand and abroad to see what technology was available. Some of the most important information sources were the Department of Industrial Promotion and the Thai Karen Baptist Convention in Thailand, ISAT/GTZ in Germany, Tools Netherlands and Development Alternatives in India.

On the basis of this information, the partners then collected samples of spinning machines from Thailand, Burma, India and New Zealand which were operated under comparable conditions. In the event, 15 spinners watched by ten non-government and government representatives test-operated all the machines during a one-day seminar in Chiang Mai that was facilitated by RISE-AT. This allowed a spinning machine development plan to be outlined in consultation with both the spinners and the GO and NGO representatives.
The partners then continued to test the spinning machines in the field to draw conclusions for the workshops and to devise further adaptations. On the basis of feedback from the field, prototypes of an electric carding machine and spinning machine were developed by mechanical craftsmen who had participated in the previous steps. The final step - the dissemination of the new equipment - can start once adapting the prototypes has been completed.

As for dyeing, the issues concerned fastness, health and safety. The search for solutions was domestic rather than international and specialised know-how was available through ATA. But the same basic approach of problem and resource identification, followed by hands-on workshops and development, was followed. As with the spinning and carding machines, the full process is still not complete.

A wide range of colours

The proposed solutions were to improve natural dyeing skills and the natural resource base. Better quality, but more expensive, synthetic dyes would solve the problems in that area. Concentrating on traditional dyeing processes, the experience ATA had gained in its work in the northeast proved invaluable. Trial and error with 15 kinds of tree among the 24 village groups in the northeast had produced a wide range of natural colours - yellow, green, brown, grey, pink, red, orange and purple.

Thus with ATA's help, natural dye users from both the north and northeast of Thailand were brought together in a training course that, through the direct exchange of practical information between practicing dyers, produced considerable technological advance. A field survey three months after the course showed a wider range of colours in use than before.

Improved quality

Encouraged by this success, a second training course was organised on colour fastness, process optimisation, and resource base conservation. Positive results were also achieved. Three months after the course, a survey found improved dye quality.

In both projects, however, appropriate technology has not been the only important aspect. In addition, considerable attention has been paid to entrepreneurship and marketing, and to product development. This has led village groups to participate m such sophisticated activities as design clinics, as well as workshops on fabric and embroidery design, new product line development, sewing training and so forth. The northern groups even staged a fashion show, Ethnotex 1996, which was a huge success.

But above all village women in north and northeast Thailand are becoming wealthier, more independent and more self-assured - partly because of these projects.


Les technologies appropri ont favoris'essor nomique de l'industrie du textile dans le nord-est de la Thande. L'association thandaise pour les technologies appropri (ATA) en a lanc'initiative vers le milieu des ann 80 en impulsant la crion de groupements de tisserandes. Rltat: la qualites tissue s'est amoret les intss ont pu accroe notablement leurs revenue.


Gracias al empleo de tecnolog apropiadas, la industria textil en el noreste de Tailandia estxperimentando un auge econo. La iniciativa fue lanzada a mediados de los aochenta por la Asociacie Tecnolog Apropiadas de Tailandia (ATA) mediante la creacie grupos de tejedoras. La calidad de los tejidos ha mejorado, y el nivel de ingresos se ha incrementado significativamente.

Gate competition


The quarterly gate - questions, answers, information is 15 years old

The GATE/ISAT Project would like to celebrate this anniversary with you. On the inside pages you will find three questions that are closely related to the philosophy of this publication. Please answer the questions and send this section of 'gate' back to us when you have filled it in. Each of the three lucky winners will be awarded an air ticket to another continent.

The first edition of the quarterly gate - questions, answers, information appeared in December 1982. It was titled "AT - by whom? for whom? and how?", and started off a debate on the issue of appropriate technology and its application. Since then, several editions of gate have taken up the topic. The editors have always made a point of addressing issues that have a potential to be implemented locally. Right from the onset, the goal was that of enabling the debate on appropriate technology to assist everyday work on a small scale rather than having it proceed merely as a theoretical discourse.

The work of ISAT is based on the experience that even entire programmes are restricted in terms of their effectiveness. Knowledge that is drawn from them and experience gained with it in one region does not simply jump over to another region of its own accord. Active knowledge and information management is necessary in order to really make it accessible and useful for others. With the aid of the "Questions and Answers Service", the "AT Documentation", the "gate publications" series and the quarterly «gate - questions, answers, information" ISAT offers all organisations and institutions in development co-operation a wide range of different services. In addition, ISAT accesses very special regional and local know-how and maintains links with local experts through intensive co-operation with numerous NGOs in countries of the Third World.

Now the quarterly is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary and can boast a readership of around 25,000 that it regularly provides with reports written by experts and specialised journalists on topical issues relating to environmentally and socially compatible technologies. This year, gate also went onto the Internet.

Promoting and networking local know-how and starting up a local dialogue between those who have a problem and those who are offering a solution to it is not only a central task of ISAT but also of the quarterly.

This is the framework for the competition on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the quarterly gate - questions, answers, information.

In the following, you will find three questions. We would like you to fill in the answers and send them back to us. We are looking for short, concise, creative and smart answers to our questions. The entries will be evaluated by a committee. Three winners will be picked from the best answers: one/from Asia, one from Africa and one from Latin America. Each of the winners will be awarded a one-week stay in another continent as a prize, where they will be able to visit a partner organisation of GATE/ISAT. On the way, you will stop over at Frankfurt am Main and can visit our project for three days.

Good luck!

The deadline for entries is March 31, 1997.

Question 1:
What can the South learn from the South?

Question 2:
What can the North learn from the South?

Question 3:
What can the South learn from the North?

To the
Gesellschaft fhnische Zusammenarbeit (GmbH) GTZ
Abt. 402 (GATE/ISAT)
P.O.B. 5180
D-65726 Eschborn

Personal details:

First name:







Occupation/area of activity:

A leading role for self-initiatives

Sustainable Agriculture and Appropriate Technology in the Philippines

by Victoria M. Lopez

The policy environment for the promotion of sustainable agriculture and appropriate technology in the Philippines is anything but favourable. Self-initiatives play a major role in efforts at establishing organic farming. The SIBAT network focuses particularly on the poorer farming population.

Efforts at SA/AT- Sustainable Agriculture and Appropriate Technology-in the Philippines are urged more by self-initiatives than by official policy. SIBAT (Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya) is one of many NGOs which have confronted problems posed by lack of coherent and potent policy to promote sustainable agriculture, i.e., the efforts to enhance agriculture in conjunction with natural resource base, ecology, and genuinely empowering community development. Strategies must be boldly taken to address this problem. In the following, the author takes a close look at informational strategy.

SA/AT's policy environment

Leading agricultural policy conditions in the Philippines could be described as a continuing subscription to unsustainable farming practices and agricultural development as a whole. The government's medium-term agricultural development programme, which is geared to intensified cash crop cultivation over diminished hectarages, implies the utilisation of the chemical-based genre of cropping systems accompanying a large-scale shift to monoculture.

While there is already some degree of articulation by executive agencies of the promotion of regenerative technologies, i.e., organic farming this does not jibe one-to-one with macro directions. The translation of such articulation to serious implementing guidelines is wanting. The agricultural research agenda provides some scope for R&D on lowinput but genetic engineering-based technologies; said researches are today subject to scrutiny pertaining to biosafety regulations. In the main, conventional researches continue to dominate the agricultural research scene.

At the locality level, the yardstick for SA adoption, SA collaborations between government and non-government entities face the dilemma of SA policy rhetoric addressing structurally-related elements of rural development while the conventional agricultural development framework yet prevails.

In these collaborations, ecological farming and forestry projects are seen to be weak in delivering the sustainability requirements determined by community needs, such projects being largely coupled to conventional strategies (i.e., commercial or exportation aims consistent with governmental objectives). In this sense, SA collaborations are seen to be still lodged within the conventional framework, where SA processes and premises end up as watered down attachments to the project design.

SA adoption in the country

At the upland on-farm community level (at slopes of 18 and above, which accounts for 57% of Philippine lands), SA programmes straddle over objectives ranging from raising food productivity to ecological/soil enhancement; technological measures similarly reflect a range, strongly addressing productivity and less on chemical input related issues. The uplands embrace a host of structural factors correlating to maintaining abject rural conditions aptly described by the 1996 World Bank's assessment of low quality of life in rural Philippines.

At the lowland on-farm community level, most SA replication successes have been at the individual farming household level, with conditions characterised by middlelevel income and land tenure security - hence with given capacity of the middle-income farmer to invest in time and effort to convert to SA - transform his farming system, and access to information for systems conversion and development.

In the lowlands, the apparent increase in the number of those who have opted to revert back to traditional systems would be more of a result of the fertiliser/pesticide price spiral, the inability of the poor farmer to meet the expensive demand of the highyield scheme rather than a conscious or policy-driven adoption of, or effort to convert to, the integrated organically-based systems.

