Appropriate technology (AT) is a self-help approach to development. This technology not only deals with techniques but also covers the social aspects of development. However, most people are ignorant about this fact still now.
AT provides a complete package solution to the development problems of a country rather than a piecemeal list of particular solutions. This package, which is appropriate to the local skills and other resources, offers the prospect of continuous development.
People have been practicing appropriate technology since the beginning of civilisation though not by this name. However, AT became familiar only after the establishment of an industrial base in the United States, which started from a small beginning in the early part of the nineteenth century.
AT, which is rural-based rather than urban-based, attempts to recognise the potential of a country and tries to help it develop in a gradual way.
The development is based on local resources and progressively builds up the skills of the community.
AT tries to improve the quality of life of the people and to maximise the use of renewable resources. It emphasises on the creations of work places, which though expensive, can create jobs for local people.
AT is not only concerned with small industries, but covers all aspects of community development.
It is a complete system approach to development and it is self-adaptive and dynamic.
Nearly one-quarter of the world’s population is generally said to be developed and the remaining three-quarters are regarded variously as developing, underdeveloped, Third World, emerging or low income. Despite strenuous efforts made over the past two or three decades to bridge the gap between the developed and the developing countries, the success is far from satisfactory.
The general picture in the developing and least developed countries is disappointing because the average economic growth in these countries is slow. Economists argue that the average citizen in developed countries is 20 times better-off than his counterpart in developing and least developed one.
Actually, the basic problem in these countries is that of combating poverty, especially in the rural areas.
The majority of the people in these countries have to encounter difficulty even to fulfil their basic necessities.
Since these countries cannot use sophisticated technology as in the developed ones and since the assistance of international organisations and friendly countries to them is not always probable, appropriate technology, if used properly, can serve the needs of their people.