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Community Based Technology to Combat HIV/AIDS

A new study on community based technology change to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa is underway, funded by the MacArthur Foundation. This project is being led by staff at Tulane University, with input from the Overseas Development Institiute (ODI). The project seeks to learn about communitybased efforts to adapt technologies (tools, devices, and systems of technical knowledge) to respond to the impacts of AIDS throughout rural sub-Saharan Africa. Eventually this will lead to recommendations for aid agency, NGO and governmental policies to support appropriate technology innovation, adaptation and dissemination to combat HIV/AIDS.

Right now, the research team are engaged in a 'scooping' exercise to identify a range of local, small-scale technology innovations and adaptations that merit more attention. Examples might include conservation agriculture techniques, preservation and processing of local plants for enhanced nutrition, and text-messaging for enhanced care of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Also of interest are new technologies for income-generation activities for PLWHA and AIDS-affected households, and innovations in household water, energy, and transport. This project will conduct fieldwork in Eastern and Southern Africa to try to find out more about these innovative technologies at a local level. Many agency reports mention what external agents should do based on first principles and/or what is needed ('labour-saving' devices). Less common is news of adaptations and inventions by the blacksmiths, healers, farmers, rural women, youth, orphans, and other community actors and organisations who directly, and daily, face the epidemic and its cumulative burdens.

The researchers are requesting information on specific examples that could be investigated further. This might be in the form of reports, internal assessments or anecdotal stories. Information on key informants or essential places for the research team to visit would also be appreciated.

If you have further information for the research team or would like further information regarding this study, please contact: Paul Harvey, Research Fellow, Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute, 111 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7JD, Tel (UK): + 44 (0) 20 7922 0374, email: p.harvey@odi.org.uk

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Reference this page

Community Based Technology to Combat HIV/AIDS. Field Exchange 25, May 2005. p30. www.ennonline.net/fex/25/community