The areas of SA adoption hover around just 0.01 percent of agricultural areas, largely at a demonstration scale. And the major share of SA efforts are self initiatives - people's organisations, NGOs - rather than policy inspired moves. They are indicative of SA promotion in the country proceeding at a pace that is urged by other factors, rather than by a favourable policy environment. It could be said that among these other factors, SA agencies stand as a quaint moving force, implementing SA largely through self-initiated efforts.

SlBAT's SA concept and strategy

These SA self-initiatives by Philippine NGOs and People's Organisations (POs) bear the bottom-line similarities of appealing to the environment and promoting organic farming. They differ, in emphasis among strategies, approaches and instruments, which include technology development, inter-agency cooperation and integrated systems approach.

The SIBAT Network, which has undertaken one of the oldest self-initiatives in Sustainable Agriculture (PAN-AP, Phil. Country Profile, 1995), has covered all three approaches and more, but has put greater emphasis on concern for the overwhelming poorer farming population.

Technologically, it has largely covered upland and rolling lowland-upland intermediate areas (in lower, middle and high altitude uplands), and has gone through a decade of a verification-demonstration phase on technologies for upland development. Today, it has embarked on community adoption scale.

In search for the technological alternatives to the Green Revolution, focus has thus been placed on developing and upgrading the traditional mode of production. Rich experience has been gained in almost a decade of SIBAT's work. During this period, it has concentrated its efforts and resources in technology verification and farm trials, documentation and information dissemination; training workshops and conferences on various fields of SA, as well as on the issues constraining SA promotion. It has, as well, facilitated support for the implementation of SA related projects of its members and their PO beneficiaries. In all, these efforts have contributed to the assertion of viability and appropriateness of SA to the situation and socio-economic needs of the farming communities.

Ground efforts and policy

SA efforts at the on-farm and community levels have increased perceptibly, in the face of constraints allowed and supported by policy conditions. Hence SIBAT saw the need to directly address policy. SIBAT has addressed the broad public, one, through fora and demonstration, specifically through the ECOFAIR, a trading fair and showcase of appropriate technology advances from the field level. SIBAT has managed SAN, the Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter, put together by a pool of SA agencies and individuals from the academe. In one case, SIBAT has initiated and linked efforts by entities in confronting the pesticide menace in the court and legislative arena.

In all these activities, SIBAT has endeavored to link local experience and policy formulation - a deductive approach to policy development, borne out of its intrinsic strength with ground experience.

SIBAT's SA concept rests on the belief that the availability of genetic resources is strategic to the success of sustainable agriculture and peoples' development. Without them, efforts in sustained and selfreliant alternative agriculture will not succeed. With increasing genetic uniformity, SIBAT's SA has been faced with the challenge of retrieval, propagation and dissemination of what genetic resources are yet on hand.

In this regard, establishing community seedbanks as a genetic conservation strategy is proven to be of qualitative significance in advancing sustainability in the farming system as farmers' hold on seeds is ensconced and strengthened. The CSBs have been constituted from an indigenous knowledge-base as collection repositories for retrieved varieties and as village centres for in-situ breeding, selection, and stock improvement. Pilot experience in regions has produced not merely a long list of seed material in the farmers' hands, but the condition of availability of seeds for year-round production.

SIBAT's concept of appropriate technology carries the varied premises of viability and adaptability to specific conditions, and serving the gains especially of the poorer rural sectors. One such technology that meets criteria mentioned is the Microhydro Technology (MHP).

The MHP is a technology that does not stand alone as an electrification source, but one which foremostly serves the identified economic needs of the community; MHPs serve the SA needs of agricultural communities. In such a community-based effort, the community is involved throughout most processes, and all other entities assist towards the direction of capacitating the PO for management.

The MHPs in the SIBAT Network have resulted in the electrification of the village, savings in kerosene wicklamp costs, and in payment responsibilities commensurate with all considerations including capacity to pay. There has been a tangible impact in that access and means to mill rice are cheaper, meaning real savings for the household.

Networking elements

The MHPs in the SIBAT Network have directly served the benefit of the women in the community, who have been traditionally charged with rice-pounding and other postharvest processing tasks, eased by the MHP device.

The MHPs in the SIBAT Network have been developed by combined efforts of member organisations and their appropriate technology personnel. An MHP unit is a result of an integration and sharing of efforts.

The CSB and MHP experiences demonstrate various networking elements at work: sharing of information and lessons, farmer-farmer seed exchanges (for the CSB), and, project co-operation by a group (for the MHP).

The above illustrations of self-initiative further demonstrate the role of careful research work and information build-up: a consolidation of the wealth of indigenous knowledge in the community, experiences written m case or technology literature, and experiences by other practitioners shared during trainings and farmer-farmer exchanges. These are attested to by instruction modules that are constantly expanded to incorporate incoming experiences.

Information thus flows out from sources to create SA realities on the ground. Looking anew, information from the ground can flow back to yet another level, that is, towards creating policy insights. The above experiences on CSBs and MHPs are a veritable source for influencing directions in the policy areas of genetic conservation and energy development.

Future concept and main adjustments

The challenge at present is to dare to upscale and push adoption in the face of the policy environment described. The networking instruments and strategies need to be further sharpened to meet the exigencies of the times, including policy constraints. Meanwhile, the challenge in the policy influencing arena is to find its link with SA initiatives and results. Information is one such link.

Sharpening the informational tool

In carrying out work on the ground, SIBAT has over the years rightfully given focus to informational capacity building among its programmes. In the early verification period, it built STRCC, the Science and Technology Resource Collection Center, an information centre unequalled in its wealth of SA material that has been amply utilised by researchers, students and NGO workers for such application areas as the CSB and the MHP projects.

STRCC has assisted in directly translating information, research and experiences, into useful material for direct usage by farmers. Today, STRCC consists of a growing documentational proof of SA viability.

Information is yet an area where SIBAT sees an exigency to continuously and boldly develop in this period. It has been recognised that the upscaling of SA in the mediumterm shall require corresponding improvement in information capacities and resources, and adjustment of strategies. The current situation calls for wider networking and exchange of information.

The problems that beset the present information capacity and system need addressing. One, research and documentation efforts to link practice and its results to policy advocacy have been weak. Results of SA practices either remain undocumented or in their raw unpackaged form, which is too weak to serve as basis for policy development as well as technology replication. This is also due to a lack of skills needed by agencies to transform research data into useful material.

Two, there is the inaccessibility of information sources and the difficulty to reach remote target areas. Most information compiled remains unaccessed or unused in the information centres, which, in turn, are usually located in urban areas.

Three, there is a lack of effective linkages among information centres, which have differing specialisation sujects and material. They are not effectively exchanged nor made known to other centres or to the interested public in general.

By and large, information (written, visual) has shown its potential as an instrument of self-initiative. It has contributed not only in increasing public awareness but in developing the current knowledge base for SA adoption. The SA information system has already been assigned its generic meaning (i.e., mix of traditional and modern knowledge systems where the former consists the base).

Role of modern information technology

Because information technology has advanced to its current state today, SA groups could appropriately utilise elements to enhance the in-formation build-up and exchange. Using the Electronic Bulletin Board (EBBS) will enable information sharing among network members and others.

Thus technical information and messages can easily be accessed by users equipped with only a personal computer, a modem and a telephone line. The EBBS is the simplest and cheapest means of information networking or link-up that will allow the required flow and exchange with the present capabilities by NGOs and POs.


The need to address policy development is an exigent issue which once it has been addressed, is believed to ease the path for SA promotion. SIBAT's current thrust on ground adoption attaches a great deal of importance to the subject of information, this time, to meet the challenge of linking work on the ground with influencing policy development.


Aux Philippines, la promotion de l'agriculture durable et des technologies appropri est plute fait d'initiatives priv que de la politique officielle. Tandis que le gouvernement mise sur les monocultures et les engrais chimiques, un grand nombre d'ONG et de groupements villageois se vent formpour dndre l'environnement et l'agriculture organique. Le rau SIBAT veut dlopper les modes culturales traditionnelles. Il a on actif l'organisation de snaires et d'ateliers et des mesures encourageant la crion de barques de semences villageoises en vue de prrver le patrimoine gtique pour l'agriculture.


En Filipinas, el empleo de mdos agropecuarios con efecto sostenible y el uso de tecnolog apropiadas se promueve mbien mediante iniciativas privadas que por intermedio de la polca oficial. Mientras que el gobierno apoya fuertemente el empleo de monocultivos y el uso de sustancias qucas, se hen formado gran cantidad de ONGs y grupos a nivel de los pueblos, los cuales se orientan hacia la utilizacie mdos ecolos y al fomento de la agricultura orgca. La red SIBAT incentiva primordialmente el uso de los mdos de cultivo tradicionales. SIBAT organiza seminarios y talleres, y promueve especialmente la creacie bancos de semillas a nivel de pueblos, a fin de preserver los recursos gencos de la agriculture.

