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.

 

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  1. This group pageexists so that individuals involved in Appropriate Technologyaround the world can connect. We encourage you to share the challenges you face in your endeavors, discuss lessons and techniques learned through your experiences, and share your story!
  2. Key Resource 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,...
  3. 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...
  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. 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...
  7. 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,...
  8. 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
  9. 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....
  10. No one’s life should be limited by how they cook. Yet globally, three billion people depend on polluting open fires and inefficient stoves to cook their food, harming health, livelihoods, and the environment. Women and girls, who often spend hours cooking and collecting fuels, are...
  11. Effective management during the postharvest period, rather than the level of sophistication of any given technology, is the key in reaching the desired objectives. While large scale operations may benefit from investing in costly handling machinery and high-tech postharvest treatments, often...
  12. "Anaerobic digestion, or biodigestion, involves the microbial degradation of organic materials in an oxygen-free environment. Feedstocks for anaerobic digestion include livestock manures, crop residues, culled fruit and vegetables, food waste, and other organic by-products. The process produces...
  13. The world needs to produce an estimated 60 percent more food by 2050 to ensure global food security, and it must do so while conserving and enhancing the natural resource base. Water is a major input in the provision of food – from production in the field through all the steps in the value chain....
  14. Please note that the links listed below may lead to additional resourceswhich havenot yet been added tothis collection. Search for more listings and filtering
  15. "Reflecting the severity of global food insecurity, over 60% of the East African population is considered malnourished, with many regions in a state of famine. There is broad agreement on the need to help small-scale farmers move from subsistence to sustainable and profitable farming by boosting...
  16. Protected Agriculture (PA) is defined as “modification of the natural environment to achieve optimal growth” (Jansen and Malter 1995) The definition of protected agricultural production includes “mulches, row covers, shade structures, greenhouses, etc. Any type of method or structure used to...
  17. The need for shelter is a fundamental necessity. Adequate planning, design and construction methods are key. Matters to consider include optimum use of local labour, using locally produced building materials, and construction techniques that are affordable, manageable and of best interest to the...
  18. 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...
  19. Key Resource 1993-11-01 This edition covers small water supply systems, renewable energy devices such as watermills and improved cookstoves, agricultural tools and implements, intensive gardening, workshop tools and equipment, crop preservation, housing, health care, forestry, aquaculture, nonformal education, small...
  20. Key Resource 1977-01-01 This comprehensive work features specific ways in which both developed and developing countries can introduce people-oriented technologies to all aspects of society. It is a revolutionary work in that it outlines some radical economic changes which must be made in the industrial world.
  21. Key Resource 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....
  22. Key Resource 1999-01-19 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...
  23. 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...
  24. 2014-06-14 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....
  25. 2017-02-09
  26. 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...
  27. 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...
  28. 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...
  29. 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....
  30. 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...
  31. 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...
  32. 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...
  33. 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...
  34. 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...
  35. Key Resource 1999-01-01 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...
  36. Key Resource 1995-01-19 Small-scale vegetable oil extraction presents the options available for processing a range of common oilseeds from domestic to village scales of operation. Details are provided on the type and source of equipment, and the requirements for financial success are examined.
  37. Key Resource 1992-06-01 Tools for Agriculture is a guide to small-scale farming equipment which offers information to smallholder farmers, development workers, and manufacturers all over the world.
  38. Key Resource 1985-06-01 This 3rdedition of an invaluable and well-established ‘Buyers’ Guide’ now offers a wider range of tools, more guidance to the buyer and user, and clearer presentation of material. An additional feature is the series of expanded introductions to each general subject area. The material for the new...
  39. Key Resource 1973-01-01 This book teaches the artist and craftsman how to make his own tools: how to design. sharpen. and temper them
  40. The alternative to digging a pit is to stack the wood above the ground and cover the stack with earth. This method is also very old and is widely used in many countries. One finds many variations of the basic method. Studies have been made in some countries to optimise the design. The Swedish...
  41. 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...
  42. Formerly Compatible TechnologyInternational (CTI) We believe that a world without extreme poverty is entirely possible, and for us, it starts with providing tools for communities that are traditionally overlooked by mainstream engineering. We design tools in collaboration with smallholder farmers...
  43. Our philosophy is that of George Washington Carver, an African American scientist who taught sustainable agriculture to poor farmers. Through experimentation of plants, he developed hundreds of uses for peanuts and other plants. Although most-well known for these inventions, Carver served his...
  44. KickStart International is a non-profit social enterprise with a mission to lift millions of people out of poverty quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably. KickStart’s vision of success is to take millions of people out of poverty sustainably, and in doing so, to change the way the world fights...
  45. This page is to be an inspiration, reference and source of information for independent scythe projects in the developing world. It illustrates with different projects how scythes may be applied in various ways toward sustainable development, depending on the circumstances of the working area....
  46. 1998-05-19 Advice about milling lumber from tropical trees.
