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Purpose: The purpose of this document is not necessarily to answer each question with a yes or no, but rather as a bullet point list to help think through strengths and weaknesses of starting a new project or revisiting an existing project. Not all the questions apply in every situation. It is another tool to help keep us focused on a sustainable vision.


Researching a technology

  • Will it create more dependency or paternalism?

  • Does the technology respond to the farmers’ felt needs?

  • Does the technology utilize the resources available in the community?

  • Is the technology simple to understand?

  • Will the technology be sustainable?

  • Is the technology culturally acceptable to the community?

  • Can the poorest of the community attain this technology?

  • Does the technology bring glory to God (no alcohol, tobacco, or other vices) ?

  • Is it labor intensive rather than capital intensive?

  • Are you avoiding doing for the farmer what he can do for himself?

    Developing a new technology

  • Have you tried it on your own test plot?

  • Are you starting slowly?

  • Has the technology been successfully tried in other areas and regions?

  • Can the local market absorb it (think transportation, storage, processing, marketing, etc.)?

    Introducing a new technology

  • Can it be developed into a teaching program?

  • Can spiritual principles be interwoven?

  • Does the technology afford an opportunity for farmers to work together?

  • Are you starting small?

  • Are you limiting the technology (not introducing too many ideas at once)?

    Success of the new technology

  • What are you goals and objectives in implementing this technology?

  • What would happen if this program fails? Would there be negative impacts?

  • Will it bring a recognizable impact quickly (in a new area, a project like a tree program might take discouragingly long)?




Felt need - the deficiencies or difficulties people perceive in their community.

Paternalism -a system of dependency where a community or an individual looks to an outside source such as an NGO to supply their needs as a child does to a parent.

Sustainability - Broadly used word. In our context, when a technology, project, or program is able to exist without any outside intervention and will continue to do so long after the initial source is gone.

Technology -Any plant, product, or scientific knowledge, regardless how simple or complex, that will advance a community or individual’s wellbeing. Example: spacing corn evenly in a row is a new technology in some communities.


Walking with Farmers in Developing Countries