Financing and commercialising solar energy activities

Second solar energy seminar for South and East Asia in Yunnan

by John O'Donoghue

On account of its geographical conditions, South and East Asia has an enormous renewable energy potential. Delegates to a solar energy seminar in Yunnan stressed the importance of financing strategies and a clear definition of consumer needs for solar energy system manufacturers.

The first solar energy seminar for South and East Asia, highlighting the "Prospects for Photovoltaic Systems in Thailand and Neighbouring Countries", was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 1994. This event allowed an exchange of relevant information on solar energy applications that were in use or planned by the respective countries within the region. This seminar generally recognised that solar energy technologies were significantly mature, pragmatic, environmentally sound, and highly appropriate for indigenous local conditions. However, within an all but favourable setting, they were only marginally delivering the commercialisation they promised.

The second seminar, "Financing and Commercialization of Solar Energy Activities in South and East Asia" was held in Yunnan Province in the People's Republic of China from August 26-30, 1996. Its rationale was to focus on the potentials and constraints to achieve commercialisation of selected solar energy technologies, particularly at a time when various activities are being proposed or nearing implementation within the region. This integral meeting point also further strengthened the existing close interregional linkages between the delegates, who have now formed a Council on Renewable Energy in the Mekong Region (CORE - cf. previous articles) allowing for a serious review of the requirements of elevating solar energy into a commercially favourable position across the region.

This second seminar was sponsored and organised by the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft (CDG), on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Yunnan Science and Technology Commission, the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of Yunnan (ISTIY) and the Council on Renewable Energy for the Mekong Region, in co-operation with the Regional Information Service Centre for South East Asia on Appropriate Technology (RISE-AT) and the Solar Energy Research and Training Centre (SERT), Thailand. Additional support was provided by a number of private institutions, including the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Interpark Ltd. and Deutsche Aerospace.

Financing strategies

There were 70 delegates from ministries and institutes of energy, experts from research institutions, project planners, solar energy companies and distributors, representatives from financing and development planning institutions. They represented the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia, the People's Republic of China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Philippines, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Republic of Indonesia, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Finland, Australia, the USA and the Federal Republic of Germany.

The seminar strongly emphasised financing strategies and proven mechanisms that are already in place within the South and East Asian region and have encouraged the dissemination of solar energy technologies in some countries with closely-related social, economic and environmental conditions. Presentations highlighted establishing ways to pursue sustainable development goals by identifying, evaluating and financing solar energy activities, and by viewing project risks and feasible financing structures to direct funds from users to suppliers.

The delegates of the seminar concluded that solar energy was the only known technology with global potential to ensure a sustainable energy supply in the long term. There is an enormous renewable energy potential in South and East Asia due to the geographical conditions of the region and the fact that large proportions of population who still do not have access to regular energy supply. Solar electricity has special advantages as a modular technology: it can be generated in small stand-alone systems for individual households, as well as in electricity generation units on larger power grids. The responsibility for the extra costs of solar energy devices arising from small production quantities should be carried globally, since the scale-up of photovoltaic manufacturing serves the future sustainable energy supply globally. Simultaneously, the provision of well-established joint programmes among the South and East Asian Countries will have a far stronger influence on an international forum than any individual project alone.

With limited and diminishing fossil fuel sources, greater awareness to decision makers is extremely important in considering the use of renewable energy resources, not only as a technology for remote rural areas, but also as a mature technology to be applied on a wider scale. Basic financing structures for the establishment of solar energy should be developed as an integral part of implementing national energy plans. Greater awareness of such alternative energy solutions is unlikely to emerge from in- country institutions.

Private sector initiatives should be encouraged to activate project development into the existing institutional and policy framework. Delegates agreed on the future task of combining existing bilateral and multilateral financing instruments in order to introduce and disseminate large numbers of decentralised solar energy systems in rural areas, as well as large installations for urban and industrial energy supply. They will approach their respective governments as well as donor agencies for the provision of equity and loans for setting up rural energy service companies. Where financing institutions and banks are restricted from granting loans to users and manufacturers of solar energy systems, the respective countries and responsible agencies should attempt to harmonise their legal and financing instruments with a view to promoting solar energy activities.

Well-defined consumer needs

Solar energy system manufacturers and suppliers are asked to provide comprehensive energy services adopted to well-defined consumer needs, and not only to sell energy technology. This requires an exact matching of climatic conditions, system layout and expected energy services. However, the approach needs a supportive governmental regulation system, as well as services with tailored financing mechanisms.

It was also noted that the responsible institutions for the application, promotion, planning, and financing for solar energy are unclear, overlapping and scattered. Thus it would appear to suggest itself that the responsible bodies point out the institutions for these areas to enable a better understanding of the relevant channels to streamline efforts for project initiation and development. Mutual co-operation, the exchange of know-how, as well as the promotion of programme activities for supporting renewable energy technologies among the CORE countries should be further strengthened. Appropriate communication technologies, such as electronic mail, discussion groups and document distribution should be established.

Neighbouring CORE member countries expressed their sincere intention to continue co-operation and exchange information for ongoing and future activities in the field of solar energy development and promotion in South and East Asia.

Besides regional cooperation amongst the countries in South and East Asia, delegates would also welcome the setting-up of National and Local Energy Fora to create public awareness among policy makers, promote the application of solar energy technology, elaborate positive framework conditions, and foster human resource capabilities.

A third seminar focusing on the application of solar energy for South and East Asia has been proposed to take place in Hanoi, SR Vietnam, in 1997.

Making use of a new medium

CD-ROM and documentation needs of NGOs

by Ferdinand Soethe

In many parts of the world "CD" has become a synonym for easy-to-use tiny, silver disks that store hours of music. The qualities of these disks have found another use after they were discovered as a cheap and reliable medium for mass storage of all kinds of computer data. CD -ROM - " Compact disk as read only memory" - has become a standard feature of most new computers. Time to see how useful this technology can be for NGOs' information publishing needs.

In contrast to the old fashioned LP records, the CD is a digital medium. Anything that you want to store on a CD needs to be converted into the binary language of 1s and 0s. When storing computer data this is very convenient, since the computer handles data in a very similar way. The information you put on a CD is physically stored as a long line of indentations and exaltations (called "pits" and "lands") in a reflective layer just below the clear coated surface of the disk. To restore that information later on, aweak laser beam is run along this spiral of pits and lands, and the reflected light is measured by a light sensing device whose output will then be converted to digital information.

Hardier than floppies

Because information is virtually engraved on the CD and read by a purely optical process, playing back a CD will not deteriorate the medium at all. As long as they are handled carefully, CDs have an almost unlimited lifetime. Since magnetism is not involved it is also safe to store and use CDs close to strong magnetic fields. And while floppy disks suffer badly from spilled liquids or dust, a CD-ROM can easily be wiped off or rinsed with clean water.

CD in real world computing

Like most new technologies, the use of CD-ROMs started out as a creative chaos of competing technologies. While the physical structure of the disks is practically identical and can be read by every CD-ROM drive in any kind of computer, different manufacturers tried to establish their concepts of storing data within the available space. As a result, for a long time, there was no guarantee that any given computer and operating system would be able to read the data that you had recorded on a CD-ROM.

Meanwhile, thanks to a number of well established standards and quasi-standards, CD-ROMs have become one of the most easily exchangable media for computer data. As a matter of fact, the same data on a CD, when properly prepared, can be used by most known computers and operating systems. But keep in mind that information on a CD-ROM can be recorded in a number of different ways depending on your goals and preferences, the type of information you want to store, and how it will be retrieved. The following list mentions just a few of these to give you an idea:

- CD-DA: The recording format of the digital audio disk. - ISO 9660: A general purpose format for storing all kinds of computer data.

- Photo CD: Developed by Kodak and Philips to store digital images in number of different resolutions.

ISO 9660 the "Workhorse Format"

Today, the most important of these standards is ISO 9660. Created with the backing of major players in the computer industry and later established as an international norm, ISO 9660 describes a technical format that allows you to store up to 650 Megabytes (MB) of computer files on a single CD-ROM.

Like the file systems of all major operating systems, this space can be subdivided into up to eight levels of directories and subdirectories which contain the individual files. Note that there are restrictions on the character set and the maximum length of file and directory names to ensure that the files can be read and used in all environments.

Practical applications

The practical uses of CD-ROMs are numerous, reaching from publishing information through backing up data to exchanging complete preconfigured software setups between the different offices of an organisation.