  47. Soda Bottle Wick Irrigation |improves upon traditional drip irrigation in several ways. 1) Most of Lima’s soils are sandy and don’t hold water for extended periods. As a result, intermittent watering results in significant water loss; the water drains quickly through the soil before plants can...
  48. Vision: That development for the 1.6 billion people worldwide without access to affordable, healthy, efficient, and environmentally responsible lighting and energy can be promoted through the provision of sustainable energy and lighting solutions. Mission: LUTW is an international development...
  49. 2016-11-23 The Centre for Water Resources Development Management (CWRDM) here has developed wick irrigation technique, a hydroponic system, to facilitate farming of potted vegetables and ornamental plants in the homesteads and on the terrace. Dr Kamalam Joseph, a senior scientist at CWRDM who led the team...
  50. 2012-09-11 This story traces the evolution of LifeTrac, OSE's open source tractor, from 2008 to 2012. If you're interested in LifeTrac, you can find our information and designs at http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Civilization_Starter_Kit_DVD_v0.01 Open Source Plans
  51. HARVEST - Holistic Access to Research on Vegetables, Economies, Societies, and Technology Searching over 50,000 records in the World Vegetable Center archives.
  52. Key Resource 1993-01-19 This guide is designed to help skilled blacksmiths who have little or no teaching experience to train others in forge work techniques, using easily obtainable equipment and scrap metal to produce tools such as hoes, sickles, hammers and axes. There are 16 lesson plans with advice on teaching...
  53. Creole Document - Appropriate Technology for Farmers
  54. Key Resource 1993-12-01 Starting with only an anvil and a few basic tools, almost all the tools needed by a blacksmith can be made from commonly found materials. With clear instructions this book gives step by step instructions on basic blacksmithing.
  55. Key Resource 1993-05-01 This guide for carpentry instructors includes detailed plans for practical demonstrations, and important theoretical aspects of the craft. The tools include planes, clamps, workbench and vice. There is also a section on basic blacksmithing techniques.
  56. Key Resource 1976-01-19 Volume 1 A guide to practical plans and books for village and small community technology. Critical reviews of selected publications on alternative sources of energy, farm implements, shop tools, agriculture, low-cost housing, health care, water supply, pedal power, philosophy of appropriate...
  57. This book, by the Volunteers in Technical Assistance, is a how-to book on village technology. It contains photos, diagrams and directions on how to make various technologies for water, health, agriculture, food processing and construction.
  58. The “Hippo Water Roller Project” was established in 1994 in response to the unique needs and constraints in terms of access to water of rural women and children across Africa. Now simply referred to as “Hippo Roller”, the broad social impact of this social enterprise has been felt in more than...
  59. Maya Pedal is a Guatemalan NGO based in San Andrés Itzapa. We accept bikes donated from the USA and Canada which we either recondition to sell, or we use the components to build a range of "Bicimaquinas", (pedal powered machines). Pedal power can be harnessed for countless applications which...
  60. Practical Action uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries. We enable poor communities to build on their skills and knowledge to produce sustainable and practical solutions. Technologyis a key to ending poverty. Technology doesn’t mean just physical infrastructure, machinery...
  61. By improving transport and infrastructure, those without the means to previously do so are able to access markets where they can buy or sell goods for income, make better use of essential services such as health and education and keep abreast of social, economic and political developments...
  62. Over 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation. These are basic human rights. Many low-cost, community-run schemes can be set up to improve health, wellbeing and environmental conditions, and generate some income.
  63. Practical Action uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries. We enable poor communities to build on their skills and knowledge to produce sustainable and practical solutions. Technologyis a key to ending poverty. Technology doesn’t mean just physical infrastructure, machinery...
  64. We haveover 2000 online resourcesavailable, including technical briefs and drawings, and audios and videos, on a range of topics and sub-topics, and in different languages. The resources are all focused on small-scale appropriate technologies aimed at improving access to infrastructure and...
  65. Creative Capacity Building suggests that the underlying principles of co-creation and crowd-sourcing-- typically applied to computer software development, corporate management, or high-end product design --can also be relevant to technology innovations aimed at ending poverty. This is only...
  66. 1994-12-01 This book examines the contribution of rural manufacturing to central Africa economies, particularly as a service to the agricultural base. Foreign imports and the large-scale centralized manufacture of goods require scarce and expensive foreign exchange, and are therefore an inappropriate means...
  67. Compilation of 35 lectures taught at the University of Florida Agriculural Engineering Department
  68. 2008-11-01 The Human-Powered Homeis a one-of-a-kind compendium of human-powered devices gathered from a unique collection of experts. For those who want to apply their own ingenuity, or for those who have never heard of human-powered machines, this book is a fine reference. For those who are beginning to...
  69. 2019-06-20 100 Under $100: Tools for Reducing Postharvest Losses is a comprehensive compilation of postharvest techniques covering every step of the smallholder Value Chain, enhanced with lively descriptions, pertinent links, engaging stories, data-rich tables, and stunning photos. These all build and...