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Appropriate Technology Technical Notes describe simple, small-scale technologies aimed at improving people's access to food, water, and shelter. Each document introduces and explains the general concept behind the technological solution, some even include instructions of how to construct your own.

Please note that the links listed below may lead to additional resources which have not yet been added to this collection.


  1. 2001-01-01 Often the biggest challenge faced by a tropical farmer is not in the production of a crop but rather in the preservation of the crop. Farmers may want to preserve a crop for future consumption or for sale at a time when the market will offer a higher price. Using a solar dehydrator is a simple,...
  2. 2001-01-01 This simple device provides a method of manually producing bales of hay. Small-scale farmers may be interested in this technology because hay is both easier to store and easier to transport when it has been baled. Also, baled hay retains a higher nutrient content than hay that has been cut and...
  3. 2001-01-01 Access to clean drinking water remains one of the greatest challenges in the world. The BioSand Filter is one method that can be used for purifying water at the household level. With this filter, contaminated water is filtered through a natural biological layer and then layers of sand, pebbles...
  4. 2002-01-01 A composting toilet is any system that converts human waste into compost through the natural breakdown of organic matter. The photo above shows a composting toilet from the late 1800’s. Composting toilets provide a sanitary method to recycle human waste while conserving water and protecting the...
  5. 2003-01-01 Rope can be made from cord or string or even discarded plastic bags using a simple spindle to twist the materials together.
  6. 2006-01-01 The A-Frame Level is a simple, yet accurate tool used for constructing contours on a hillside or slope. It is useful in the basic construction of hillside farming systems, such as the SALT systems, as well as for establishing level contours and drainage ditches. Level contours on a slope reduce...
  7. 2010-01-01 The purpose of this document is to show several water pump designs constructed from PVC pipe, explain how to manufacture them, and discuss pump performance and how to improve on these designs. What’s Inside: Pump Design Manufacturing Process Pump Performance Appendix
  8. Rating: 4.0 - 1 Vote
    2010-01-01 This treadle grindstone can spin a 6” abrasive wheel (of the type used on electric tool grinders) at up to 3000 rpm by means of a single treadle operated by the person using the grinder. Although rotational speed is similar to electric grinders, power is lower therefore short or light grinding...
  9. 2000-01-01 Briquettes made from materials that cost little or no money to obtain, such as old newspaper or unutilized plant waste, can be a cost-effective alternate fuel to charcoal or firewood. This could alleviate the harsh pressures put on many forests for providing enough fuel energy to meet people’s...
  10. 2002-01-01 This simple forage cutter provides a mechanism to chop tough grasses or other forages to make them more palatable and digestible for livestock. This results in more efficient food conversion for animals and reduced wastage. It can also be used to chop materials for compost, silage, vermiculture,...
  11. 2002-01-01 Seed storage is often a problem in the tropics. However, if seeds can be properly dried, they will remain viable for a longer period of time. The seed drying cabinet described here can help improve the viability of seeds in storage. What’s Inside: Introduction Description Diagram Observations
  12. 2003-01-01 Although this document will tell you how to build a particular incubator that I have used for several years, the ideas presented here should assist in building an incubator of any capacity. The orientation here is toward solving the problems in building a kerosene fired incubator in general....
  13. 2002-10-01 Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) is a simple, environmentally sustainable, low-cost solution for drinking water treatment at household level for people consuming microbiologically contaminated raw water. SODIS uses solar energy to destroy pathogenic microorganisms causing water borne diseases and...
  14. 1994-04-19 The “tubular juice pasteurizer,” as it is formally called, strikes me as an “appropriate technology” with unusual promise. It is designed for situations where a large quantity of fruit is available for a limited period of time and for which there is no ready market or where marketing is not...
  15. Rating: 4.0 - 1 Vote
    2006-01-20 Solar Disinfection of Water (SODIS) is a way to disinfect water by using ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun to destroy harmful microorganisms.