The most important use for NGOs today, however, is probably information publishing. So let's focus on this and narrow it down even further to the key aspects of publishing text and image information. In doing so I deliberately exclude the high end multimedia publishing of video and audio information. For one thing because software and hardware as well as the knowhow required is beyond most NGOs today. And secondly because there is a new and better solution for these applications (the Digital Video Disk) that is just about to become a new standard.

Publishing text and images on CD-ROM

There are three major techniques to publish information on a CD-ROM.

- In the file-based approach you create a logical strucure of directories and subdirectories and store the information as files in the different directories. By placing an additional table of content-files in each directory, the user of CD-ROMs can find the required information.

- In a second approach, all information is placed in some form of database, which allows quick and easy access to the information and helps the user to access the information in different ways.

- Using Word Wide Web technologies as a third way you can combine the simplicity of the first with much of the powers of the second approach. The strength of the file-based approach is its simplicity and the fact that very little software is required. If all you have is text, it might be sufficient to export it as simple ASCII-text files from your word processor, create the table of content files and you are done. The user of the CD could then use any kind of text-viewer or word processor to access the information.


But there are clear limits to this approach. Searchability of the information is one of the problems that you will encounter along the way. While you can easily write and include software on the CD that will do full text file searches of the content, keep in mind that you might be searching some 650 MB of information. So unless you are dealing with extremely patient users, a simple search programme just won't be good enough.

The database-oriented approach can solve this problem. Unfortunately most cheap and easy-to-use database programmes are only available for one operating system. And while ISO 9660 allows access to the files on a CD-ROM from different operating systems, it does not make software programmes run in different environments. A standard solution to this problem is to include different versions of the software for each operating system. But be aware that you might have to pay a lot more to find a solution that is easy to use, performs well and provides viewer-software for most major operating systems. And please note that a standard user licence for most database packages will not grant you the right to hand out the software to all your CD clients.

Using technologies of the Word Wide Web on a local CD-ROM can be an elegant and free solution to this problem. Presenting your information in HTML, the document format of the World Wide Web, not only can you enhance your text with most features of a modern word processor (fontstyles, headlines, tables etc) but you can also integrate images and even interactive components. And because HTML was conceived in the heterogeneous environment of the Internet, there is free viewer-software (called a "browser") to view, use and print the content for most operating systems and hardware platforms.

Interconnecting documents

In addition to these tempting options, HTML allows you to interconnect your documents with clickable links (pieces of text or images that when clicked will take you to another document). This is a very easy way to establish crossreferences, active tables of content and even clickable keyword indexes. With some more effort you can even use free full text indexing technology (i.e. WAIS) to provide full text retrieval of the documents on your CD-ROM.

Because the World Wide Web and HTML have become so popular, HTML is also understood by most modern word processors, so that carefully prepared documents on your CD can be easily re-used without losing the layout.

Think about copy protection

When chosing your publication method, consider that data on a CD-ROM is just as easily copied as a file on a hard disk. If you need to keep people from "reusing" your data in a number of inventive ways, you'll have to figure out some copy protection scheme.

With file-based systems, copy protection is quite difficult, and although you can use encryption schemes, that often takes away the simplicity of this approach. An easier way to achieve reliable protection is to use a customised database software and disable the mechanisms to extract information (Save to file, copy to clipboard etc.). Consider that it is often sufficient to prevent users from extracting all the information while still allowing excerpts.

Manufacturing a CD-ROM

The preparation of content always takes place on conventional media such as hard disks. Consider that you'll need at least as much free space on your hard disk as you want to store on your CD-ROM.

Industrial production
Once the information is on your computer, production of the actual CD can happen in two different ways: You can burn your own or have a CD factory do it for you.

Since CD-ROM and Audio CDs have the same physical format, you can take advantage of the facilities of the music industry and have your CDs produced alongside Beethoven and Madonna. As you can see in the flowchart, all you really have to do is deliver the data to the company and check the intermediate and final versions.

In terms of price and production time this is an interesting option as soon as you need more than 40 copies of your CD. Since the process is optimised for mass production, cost will drop significantly with higher volumes (500 or more) and often get close to the cost of replicating a floppy disk (while providing 500 times more space).

As an additional benefit, most production facilities will also take care of printing a label on your CD and package the disk in the square jewel boxes that you know from audio CDs. If your intended audience is spread all over the globe, enquire about alternative packaging that is lighter and can be shipped more cheaply.

"Burn your own"

"Burning" or "mastering" your own CD's is a technology that has just now become affordable as the prices for the recording "CD-R"drives and premastering software have dropped well below US$ 1,000. Note that you always need premastering software because you can't just copy files to the disk with your operating systems.

After the data has been prepared for writing with the premastering software, pretty well all you have to do is insert a blank disk (about US$7) in the CD-R drive, start the recording process and wait about 30 minutes for it to finish. Of course you'll still need to label the disk, but otherwise this process will turn out a perfectly normal CD that can be read in any CD-ROM drive. To find out more details about burning your own CD, the drives and the software, take a look at PC Magazine Vol 15 No 7 (April 1996).

Get one anyway

Apart from the above mentioned uses, a CD-R can be useful in a number of other ways:

- Used as a backup medium, it is a very reliable medium with an extremely long life time.

- Doing your own premastering, you can save time and money in mass-production by delivering a finished and tested master CD to the factory.

- If you need to ship larger amounts of data, you can create a single CD and avoid all the problems of incompatible tape streamers or backupsoftware.

Consider the Multisession CD

If you decide to purchase a CD-R drive, try getting a drive and software that can handle multiple sessions. In practical terms this means that you can store some files on the CD, use it for a while and add more data in further "sessions" later on. You might even allow others to add a session with their own CD-R drive and return the CD to you before you add the final session that locks and write protects the CD for good.

Co-produce and save

Note however that some older CD drives might not be able to read anything but the first of these sessions. So if you are aiming at a wider audience, you'd probably want to create a single session CD for the final distribution.

Co-producing a CD can be an attractive option. Most NGOs won't need 650 MB of space for their information. So why not get together with other groups and share a disk. The benefits of such a joint venture speak for themselves:

- Because of the higher numbers of CDs you can probably go for factory production and cut your cost per disk.

- If you need database solutions and agree on a software, you will probably get a much better deal.

- Since every NGO reaches a different audience, your information will likely be seen by far more people.

And even if you are planning to sell your information for more than just replication cost, this approach is still viable. Just use a software that allows a user to unlock "your" part of a CD with a password that she needs to purchase from you.


Reading the introduction above will hopefully give you a basic understanding what CD-ROM publishing is about.

However, it does not answer a number of questions you need to ask to determine if this is a useful technology for your organisation. To 11st just a few you need to find out - if you really need to publish large volumes of information that justify the technology If the information can be distributed on a few floppy disks, think twice before using a CD. I was able to publish all important documents from the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna and its preparatory conferences on less than five floppy disks. - if a majority of your audience already has a CD-ROM drive or is planning to get one in the near future. If not, the increased cost of smaller print runs can easily eat up any savings you achieve with your CDs.

And finally, please do consider the impact on resources and the environment. Although a CD can theoretically save some 300,000 pages of printed paper, you often use just a fraction of that space while the high environmental impact of producing media and drives remains the same. Floppy disks can be reused many times and paper can be recycled to paper; an outdated CD may at best become a jewel case, while it normally ends up as long life garbage.

A practical example

Let's say you have worked for an umbrella organisation of 40 human rights groups around the world. For the annual conference you need to prepare a reader with a large number of papers and background information.

Because of the amount of material it seems impractical to send the reader by e-mail, so you decide to create a CD-ROM in order to save on printing and shipping. In an attempt to simplify your work, you appeal to all participants to send their contributions by e-mail or on disk and to use one of a few previously established document formats (i.e. ASCII-Text, Winword 5, HTML). Contributions that arrive in printed form are scanned and converted to text and images.

You are planning to publish the information on CD -ROM and also offer it on the World Wide Web. So you opt for HTML and convert all documents to HTML pages with text and images. As the deadline draws closer, you create a new directory tree on your hard disks and think up a logical directory structure for storing the individual documents.

Next you connect to the internet and download the current version of a free WWW viewer-software (i.e. Mosaic) for every operating system that your readers use. Each package is placed in a seperate subdirectory, and perhaps you'll add some instructions for installing the individual version. Don't forget to add a page that lists all the different versions and tells your reader which one to install on her operating system.

Once all documents are in place you add a number of overview documents (also in HTML) that allow access to the information by mouseclick and offer different access routes (i.e. by organisation, subject, region, etc). Since you have planned well there is time left to add additional cross-references between different documents and further enhance the informational content of the disk.

Now you can create the CDs. Since there are not too many participants you decide to produce all of them on your CD-R drive and use the multi session technique to be able to add more later on. You include a note asking participants to bring the CDs with them to the conference.
Then you place the materials on your World Wide Web Server to reach an even wider audience. Because the documents were prepared using World Wide Web technologies, you can do that with out much extra work. Once the conference has begun, you start gathering the reports of the working groups and store them in your computer for further processing. Your first reader probably didn't take up the whole 650 MB capacity of the CDs. So you can offer to update the original reader disk and add the information from the conference in a second session.

