Intermediate Technology - the other IT
The news from Sudan seems woeful. "Someone should do something", is a common refrain. Well, the Intermediate Technology Development Group are. ITDG, founded nearly 40 years ago, by the radical economist EF Schumacher (author of the brilliant Small is Beautiful) has a unique approach to development. In tune with the words of another important thinker, Albert Einstein,"It is appallingly obvious that our technology exceeds our humanity" — they don't start with mechanical gizmos. But with people. In Sudan, for example, they've trained volunteer farmers (men and women) to construct crescent-shaped terraces. All the necessary equipment and tools are produced locally. The new terraces allow crops to survive twice as long without rain as traditional ones and double the period for harvesting. ITDG build upon the existing skills, knowledge and cultural norms of peoples in developing countries, while increasing the efficiency and productivity of their enterprises or domestic activities. Check out their other projects like handmade housing for Kenya's Masai (pic shown above), beekeeping in Zimbabwe, irrigation and water power in Peru, building Tstse fly traps or running bicycle ambulances in Nepal.
You can support their on-grounds work with a donation. (Make a great Christmas present — "Dear Jim, this year, rather than another few pair of socks you'll never wear, I've given on your behalf, a set of brick-making tools and moulds to artisans in Sri Lanka!") ::ITDG [by WM]
PS. ITDG currently have a job going for a Research Assistant in their Global Village Energy Partnership.