Skat grew out of the appropriate technology movement of the 1970s that proposed an alternative to capital intensive technology exported from industrialised countries with little regard to the vastly social, economic or environment contexts that affect how beneficial – or harmful – technology can be.
Today, we still see that technology has an important role to play for helping those in poverty, improve their livelihoods and quality of life – but not in isolation. Developing or introducing new technologies to solve problems, such as water scarcity or climate change resilience, needs to be sensitive to the context in which that technology will be used.
Between 2011 and 2013, Skat was a member of an EU-funded research project, called WASHTech, and we led the development of the Technology Applicability Framework (TAF) for assessing the match between a given technology and the context in which it is to be used. We also developed guidelines for a Technology Introduction Process (TIP) because we recognised that many good ideas fall into the ‘valley of death’ and are not successful at scale.
The TAF has been used all over the world, from WaterAid assessing pour flush latrines in remote Nicaragua; to IRC reviewing solar pumps in rural South Sudan; to GIZ evaluating wastewater treatment in urban Kabul, Afghanistan. It provides an easy to use, participatory tool to help with the introduction of new technology or the evaluation of established technologies.
Skat Foundation maintains the dedicated washtechnologies.net website, and we provide technical advice on funding review panels, such as USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures.