Responding to new technologies

Programme Aim 4

"New technologies are developed only when people of power and wealth back their development."
Schumacher (1979:44)

New Technologies
We are specifically working on ICTs, nanotechnologies, and biotechnologies whilst recognising that all new technologies share some generic qualities. Read more »

Media Highlights
Practical Action's work on new technologies has been reported by several prominent news agencies, including: BBC Technology News and SciDev.Net. Read more »

New Technology Briefings
Briefing papers are available on a range of new technology topics, including: open source software, solar power, and nanotechnology. Read more »

New Technology Challenging Poverty
Leaflet about the programme, including a case study of podcasting in Zimbabwe. Read more »

We live in a rapidly changing world. Technological advances are increasing productivity and income, quality of life, and life expectancy ... in the developed world that is. The truth is that technological development is focussed on meeting the wants of rich consumers. Scant attention is paid to the vital needs of people in the developing world. The arrival of new technologies often results in a wider gap between rich and the poor. Yet some innovations fail to be applied in developing countries where there is real need.

The vision of the new technologies programme is "a world where science-led new technologies deliver products which fulfil human needs rather than consumer wants."

Our Responding to New Technologies programme aims to enable poor people to assess and respond to the challenges of new technologies, and to develop and adopt applications that improve their livelihoods. Through our programme work, we:

  • Enable poor people to assess the opportunities and threats presented by new technologies
  • Identify and test potential opportunities for poverty reduction presented by new technologies
  • Ensure that policies, regulations and institutions are favourable to poor people and can be influenced by poor people themselves

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