This is a study of appropriate technology collaborations which exist or have existed. It looks at the use of the words collaborative and participatory to describe organizations in areas related to appropriate technology.

Open collaborations[edit | edit source]

These are collaborations which have used internet technologies to be radically open, enabling anyone to contribute, if they have access.

Limited collaborations[edit | edit source]

These are organizations which don't seem to fit with the "open collaborations," above. These may be collaborations between specific parties, or which have significant barriers to participation by the broader community (deliberate or otherwise).

Reasons for limits[edit | edit source]

Perceived advantages of the restrictions that might be applied to participation include:

  • knowing the participants - who they are and their areas of expertise
  • protection from vandalism,
  • protection from inaccurate information

Examples[edit | edit source]

Examples (which at first glance appear to allow limited collaboration) include:

  • The Appropriate Technology Collaborative (ATC), a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is “To design, develop, demonstrate and distribute appropriate technological solutions for meeting the basic human needs of low income people in the developing world. ATC works in collaboration with our clients and other nonprofits (NGOs) to create technologies that are culturally sensitive, environmentally responsible and locally repairable in order to improve the quality of life, enhance safety, and reduce adverse impacts on their environment.”
  • Their principles include "Transparency - We strive to make the Appropriate Technology Collaborative as transparent, documented and replicable as possible. Our hope is that other NGOs will learn from our successes and avoid our failures." - which is open in the sense of open access, but not fully open.
  • MATES ( - "Mobility, Appropriate Technology, Education and Skills" "Our consulting activities are carried out through collaboration with in-country counterparts."
  • Development Gateways "for development information and knowledge sharing worldwide." Is the purpose to enable collaboration, while not being very collaborative or participatory in design?
    • "Collaboration: No single organization, set of ideas, or set resources can make a significant impact on reducing poverty in the developing world. Collaboration, respect, and coordination of resources will achieve the greatest results. This starts with the leadership and participation of developing countries themselves." How do they promote/enable collaboration?
    • AiDA - Accessible Information on Development Activities (part of the Development Gateway web) uses the tagline "knowledge, collaboration, information, partnerships".
  • Makezine blog
  • Instructables

Note this is not an exhaustive list, and additions are welcome (please include an explanation of how it is collaborative).

Collations of knowledge[edit | edit source]

Efforts to bring together information from as many valuable sources as possible, but which may be limited by copyright, restricted participation or other issues:

From the Offline content collaboration page:

  • CD3WD - note that although they have permission to use the content, this is not the same as having a free license, so it should be assumed the content is not under a compatible license, and can't be used, unless there is solid reason to believe it is free licensed.
  • EldisOnDisk[1]
  • Human Development Library - It contains a total of 160,000 pages and 30,000 images, which if printed would weigh 340 kg and cost US$20,000. It is available on CD-ROM at US$2 for distribution in developing countries.

The term "Inter-Agency Collaboration" is sometimes used. This appears to demonstrate one of the key limitations of some such programs - that they are limited to external "agents" rather than seeing the target community as the main agents, the central parties in any collaboration. (See Community participation.)

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Authors Chris Watkins
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 12 pages link here
Aliases Appropriate technology collaborations
Impact 254 page views
Created November 8, 2008 by Chris Watkins
Modified May 24, 2022 by Felipe Schenone
Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.