When preparing the new material for the update you have the choice of just adding new documents or replacing some of them with modified versions. That way you can completely integrate the new documents with the previous reader.

When you're done, all you have to do is write the new information as the final session to the CD-ROM to obtain a completely write protected CD and mail it to the participants.

How to handle your CD-Rom

Although CDs are insensitive to many foes of the floppy disk, the tiny silver disks are by no means indestructible, and should be handled with great car. To ensure the uninhibited passing of the laser beam throughout the clear top (or rather bottom) layers of the disk, it is of utmost importance to protect the clear coating layer against scratching and abrasion.

The best way to achieve this is to always store the CDs in a clean box when they are not in use. If you use a small number of CDs frequently, consider getting a drive that uses so-called "caddies". Instead of handling the bare CD - ROM; each CD is permantly stored in a caddy and inserted with it into the drive, thus avoiding wear and scratching.

If your CD gets just a bit dusty or somebody has left fingerprints on the surface, you can usually wipe it with a clean, soft piece of cloth. Just make sure to always wipe the CD in a radial movement from the centre to the rim because if you happen to scratch the surface, the error correction of a CD can deal much better with scratches in this direction.

Creating a CD-ROM

A mighty force

The activities of KSSP, Kerala's People's Science Movement

by Uwe Hoering

KSSP started bringing science back to the people of Kerala by publishing scientific material in the local Malayalee language. It has since staged a large variety of activities aimed at combatting superstition and resignation.

The people of Ulloor are on the ball. They have drawn a map of their village and the surrounding district with details of houses, huts and paths. They are establishing how the land can be utilised and what water supply problems they will have to tackle. They are counselled and supervised by soil scientists and cartographers of Kerala's state land use authority. Their survey of the available sources of the land, water and vegetation forms the foundation for future development planning.

Leaving the drawing up of a resources map to the villagers themselves is typical of the Kerala Sastra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP), Kerala's People's Science Movement. Ever since it was set up in the sixties, it has been involved in getting science and technology out of the ivory tower and circles of experts and "bringing it back to the everyday life of everyday people, its creators and beneficiaries», as K.K. Krishnakumar puts it.

"We are convinced that science is a powerful force that will boost changes in society," says Mr Krishnakumar, who is an engineer of the State Planning Authority in Thiruvananthapuram; the capital of Kerala and has been a member of KSSP ever since its inception. Just like him, and regardless of their political affiliations, many technicians, scientists, doctors, jurists and teachers support the People's Science Movement and its basic conviction that scientific enlightenment is a potent remedy against superstition, religious prejudice, nationalist fanaticism and helpless resignation to existing problems.

Scientific material in the local language

The first step was to publish scientific material which had hitherto been available exclusively in English in the local language of Malayalee. The Malayalee publications are not at all expensive, and are written in a clear and straightforward style. They cover Darwin's theory of evolution and agricultural production methods, education and health and the envioronment and technology. There are an encyclopaedia for lay-people, a children's magazine called Eureka, "Sastra Kerala", a periodical for juveniles and a host of novels, dramas and science fiction books.

However, the " People's Science Movement» made a point of actually entering the villages. In order to improve the teaching of natural sciences in rural areas, it organised courses for natural history teachers, donated material and equipment for physics and chemistry lessons and supported "science clubs" at schools. Lectures were organised for the villagers, and discussion fore gave them the opportunity to work out solutions of their own to problems they were facing. This provided a counterbalance to top-down planning through authorities and companies. «Before, people used to believe that science and technology was only there for people who had studied,» says C.P. Narayan, KSSP's General Secretary.

The "Science and Culture Caravan", Sastra Kala Jatha, is an integral part of KSSP's activities, and forms their annual climax. "Theatre makes people inquisitive," says theatre producer Jos Chirammel. "It provides an impulse to reflect on one's own situation and that of society as a whole. » For several weeks, the lay theatre groups travel from village to village and school to school. Folk drama elements are cleverly combined with traditional story-telling styles, folk myths and popular songs and film music, and they are filled with new contents. Topics addressed include discrimination against women and the exploitation of agricultural workers, the hazards of environmental destruction and nuclear weapons, and the significance of education and solidarity.
Some facts and figures

KSSP is India's largest science publisher. It has al- ready published 600 books and produces 30-40 new titles per year. Nearly 90 percent of its income derives from this activity.

KSSP has 60,000 members, 10,000 of whom are teachers. KSSP strives to raise both the standards and the commitment of teachers, and the achievement and enjoyment of learning of students.

The foundation of KSSP can be traced back to that of Science Literary Forum in 1957 by a group of concerned activists and science writers. Five years later KSSP, which literally means Science Writers' Forum of Kerala, was formally established.

Arming people with knowledge

The KSSP soon became a factor that parties, politics, industry and bureaucracy had to reckon with. It drew public attention to water pollution through industrial companies. And its sound criticism helped stop the planned errection of a reservoir dam in a rain forest area with a particularly rich biodiversity. «Our contribution was that of informing people," Mr Narayan explains. "Again and again, we can observe that people themselves become politically active once they have been armed, as it were, with knowledge.»

In arguing that environmental protection and development are not opposed to eachother but have to progress hand in hand, the KSSP played a pioneering role in India. But it also contributed to the fact that, unlike, the popularity of the Hindu nationalists has remained at a low level in Kerala. It campaigns for democracy and democratic decentralisation, and against the might of multinationals and the negative social impact of the economic liberalisation course the government in New Delhi has been pursuing for a number of years. "We are political in that we campaign for an improvement in living standards of the majority of the population, and for a widening of their knowledge and their cultural horizon," says Mr Narayan.

The literacy campaign that it ran by order of the state government in the mid-eighties was also about far more than reading and writing. "It is just as important to impart to people scientific concepts of our society, the universe, the world in the 20th century in which we are living and causes of backwardness. These are issues they are interested in,"says Mr Narayan.

Literacy campaign a model for NGOs

This has been underscored by their success. 20,000 volunteers, including housewives, salaried employees, fishermen and workers, were won over to run the courses. Five years later, Kerala announced that illiteracy was a thing of the past. The campaign became a model for several other NGOs throughout India.

TV competition

However, the "People's Science Movement" now has to orientate itself on television programmes. If an instalment of the "Ramayana", the film serial version of the popular Hindu epos, just happens to be showing on TV, then its events are only poorly attended, Ms Radhamani, a staff member of the KSSP, complains. Even in the most remote hamlets, glamorous soap operas and adverts are attracting people to the television. This means serious competition for debating societies, books and street theatres.

Contact addresses:
Kerala Sastra
Sahithya Parishat
Paryshat Bhavan,
Guruvayur Road
Thrissur- 680 004
Kerala State, India
Tel.: +91 (0)487381084
Fax.: +91 (0)487331505
General Secretary (home):
Tel.: + 91 (0) 4 88 82 35 75

Turning industrial waste into compost

A successful environmental-protection and resource-conservation project in Brazil

by Winfried Schmidt

Citrus farmers in the Vale do Cai region of Porto Alegre's hinterland who switched to ecofarming have set up their own company that is developing a method of turning organic waste from the region into compost by aerobic fermentation. The compost is to be distributed among the shareholders. Consultancy is being provided to the farmers via a GTZ-supported scheme.

Composting residues from the food industry is an economically viable approach to disposal and supplies ecofarmers with low-cost fertiliser for their citrus crops. The GTZ-assisted project in Brazil has succeeded in combining environmental protection with economic interests. The author describes how these successful measures took root.

Most foods consumed and exported by Brazil are produced and processed by the agro-industries in the Federal State of Rio Grande do Sul. Enormous dumps of organic waste are scattered over the State.

Enforcing stricter waste disposal legislation is not an easy task because the authorities are having difficulties in setting limits and ensuring that they are adhered to. Nor has it yet been possible to break the waste producers' resistance to disposing of the residues using the latest technology as this entails very high costs for them.

Problematic organic industrial waste

The state environmental authority FEPAM has set up a hazardous waste cadastre with the assistance of Technical Cooperation funds in which 383 large, medium and small-scale food and leather processing industries are registered in greater Porto Alegre alone. In most of these industries, organic waste from the production process is not being disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.

For example, TANAC and SETA, the producers of organic leather tanning agents, generate some 500,000 tons of acacia bark, a residue from tannin extraction, each year and dump it near the factory grounds. In one very serious case a dump was even established along a riverside in the outskirts of Montenegro without sealing the foundations, and since 1990 the urban groundwater there has been contaminated with lignin.

