What is AT?

Technology for 90% of the population in less developed countries
Appropriate technology refers to technology that not only is tailored to the environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic factors of certain regions, but also aimed at improving the quality of life for low-income groups in less developed countries. Appropriate technology is usually economical and simple in nature, as well as easy to implement and maintain. It is also called alternative technology as in it can be used as a sustainable solution for environmental problems.

Recently, the meaning of appropriate technology has expanded to address the social problems faced by developed, as well as less developed countries.
Characteristics of Appropriate Technology
  • Does not require a large investment or excessive amount of energy
  • Uses local raw materials
  • Capable of producing products using only a small number of people
Types of Appropriate Technology
  • 1. Survival: Aimed at protecting people from diseases, starvation, etc.
    ex) Life straw, Q drum
  • 2. Improvement of Quality of Life: Aimed at increasing income through job creation
    ex) soil brick manufacturing technology, charcoal manufacturing technology
Significance of Appropriate Technology
  • 1. Improves the quality of life of low-income and underprivileged people
    • Assists in solving problems such as water shortages, diseases, poverty, and illiteracy
    • Creates new jobs for low-income classes living in developing countries
  • 2. Offers new opportunities for developed countries
    • Directs the future development of useful technology in developed countries
    • Discovers new business models that can also be applied to developed countries
1. Life Straw
  • DESIGNERS : Torben Vestergaard Frandsen
  • MANUFACTURER : Vestergaard Frandsen S.A. patented activated carbon (interior)
  • IN USE IN : Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda
  • Portable water purifier capable of removing 99.9% of bacteria in a polluted water source
  • According to a WHO survey, 1 billion people are drinking polluted water and suffering from related diseases. With 80% of diseases caused by polluted water, there is a great need for products derived from appropriate technology to address this life-threatening issue.
2. Q Drum
  • DESIGNERS : P,J. and. J.P.S.Hendrikse
  • MANUFACTURER : Kaymac Rotomoulders and Pioneer Plastics South Africa, 1993
  • IN USE IN : Kenya, Namibia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, etc
  • Portable water container capable of carrying water to a remote area with ease
  • The water container is developed for those living in remote locations throughout Africa without direct or nearby access to water from wells or other sources.


Sugar cane charcoal manufacturing in Chad
KIPO, nonprofit Good Neighbors, and Sharing and Technologies Incorporated are moving forward with producing and disseminating the technology to manufacture charcoal out of sugar cane peel for the people of Chad.
1. Field survey
Due to a governmental logging ban, the people of Chad have difficulty in obtaining lumber which is necessary for fuel and the production of charcoal for cooking and heating purposes. Researchers found that sugar cane peel, which is readily available and easily obtainable, can be substituted in manufacturing charcoal.
2. Prior art search
After analyzing the technology of manufacturing charcoal, the researchers performed a prior art search of similar kilns, binders, pulverizers, compressors, braziers, etc.
3. Research & development
Based on the prior art search, the researchers developed prototypes of two types of kilns, two types of pulverizers, four types of molding machines, and three types of driers. Tests were then completed for localization of the prototypes.
4. Technology application & localization
The researchers involved in the development of the technology were dispatched to Chad to test the prototypes in the actual environment and transfer the technology to the local residents.
5. Commercialization
KIPO and the related organizations will continue to support the establishment and operation of social enterprises and corresponding technology to help generate income for the people manufacturing sugar cane charcoal.
Finding technological needs for future business

Based on the results of study-visits to Nepal and Myanmar in 2010, KIPO has discovered the technological need for a number of issues including soil brick manufacturing, fish and poultry farming, food storage, and water purification.

1. Soil bricks
Most of the people in the Kailali district in Nepal live in mud houses which need frequent repair work as they are subject to the rain and other environmental conditions. Solid and longer lasting bricks are expensive and not suitable for repair work in Nepal.

Appropriate technology is needed to manufacture high quality yet inexpensive bricks made of soil that can be easily supplied to the region.

2. Fish farming
Fish farming without the specialized facilities or technology often results in flooding after heavy rain due to a lack of drains, allowing the fish to escape.

Appropriate technology is needed to systematically operate fish farming facilities and prevent flooding of the fish farms from the rain.

3. Poultry farming
Poultry, which is sensitive to the heat, is very difficult to raise without specialized facilities and technology.

Appropriate technology is needed to regulate the temperature of the facilities and supply feed easily and inexpensively.

4. Food storage container
In Myanmar, few places use refrigerators, and even the concept of storing fish or meat in a container is not widespread leading to sanitation problems.

Appropriate technology is needed to address food storage and sanitation problems.

5. Water purification
Many residents of these regions do not have easy or direct access to clean water and therefore spend much time and energy drawing water from a source that is often polluted. As a result, they suffer from various diseases that can be easily prevented with water purification technology.

Appropriate technology is needed to make clean drinking water easily accessible to all people.

  • Last updated 18 February 2021
  • Trade and Cooperation Division