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3rd International Rainwater Cistern Systems Conference
Khon Kaen, Thailand - January, 1987

Section E: Technology

Paper E.1

Business: A Way of Transferring Technology

Steve Layton
Project Manager


During the second half of 1982 end the beginning of 1983 large areas of the North Solomons Province of Papua New Guinea were experiencing a prolonged period of drought and in the worst affected areas on the outer Atolls the Provincial Government was forced to ship water in old 44 gallon drums. Although, the province had been promoting rural water supplies for sometime , this drought illustrated the massive shortfall in rural water storage capacity.

Village Industry Research end Training Unit (VIRTU) was requested to look into the possibilities of transferring ferro-cement tank making technology to the rural areas of the province. After reviewing a number of projects undertaken by various groups throughout Papua New Guinea, it was found that their approach was to give the technology to the people in the form of demonstrating the construction of one or two tanks at "appropriate technology workshops" or "village technology courses" with most of the effort being channel led towards encouraging the participants to construct one or two tanks on their return to their villages. The approach taken by VIRTU was very different. It was very quickly realized that if a tank could be designed to be mass produced by rural based entrepreneurs, not only would the use of the technology create much needed rural employment. But mere importantly if all the design criteria were met, rural people would for the first time in the province be able to purchase a relatively low-cost, long-life tank.

After three years of rural entrepreneur training many lessons have been learnt, improvements have been made in the fiber-glass mould used to form the tank, construction techniques have been reviewed with the aim of making the production time shorter. But most importantly VIRTU and other development agencies have learnt the benefits of using business as a medium of transferring technology. And resulting from the success of this project other traditionally non-commercial development projects ore being reviewed with the aim of exploring possible ways in which rural entrepreneurs can actively promote these projects.

PDF of full document (12pp, 580kb)

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