The state environmental authority FEPAM has declared the bark extract dump a contaminated site. Since 1995 operators wishing to prolong their operating licences have had to guarantee that residues from ongoing production be disposed of according to the latest state of the art and in the long term undertake to rehabilitate any contaminated sites generated in earlier production years.


The Vale do Cai region in Porto Alegre's immediate hinterland is a traditional citrus fruit growing area. Full time and part time farmers cultivate average cropping areas of 5 hectares, growing mandarines, lemons and oranges using conventional methods. The PRORENDA project, an assistance programme of German Technical Co-operation, is promoting small farmers in the Harmonia region. It gave the first impulses for setting up co-operatives and organising marketing in 1990.

In this context a group of mostly young citrus farmers decided to turn to eco-farming and gradually switched over their fruit plantations to less aggressive cropping methods without using mineral fertilisers and pesticides. They quickly realised that for the new farming system to be sustainable, artificial fertiliser must be replaced by high quality organic compost.

A parallel survey revealed that large volumes of organic residues from the agro-industries were dumped in the region. Pilot tests demonstrated that the residues could be transformed into organic compost without this requiring any large-scale technical input.

Organic waste composting project

The conditions were a favourable launching pad for the ECOCITRUS concept. Industries, for their part, were faced with the problem of coping with the new regulations to rehabilitate their contaminated sites and organise appropriate disposal paths for everyday production waste. A group of committed ecofarmers on the other hand, was working to obtain approval to use these waste products as raw material for their composting process.

The ECOCITRUS group established itself as a company with the goal of turning organic waste from the region into compost by aerobic fermentation. The articles of association underlined the company's non-profit-making goals. The final product - the compost - is to be distributed amongst the share-holders, enabling them to save the high costs for mineral fertiliser.

The organic products obtained are expected to be an impulse for the market. Initial surveys indicate that organic citrus fruits fetch a high price on the Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo markets.

The group rented a 3.4 hectare site. The 20 shareholders levelled and compacted the ground themselves, built a collecting tank for the surface water and a sealed basin for the liquid fruit pulp, a component of the composting process. To date, the company associates have covered the operating costs by a monthly membership fee of 150 Real (approx. DM 230).

The GTZ-assisted "Environmental and Resource Protection FEPAM" project provided consultancy to the farmers during the experimental phase. Long-term and shortterm experts gave technical assistance on designing the plantsite and optimising the composting process.

The composting process

The chief ingredients of the compost (expressed as m³ per year) are: 50,000 m³ acacia bark, 6,000 m³ ash, 4,000 m³ charcoal, 3,000 m³ fruit pulp from orange juice manufacturing and 2,000 m³ paunch contents and other slaughterhouse waste. The organic wastes are moistened with the fruit pulp, mixed and deposited in 1.5 m high triangular stocks. Although the addition of fruit pulp with pH-value 5 hinders the composting process at the beginning, this problem is remedied by adding ash from burned acacia wood. The alkaline ash raises the pH-value to 6-7, which is suitable for composting. Absorptive charcoal binds any unpleasant odours generated when mixing the raw materials and during the composting process itself. Thanks to the high proportion of bark sufficient structural material is available, the oxygen supply is adequate and surplus heat is ventilated from the centre of the stock.

These two processes (oxygen supply and heat removal) are vital to composting and are supported by perforated plastic pipes sunk vertically into the stock. Once prepared, the stocks are covered with a layer of acacia bark to stop any unpleasant odours from escaping and to protect the composting material from drying out or becoming too wet depending on the weather. When the stock content is turned over, the moisture content can be regulated, if necessary, by adding water from the rain collection tanks. The rotting process takes 6 - 9 months depending on the season.

Promising results

The first results are very promising. The quality control of the initial compost series gave the following values: moisture content 40 %, organic content 40%, C/N ratio 10/1, nitrogen content 2%. The pure organic compost obtained does not contain heavy metals or other pollutants.

ECOCITRUS is presently tackling the problem of reducing the turn-around time of the material in the compost yard and ensuring that the high volumes of material are processed better and more efficiently. 21,000 tons of organic compost have been produced to date-enough to provide organic fertiliser for 400 hectares of citrus plantations.

Popularising neem as an insecticide

Socio-economic factors influence farmers' use of neem

by Carsten Hellpap and Wilfried Leupolz

The neem tree (Azardirachta indica) originally native to southeast and southern Asia has been introduced to almost all tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. Considering the neem's high potential as a natural insecticide, GTZ has supported several projects to popularize the use of neem for pest control in different countries such as the Dominican Republic, Ecuador (cf "gate" 4/90, pp 25-27), Niger, Togo, Benin, Senegal, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

The projects generally targeted farmers poor in resources, as they are most needy of support in improving their production techniques.

Neem offers a particularly promising and appropriate plant protection method for this group as it requires no financial inputs, causes no health hazards and is ecologically sound.

Consequently, project activities concentrated on homemade neem products such as neem-seed water extract and neem oil and put only minor emphasis on industrially-produced extracts which are too expensive. Extension work consisted of personal advice to pilot farmers, talks to farmer groups, leaflets, posters and demonstration plots.

Slow dissemination

The major results of the project efforts have been the planting of hundreds of thousands of neem trees in rural areas, a tremendous increase In research and development activities on neem worldwide and the introduction of neem at farm level. In all project countries there are now about 50 to 500 farmers regularly applying neem preparations as insecticide. They are the focus for the dissemination of neem technology. However, neem is not likely to become a common pest control method for most farmers in these countries in the near future as disseminating neem technology among farmers is a slow process.

When analysing the reasons for the slow adoption the following basic factors should be examined, as they determine to a large degree the prospects for the sustainable use of home-made neem insecticides:

· availability and cost of raw materials,
· quality and effectiveness of the preparation, application rate of the raw material,
· requirements of labour, technology, capital, energy and know-how and
· access to and attitude towards synthetic pesticides.

In many sub-tropical/semiarid countries of Africa and Asia, neem trees are in abundant supply, but they are relatively scarce in Latin America. Neem grows primarily in dry regions and is often not found in the more humid vegetable-growing areas which are specially suitable for neem insecticide applications. Increased use of neem is only possible, therefore, if a structure for marketing neem raw materials already exists. This precondition is often not fulfilled or neem commercialisation is still in its initial stages.

Cost of the raw material varies

Neem seeds are far more expensive in Latin America than in Asia and Africa due to the different harvest methods used. In Africa and most Asian countries, birds and fruit bats feed on the fruit of the neem trees and the already depulped neem seeds can be collected from under the trees. In almost all Latin American countries, in contrast, seeds are not collected off the ground but gathered from the tree or pulled off the branches being cut. This method gives better quality seeds but is also more costly.

Even in Latin America home-made aqueous extracts of neem seeds bought directly from the picker (1 kg seed = 0.9 US$) are cheaper than synthetic insecticides. But if seeds have to be bought from traders (1 kg seed = 2 US$), the cost of the neem seed water extract becomes comparable to that of more expensive synthetic insecticides.

Active ingredients

The profitability and effectiveness of home-made neem products depend on the content of active ingredients in the raw material. Most important hereby is the triterpenoid Azadirachtin. The content of this ingredient in the seeds can vary between 0.1 and 0.5% even in seeds from the same plantation. It is not yet known which factors are decisive for the Azadirachtin concentration. varieties with exceptionally high active ingredient content have not been identified.

Nor are there any conclusive results of the effect of climatic factors and soil conditions. Another problem is the handling of the seeds. If not dried and stored properly they can easily turn mouldy, leading to a degradation of the active compounds and consequently to a drop in efficiency. To compensate for this, the farmer would have to apply higher amounts of the rotten seeds.

Technologically simple, but labour intensive

Despite the difficulties in obtaining high-quality raw materials, the efficiency of neem at farm level does not seem to be a general problem. According to an opinion poll among 124 farmers in Nicaragua, 74 % consider neem to be effective or very effective for controlling pests.

Home-made neem products can be prepared using simple technology not requiring any capital or energy. However, collecting and processing of neem seeds are labour intensive. An African farmer spends approximately 32 hours on these activities for a 1ha crop. His Latin American colleague needs even more time as fruit harvesting and processing are more labour intensive.

The neem harvest may compete for time with other important agricultural activities so that the farmer has to invest leisure time for the neem harvest. Many farmers are not able or willing to spend such an amount of time on their neem insecticide and prefer cheap synthetic insecticides or do not control their pests at all. They will only use neem if preprocessed or finished neem products are available at low prices.

Successful use of homemade products demands planning abilities and knowledge on the specific characteristics of neem. The neem seed harvest does not usually coincide with its use as insecticide. Farmers must therefore estimate in advance how much of raw material they require. Wrong calculations may cause a lot of work in vain or mean not having enough to sufficiently protect their crop.

