[ITDG is an international non-governmental organisation specialises in helping people to use technology for Practical Answers to Poverty.
ITDG works directly in four regions of the developing world ? Latin America, East Africa, Southern Africa and South Asia, with particular concentration on Peru, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.]
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The Human Development Report, Making new technologies work for human development.
Silicon Valley vs. better hoe. Which technology suits the poor?
Today at the LSE, the UNDP launches a powerful manifesto, the Human Development Report (HDR) entitled Making new technologies work for human development.
Its focus is new technology and the global policies that could turn, for example, biotechnology and information technology into powerful tools in the fight against global poverty.
But while ITDG welcomes the HDR as a vital first and powerful contribution to trigger international debate, the UK-based appropriate technology charity, feels that the UNDP have overlooked the real challenge.
At a time where revolutionary changes in technology are driving forwards globalisation -- and globalisation is creating greater inequalities than at any time in history -- ITDG feels that the fundamental issue is not making new technologies work for human development. The challenge is enabling poor people to make technologies work for them.
ITDGs Andrew Scott elaborates.
"This means starting with poor people and what they want technology to do for them ? not starting with technologies and applying them to poverty. We have to enable poor women and men to make their own choices about whether they want to surf the information superhighway or would they prefer to build better homes, have access to electricity, transport or a sustainable food supply? We need to know which works best for them a better hoe, a plough or rice grinder or GMOs? What we need is new thinking about all technologies which are of use to poor people".
From its 35 year experience in demonstrating and advocating the sustainable use of technology for practical answers to poverty, ITDG believes that solving the problem of Third World poverty means building the capacity of poor women and men to choose and use technology. To adapt it, to develop and improve it; and to manage its sustainability over time. Without addressing these factors, no technology can be successfully applied to their livelihoods.
And it means subjecting any new technology choice to the three As analysis. From the point of view of poor people, is a technology option:
Based on this approach, ITDG's view of the technologies highlighted in the HDR is:
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