  16. 1993-11-01 Amazon.com Description hardcover book
  17. 1977-01-01
  18. Rating: 3.0 - 1 Vote
    1996-07-19 Solar water disinfection can be used to reduce bacteria counts in small volumes of drinking water at the individual household level.
  19. 2015-10-06
  20. 2009-08-21 Most water and sanitation facilities used by households or operated by small-scale enterprises were built without external support. This shows there are alternatives to the large centralized conventional systems. More importantly, small-scale solutions have proven to be cost effective....
  21. 1993-09-01 Offers guidance on the selection of appropriate equipment for small businesses, with case studies and technical information about each type of machine. For field workers training for food processing projects, and their trainers, and the non-specialist.
  22. 2003-04-02 Amazon.com Description This book is an all-in-one "hands-on guide" for nontechnical and technical people working in less developed communities. It has been developed and designed with a prestigious team of authors, each of whom has worked extensively in developing societies throughout the world....
  23. 1998-10-05 Amazon.com Description The introduction of technology into developing communities around the world is closely tied to the everyday jobs of international aid workers, engineers, health professionals, social workers, and members of religious organizations. A majority of people involved with...
  24. 2016-08-09 Vacuum-sealing seeds is highly effective, but the technology to do it is often out of the reach of small-scale farmers. This one dollar solution can help small-scale farmers store seeds more reliably, improving seed viability and reducing loss. This research was done in Cambodia as part of "Seeds...
  25. 2015-03-26 There is abundance in the ordinary – that which is often unseen or overlooked – that can be harnessed to change mindsets, resource use, and community benefits. Beth Doerr presents examples, experiences and thoughts that enlighten, challenge and guide communities to discover the abundance in their...
  26. 2014-06-15 This article is from ECHO Asia Note #21 Wanpen’s roller planting marker was developed from her experience. When a problem occurred, she would alter and develop the tool according to the problem and rice variety. Wanpen’s tool was designed to be lightweight, easy to handle and convenient to use....
  27. Rating: 3.0 - 1 Vote
    2007-10-20 For many years, a popular demonstration on ECHO’s farm has been the rope washer pump, made from materials that are available in any country—PVC pipe, an old tire, rope, washers made from tires, and a little wood. Because it can be made on the farm it can also be repaired by those who made it.
  28. 1989-12-01 Shows how to make a simple, cheap, pump suitable for small-holding and garden use, a pump which can raise water from rivers or wells, with lifts of up to 30 metres. A simple clear text, with line drawings, showing how common materials can be used.
  29. 2017-02-09
  30. 2011-04-20 A sand dam provides a low-cost, low-tech and low maintenance water point with large payback in easily accessible water year round. Community ownership and involvement is integral in the introduction of a sand dam.
  31. Rating: 4.0 - 1 Vote
    1999-03-19 Three programs in Honduras have been looking for ways that poor hillside farmers can capture rainwater in their own fields and hold it there for two or three months. This water could then be used for supplemental irrigation during droughts or for extending the cropping season into the dry season....
  32. 1997-01-01 Amazon.com Description There can be no life without water. While at the same time water has been a factor behind terrorism in Punjab, it has driven Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to bitter and violent dispute with each other and made the Union Government behave like bully with Bangladesh. Dying Wisdom...
  33. 2013-01-01 This new publicationon “Water Harvesting – Guidelines to Good Practice”was mandated by IFAD, prepared byWOCATin collaboration with MetaMeta and RAIN and funded by SDC and IFAD. Water security is a prerequisite to achieve food security.Water harvestingoffers under-exploited opportunities for the...
  34. 2014-03-06 The HAFIR is an underground reservoir designed for storing rain water.Hafirs are usually constructed where there is enough rainfall and where there is no underground water.It is usually big enough to cater for the needs of the villagers and their live-stock for a whole season.
  35. Rating: 5.0 - 1 Vote
    2016-11-17 “You must plant the rain before you plant a seed or tree!” proclaimed rain farmer Mr. Zephaniah Phiri Maseko of Zimbabwe. By doing just that, he and his family turned a wasteland into an oasis, raised groundwater and well levels even in dry years, reduced flooding in wet years, and enhanced the...