Farmers have to know how to handle the seed so that it does not deteriorate. Also, neem differs from most other insecticides since it is not a contact poison. The active ingredients generally have to be ingested by the pest. Neem is only effective if the aqueous extract or the oil preparation completely cover the plants by thorough spraying. Neem has no knock-down effect. It kills insects slowly in several stages.

Farmers should know that neem is not effective against several sucking insect species. Considering these characteristics, neem is not a very simple pest control method. Many farmers will not obtain the expected results when applying neem for the first time. Training from extension officers and neem experts is expedient to avoid major failures.

Competition with synthetic pesticides

In conventional agriculture, neem preparations compete with other plant protection methods, especially synthetic insecticides. So acceptance of neem products depends heavily on the price policy for imported agricultural inputs. When synthetic pesticides are sold at low, subsidised prices, neem insecticides have barely a chance of being successful on the market.

The attitudes to use of neem are influenced by sociocultural factors such as values, norms and models for a better life and agricultural production in society. So neem will be more easily accepted in regions where farmers:

· have no strong negative attitude towards additional manual work,

· are aware of health and environmental problems of synthetic pesticides,

· are educated in school and have received additional training in integrated and ecological pest management,

· consider neem as a valuable natural resource not only as an insecticide but also as a source of medical preparations or cosmetic products.

The projects address farmers' attitudes

There is a correlation between economic aspects, socio-cultural constraints and acceptance of neem. Farmers who have a more disinterested attitude towards neem for socio-cultural reasons will only accept it if the economic benefit is high. The dissemination of neem is easier if the sociocultural constraints are low. In this case the economical advantage of the neem application can also be lower.

Projects therefore often aim at changing the socio-cultural conditions to facilitate the introduction of neem by, for example, increasing the awareness about the harmful effects of synthetic pesticides or training farmers in ecological pest control. Experiences to date show that for such a project strategy to be successful, it is not enough to work with pilot farmers alone, for the attitude of farmers towards new technologies is strongly influenced by the community they live in.

If farmers feel isolated and not supported by their families and by neighbors when applying neem they will hardly continue to use this method after the project finishes. Extension work on neem should always include the farmers' community too.

A most promising project strategy is to focus activities on regions where social cultural constraints are low and on crops or production systems in which neem applications have a clear economic advantage compared to other plant protection methods.


In the medium and long run it can be expected that socio-cultural and economic obstacles to neem use will diminish worldwide as:

· more and more cheap but highly toxic synthetic pesticides are taken from the market,

· farmers become increasingly aware about the health and environmental hazards of synthetic pesticides,

· the demand for pesticide free agricultural products grows, while contaminated products are less accepted by consumers,

· subsidies for synthetic pesticides decrease,

· farmers' knowledge about pest control improves and

· the availability of commercial neem products at reasonable prices increases.

The potential of neem will continue to be underutilised for several years until it can establish itself a common plant protection method in a more ecologically oriented agricultural production system.

Further information: Dr. Carsten Hellpap Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology (ISAT)
Deutsche Gesellschaft fhnische Zusammenarbeit GmbH
P.O.B. 5180
D 65726 Eschborn Germany
Tel.: ++ 49 6196-79-3188
Fax.: ++49 6196-79-7352

Dr. Wilfried Leupolz Finkhof
St. Ulrich Str. 1
D 88410 Arnach
Tel.: ++49-7564-931730
Fax.: ++49-7564-931712

More readiness to talk

The process of mutual dialogue is in progress

by Roland Seifert

Experience is gathered throughout the world every day. But often, additional know-how is required to actually change a given state of affairs. And individual insights might be of considerable use elsewhere. Clearly, dialogue is required between those with a problem and those with a solution to it.

In sugar cane processing in Columbia, bagasse is sent straight back into the ovens once it has been pressed. The pressed and still damp sugar canes are burnt and thus transformed into energy that is required for the process as a whole. This method has been steadily refined over the years in Columbia. But in Haiti, where sugar cane is also processed, it used to be unknown. The ovens used there were unsuitable for the method. Instead, valuable timber resources were used as fuel. It was only through mutual contact that an important technology transfer was facilitated.

The Brazilian agronomist R Trier discovers Moringa oleifera, an unusual plant, at a workshop in Burkina Faso. He finds the effects of the plant baffling. Its seeds clear cloudy, polluted water and show the same results as aluminium sulphate. But it is precisely this chemical substratum that is beyond people's means in the northeast of Brazil. The smallholders of the Caatinga scoop their drinking water out of pools they have dug themselves. It is brown and is organically polluted. Impressed with the effects of Moringa oleifera, R Trier starts initial cultivation trials with seed from Africa in co-operation with the NGO AS- PTA (Assessoria e servicos a projetos em agriculture alternative). Insights that have been gathered are imparted to the people of the Caatinga during a workshop, and they are also shown how to handle the seed.

One technology had a long way to travel in the eighties. It all started in China. In order to develop self-sufficient solutions to waste water problems, biogas technology was already promoted in China at a very early stage. This technology attracted attention in Tanzania. Small biogas plants were set up, modified and adapted to local conditions. However, improvements in the burner and construction technology then led to a breakthrough not only in Tanzania, but also in Thailand. It was above all in rural areas that biogas proved more and more useful in cooking and as a substitute for kerosene and expensive bottled gas. Communal waste water treatment was adopted in the programme of the regional authorities and integrated in national energy policy.

Insights don't just spread like that

Throughout the world, different and individual experience is gathered every day. Often enough, it can serve to solve a certain problem without any further input. But much more frequently, there is a lack of know-how to reach a different, and better, state of affairs. Insights that have been gained at local level do not simply jump over to another region. Rather, dialogue is required between those that have a problem and those that can offer a solution. But how does the right information get to those who need it at the right time?

With the onset of the information society, information management is maturing more and more as an industrial branch in its own right. Commercial firms can compile smaller or larger information packages tailored to customers' needs and offer them to their clients at a respective price. Neither are there any limits to individual research. For information of all kinds can be obtained via a multitude of channels and media at any time. Computeraided data networks such as Internet extend access facilities.

However, unlike in the North, access to information is often restricted, and in rural areas, it is even more of a problem. Libraries are only located in the big, far-off cities. Newspapers and magazines cost money, and getting linked up with international data networks is only in very slow progress.

Setting up regional networks is one way of countering this problem. Under the motto "From the region - For the Region", the regional information network SIATA (Service Inter-Africain sur les Technologies Appropri) was set up in December 1993. It is an amalgamation of almost 150 West and Central African NGOs that have their headquarters in Ouagadoudou in Burkina Faso. SIATA sees itself as a knowledge silo, a "Grenier». And "Le Grenier" is the name of the network's journal. SIATA aims at integrating traditional knowledge from the region in its information and consulting services range. Also, emphasis is to be put on employing local experts for local consulting tasks.

Information for local manufacturers

SIATA can already boast success. Owing to the economic crisis in the region and the resulting depreciation of the Franc-CFA, most people cannot afford imported goods. Therefore, SIATA is facing a particularly high demand for information on the local manufacture of soaps and basic cosmetics. This also holds for jam making and fruit drying.

Transferring and imparting technological knowledge is also the object of another network based in Thailand, the Regional Information Service Center for South East Asia on Appropriate Technology. It is dealt with in detail in the Focus section of this gate edition. Just like RISE-AT, SIATA is supported by the Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology (ISAT). In their respective contexts, both networks aim at considering both technical aspects and the cultural, ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity of their regions. They have set themselves the task of providing information and consulting services in the field of technology. Of course there are many other organisations that pursue similar goals.

In Latin America, networks can boast a long-standing tradition. The region disposes of a large number of networks in areas such as medicinal plants, credit systems, adult education and agriculture. And there is the Experts Network for Locally Appropriate Agriculture (Movimiento Agroecologico de America Latina y el caribe). It is the purpose of this network to promote a new development network that is socially just, ecologically sustainable and economically viable, that respects cultural diversity and is based on the participation of the people.

A new process

The above examples do not demonstrate a status quo. Rather, they indicate a process that is in progress in the countries of the South. Without a transfer of know-how, the sugar cane farmers in Haiti could still be burning up important timber reserves, and the effects of the Moringa oleifera plant would still be just as little known in Brazil as biogas technology in Tanzania and Thailand. It is only the establishment of local technological competence that can support this process. It requires close technical and organisational collaboration at regional level as well as the readiness to engage in mutual dialogue.

From welfare to entrepreneurs Kenyan lecturer wins writers' competition

Nairobi - Regina Kagera, a lecturer at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, has won the second Intermediate Technology Small Enterprise Development Journal writers' competition.

Her article "From Welfare to Small-scale business in Kenya" looked at how traditional women's groups in Kenya enable women to move from survival-based activities, such as casual labour, to fullyfledged group enterprises, involving innovation, capital accumulation and risk-taking.

