Friday, May 04, 2012

Success of innovations depends on engaging the grassroots

According to the author,  Lawrence Gudza, although technological innovation is generally viewed as a panacea for the problems of developing nations, most of the  institutions from well-off nations have tended to 'push' technologies according to their own agendas — and not ones that suit local communities. He maintains that this  push for technologies comes at the expense of social sustainability and lasting solutions at the grassroots level and doubts whether the objective of improving people's lives through technology will be reached with this approach. Such prescriptive approaches to technology development and adoption fail at the first hurdle: acceptance. They are subtly resisted by poor communities when they are socially unsustainable, and actively resisted where they are perceived as violating a community's cultural and traditional norms. For example, in some countries drip irrigation technology has failed to make an impact because villagers lack water pumps to access underground water and  some communities have not embraced ecological sanitation (ecosan) toilets because the idea of collecting their own waste to fertilise gardens violates cultural norms and beliefs.

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