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Appropriate modern technology

The term ‘appropriate technology’ was originally often used interchangeably with ‘intermediate technology’ at a time when the over-sophistication of technology used in many development projects was a major problem and led to their failure. It has therefore often been wrongly applied to mean technology of an unsophisticated kind. However, the key concept is that technology should be ‘appropriate’ in all senses – managerially, economically, socially, environmentally; this may mean that it should not be highly sophisticated, but not necessarily. In addition, there have been a number of technical advances and introductions of cost-cutting materials in low-level technology in recent years – in the cases, for example, of handpumps, tubewell casing and latrine parts. And certain apparently low-level technologies – solar power, for example – are technically complicated and require high levels of precision. Therefore, the term ‘appropriate modern technology’ captures all elements and can be used to ensure no confusion with low-level or intermediate technology, or technology which is not up-to-date.

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