Small profits from the beginning of the group's activities were re-invested in traditional farming activities, such as goat-rearing, and when they were successful, they were sometimes followed by diversification into new areas identified by the group as having potential, such as brick making.

One group started with casual farm labour, and having gained confidence and savings, identified a local demand for bricks and building blocks, brought in previously from outside the area. The women discovered how to produce the bricks and blocks, and became the sole supplier in the area.

Another group started with church work and casual labour, before branching out by running an ox and plough contracting service. What Kagera demonstrates through these examples is the ability of such groups to perform the entrepreneurial functions of innovation, production, marketing, capital formation and reinvestment.


The Humanity & Academia CD-Rom Project

Bringing a complete cd-rom library set containing 3000 essential development publications
to You ... and to every pc/ cd-rom drive in any developing country at 50 US$ or less

... this full cd-rom library will be available from July '97 on. Meanwhile, we welcome your help, feedback, expertise and publications.

The Humanity & Academia CD-Rom Project aims at massive information diffusion to developing countries. Low cost userfriendly cd-roms bypass telecommunication costs and problems. They have enormous storage capacity and offer the advantage of decentralisation of information and the stimulation of quality and entrepreneurship at individual or group levels. There are already 50 million pc's with cd-rom drives worldwide, of which about 15% in developing countries and 0,4 % in Africa. In the year 2000 alone, it is expected 115 million pc's, of which most with cd-rom drives, will be shipped worldwide. (Source: Dataquest)

We invite your organization to co-create the "CD-Rom Library for Sustainable Development", which will be made available to all persons/ businesses/ groupings with a pc/ cd-rom drive in the developing world at 50 US$ or less. Once this "critical mass" is created, this set can be supplemented with other lowcost development, technical or scientific cd-roms for more specialized use. We have the software, editing resources and a Beta prerelease cd-rom with 100 publications. Our next version in November '96 will contain 300/400 books. We welcome your participation, expertise and publications. Your books, relevant out-of print publications and magazine back issues can be scanned, edited and added on the next us at very low cost. Please contact us or visit our web site for more information.

Contact: Dr Michel Loots, project director Humanity and Academia CD-Rom Project c/o Human Info NGO /HumanityCD bvba Oosterveldlaun 196 - B-2610 Antwerpen Belgium tel 32-3- 448.05.54 - Fax 32-3-449.75.74 E-mail: - Visit our Internet web site:

Internet adresses

This website provides links to information from South East Asia including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Cambodia. WWWVLPages/Asian

Pages/AsianE-Journals.htm I Register of Asian & Pacific Studies Electronic Journals.

Keeps track of over 100 online serials for Asian and Pacific Studies researchers.

Provides a wide range of information on Cambodia.

This website provides information leaflets, project profiles, and news releases of the Asian Development Bank. There is also a page on Environmental Impact Assessments of Bank-supported projects in the Asia Pacific region.[n/c ommdb/list/c15.htm

Brief information on ISAT's Thai co-operation partner ATA.


Community Water Development

Edited by Charles Kerr.

Intermediate Technology Publications, London (UK) 1989.280 pp.

ISBN 0-94668-8230. £ 12.95 This collection of articles compiled from the Waterlines and Appropriate Technology Journals covers the following areas: Sources of Water, Abstraction, Pumping and Distribution, and Training and Maintenance, and is an excellent training guide.

Management of Medical Waste

National Conservation Strategy Co-ordinating Agency/GTZ: Study on the Management of Medical Wastes.

NCSA, Gaborone (Botswana),1996.183 pp. (The National Conservation Strategy Co-ordinating Agency NCSA, Private Bag 0068, Gaborone, Botswana).

Several waste streams have been subjects of consultancy studies, including medical, metal and oily waste streams. This report deals with medical wastes in Botswana, addressing their appropriate and relevant disposal methods. The recommendations were developed through technical consultations between interested and affected parties from clinics and hospitals in Botswana and the Ministry of Health.

International Rivers Network

International Rivers Network (IRN): A Directory of NGOs, Activists and Experts Working on River and Watershed Issues Around the World.

IRN, Berkeley (USA), 1996. 66pp. 20 US$. (International Rivers Network IRN, 1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, Ca 94703, USA).

Lists groups and activists from the USA and other countries with information on their address, phone, fax and e-mail, if available.

Environmental handbook now in four languages

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ): Documentation on monitoring and evaluating environmental impacts, Volumes I-III.

GTZ/Vieweg, 1995.

In addition to the English (e) and German (g) editions, the French (f) and Spanish (s) versions of this book are now available. They can be ordered from the publisher, Vieweg Verlag in Leverkusen.

Volume I e: ISBN 3-52802306-6; f: 3-528-02310-4; s: 3-528-02314-7;
Volume II e: ISBN 3-52802307-4; f: 3-528-02311-2; s: 3-528-02315-5;
Volume III e: ISBN 3-52802308-2; f: 3-528-02312-0; s: 3-52802316-3
Volumes I-III e: ISBN 3-52802309-0 f: 3-528-02313-9; s: 3-528-02317-1

Prices, for each language:

Volume I: DM 78; 577; Sfr 73; US$56
Volume II: DM 86; 637; Sfr 81; US$ 62
Volume III: DM 82; 607; Sfr 77; US$ 59
Volumes I-III: DM 240; 1,776; Sfr 226; US$ 170

The handbook is aimed at those engaged in examining the environmental relevance of specific sectors or activities. The sixty environmental briefs in Volumes I and II provide environmental impacts and known environmental protection measures. Volume III gives an overview of the many environmental parameters and standards applicable in different countries.

Non-Governmental Organisations

Michael Edwards and David Hulme: Non Governmental Organisations - Performance and Accountability. Beyond the Magic Bullet.

Earthscan, London (UK) 1995.259 pp, ISBN: 1-85383310-X. £ 9.95. (Earthscan Publications, 120 Pentonville Road, London N1 9NJ, UK).

The last decade has seen significant changes in international development and in the status of NGOs working in the field. Not only has the number of NGOs virtually doubled; many of them have seen a considerable growth in their budgets, and have grown closer to governments and official aid agencies. NGOs are acknowledged by many to be more effective agents of development than governments or commercial interests.

Despite this positive trend, the real impact of the NGO sector is still not well documented. This is partly because NGOs' performance-assessment and accountability methods are weak, and partly because NGOs are caught up increasingly in the world of official aid.

This book takes a hard and critical look at these issues and describes how NGOs can, and must, improve the way they measure and account for their performances if they are to be truly effective.

Next issue

gate 1/97

Previous editions of gate have already been devoted to cotton. In gate 1 /97, the emphasis will be on agricultural aspects of ecologically grown cotton, with coverage of various NGO projects. Issues such as cultivation methods and dyeing with natural dyes will be discussed, and we will look at relevant European Union regulations and marketing potentials.

GATE HomePage

Unfortunately, visitors to our HomePage have not been able to send messages direct to GATE because of technical problems with the GTZ server. This fault has now been remedied.

In addition to GATE's INTERNET address ( direct links are available to gate magazine (gate-magazin @gtz. de), the small-scale projects fund (, the building advisory service and information network ( and the CFC-project (

Please note that a postal address is always provided in response to requests for materials and documents.

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 300944, D-51338 Leverkusen, Germany.

J.-M. Chapallaz, J. Dos Ghali, P. Eichenberger, G. Fischer: Manual on Induction Motors Used as Generators MHPG Series Harnessing Water Power on a Small Scale Volume 10

GATE/Vieweg, Eschborn/ Leverkusen 1992, 212 pp., ISBN 3-528-02068-7. The handbook describes how an induction motor could be used as a generator in the field of micro-hydropower. Particular emphasis has been given on presenting a practical selection method for induction motors used as generators.

J.-M. Chapallaz, P. Eichenberger, G. Fischer: Manual on Pumps Used as TurbineMHPG Series Harnessing Water Power on a Small Scale Volume 11

GATE /Vieweg, Eschborn/Leverkusen 1992, 221 pp., ISBN 3-528-02069-5.

This manual gives a detailed account of the use of pumps as turbines (PAT) in microhydropower schemes. It provides a practical method enabling engineers and technicians to select a PAT for a specific purpose, and will be of considerable value for all those involved in energy production or recovery.

ERM Umwelt Consult Rhein-Main-Neckar GmbH, Bensheim Asbestos Overview and Handling Recommendations

GATE/Vieweg/KfW/BMZ, Eschborn/Frankfurt/Bonn 1996, ISBN 3-528-02318-X.

The outstanding physical properties of asbestos mineral fibres make them an excellent material for many technical applications. Despite a ban on the substance in several countries owing to the health hazard it presents, products containing asbestos are still in widespread use. This book serves as a guideline to estimate risks resulting from handling asbestos materials. Potential asbestos substitutes are reviewed too, particularly for housing and water mains construction.