UNICEF wrote this report on appropriate technology in Malawi in 1983. It reviews technologies used and developed in Malawi and has case studies from numerous organizations.

Today, there are hundreds of NGOs doing the exact same thing. They go out into the field, they research technologies, they write reports, and they design new technologies. Many of these “new” or “modern” solutions look eerily similar to what was printed in this 1983 report.

And then a few years later, new NGOs show up and repeat the same process.

Many continue to believe that design is the biggest barrier in the development of appropriate technology. Sometimes it is. But sometimes we design new things because we don’t do our research.

There are over 150 NGOs in Lilongwe alone. Some of their resources would be better spent on figuring out why so many of these technologies are reinvented every year and yet still never reach the markets.

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