  36. Rating: 4.0 - 1 Vote
    2014-11-07 Farming with raised planting beds is a great way to keep your crop safe and increase your yields. This agricultural technique reduces soil compaction and improves the quality of the soil. It protects your plants during times of excess rainfall. This animation describes how to implement this...
  37. 2014-11-07 Drip Irrigation is a technique that allows you to consistently water your entire crop. This technique is especially helpful during a drought or dry season. This technique must be combined with Raised Planting Beds. Please watch our animation on Raised Planting Beds before attempting Drip...
  38. 2015-10-30 This animation explains a method to test if your grain has a low enough moisture level for you to store it. This technique utilizes salt to help determine the moisture level in your grain. Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) is a Michigan State University based program. SAWBO transforms...
  39. 2012-04-11 Shea butter is an ivory colored or yellowish fat that is extracted from nuts of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa), which is found in West Africa. Shea butter is used in cosmetics including moisturizer as well as foods such as chocolate. Additionally, it has been used in medicinal ointments....
  40. 2014-04-04 Cassava is a staple food for over 800 million people in approximately 80 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Asia, the Pacific and South America. Cassava contains cyanogens, which protect against pests and predators by producing cyanide. So-called bitter varieties produce more...
  41. 2012-10-12 Cowpea bruchids (Callosobruchus maculatus) can cause damage to cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) seeds in storage, resulting in post-harvest losses. In the animated video we describe a solarization technique for killing cowpea bruchids before the seeds are stored. Scientific Animations Without Borders...
  42. 2017-05-05 This animation explains how to avoid insect damage when storing beans after harvest using a locally available, airtight container. Beans can be stored in an airtight container for long periods of time safely. The container being used must be completely clean and free of any contaminants. It can...
  43. 2016-03-17 This video explains how to dry grains after harvest by building a low-cost High Velocity Solar Grain Dryer. Drying grain is important because it reduces the chance for mold growth in the grain, which will increase its storage life as well as ensuring that it will sell at a higher price. When you...
  44. 2016-03-18 This video explains how to dry grains after harvest by using the High Velocity Solar Grain Dryer. Drying grain is important because it reduces the chance for mold growth in the grain, which will increase its storage life as well as ensuring that it will sell at a higher price. Instructions on how...
  45. 2014-11-21 The following animation explains the process of developing charcoal filtration systems using sand. It is a simple process that helps to remove many, but not all, pollutants in water that can otherwise cause health problems. Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) is a Michigan State...
  46. 1997-10-01 Women are critical to the well-being of farm households. Aside from raising children, women are expected to prepare all meals, maintain the homestead, and assist in crop and animal production, all the while tending to the general health of their families. Perhaps, ironically, it is because women...
  47. 1997-12-01 Efficient and effective irrigation of the land can have a dramatic effect on the agricultural output and economic well-being of a community. The smallholdings, defined in this book as up to 25 hectares (60 acres), can be the source of a significant proportion of a country's food production.At the...
  48. 1998-02-15 Amazon.com Description This Manual is written for trainers in governmental and non-governmental development organizations who are preparing their staff to work together with farmers in developing technologies appropriate to ecological agriculture and using few external inputs. The training is...
  49. 1992-06-01
  50. 1985-06-01
  51. 1993-01-01 This standard building materials sourcebook summarizes technical data and practical information and identifies appropriate solutions to any given problem in low-cost construction.
  52. 1973-01-01 This book teaches the artist and craftsman how to make his own tools: how to design. sharpen. and temper them
  53. 1989-03-01
  54. Creative Capacity Building (CCB) is at the core of D-Lab's approach to international development and is central to our work at MIT and in the field. The goal of CCB is to train participants to create or adapt technologies that will improve their lives and strengthen their communities.By...
  55. The Aprovecho Research Center is actively involved in research, design, manufacturing and testing of biomass cookstoves The ARC staff specializes in improving stove performance. Over 100 stove projects around the world are disseminating stoves designed with help from ARC. Dr. Winiarski, Technical...