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Appropriate development

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Default.png    See also the Principles of development category.
for subtopics, how-tos, project pages, designs, organization pages and more.

Appropriate development is a broadening of the concept of Appropriate technology - appropriateness to the context (culture, economics, and environment), of all manner of development.

This includes international development, the sustainable development of wealthier communities, and everything in between.

Crucial ingredients of appropriate development include empowerment, community participation, and an emphasis on the freedom of the intended beneficiaries.


Dangers to development[edit]

Avoiding coercion and opportunities for corruption are essential, as these can severely cripple an aid or development program, sometimes even having an overall negative impact.


Sensitivity to culture and gender, and appreciation of local knowledge, are essential to appropriately designed and targeted programs.

Immerse yourself in the context - live in it and study it. Look for how incentives work, why people do what they do, and don't do something else.

For example, people may be willing to make investments to build and maintain their own water, sanitation and hygiene systems if they feel they will benefit from them, but if they do not have property rights (e.g. they are squatters or slum dwellers, without recognition for their status) then they will likely be unwilling to invest money and time.

Eyes on the goal: development[edit]

Development projects must be seen as part of a longer process - i.e. development as the goal, rather than a specific project. for that reason, admitting failure and learning from it is essential. An appropriately humble attitude, recognizing that learning is a long process and that mistakes are part of that process, enables development workers avoid the problem of good intentions, disastrous outcomes. In particular, voluntourism is susceptible to naive expectations and approaches, and should be handled with care.

Money and technology traps[edit]

Beware of thinking that more money or better technology is enough.

Recognize that subsidies and grants can sometimes enable a project, but are very likely to negative side-effects - plan carefully, and weigh up ways to achieve outcomes apart from giving or spending money.

Recognize the importance of individuals in the process. A program is only as good as the people running it - for this reason, fund people, not concepts.

A technological solution may or may not be effective in achieving the intended aims - it needs to truly be appropriate technology, appropriate to the needs of the context.

See also[edit]

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