Appropriate Technology for the Developing World (RDOL101)

Are you interested in international development, humanitarian work, or helping others with renewable energy internationally? If you answered yes- this course is for you! The first section of this course surveys technologies that aim to improve people’s access to basic human needs: water and sanitation, food processing and cooking technologies, biomass, rural electrification, and appropriate building techniques. The second section of the class focuses on project development and implementation. Throughout this course the focus is on the community- their needs, how to guide decision makers to understand the benefits of different technologies, and how to learn from the community. Working with a community will ensure the success of an appropriate technology project.

Students will learn about different project funding options and innovative financing schemes that can be employed to make projects successful and sustainable. A major focus is how to successfully engage partners and communities, and build local capacity.

After this course, student will be able to:

  • Describe how waterborne diseases effect rural populations in the developing world, and how they can be prevented
  • Explain various technologies and their applications for collecting and pumping water
  • Explain the basic operating premise of a dry composting toilet
  • Describe how electrification projects can benefit healthcare facilities, schools, homes and microenterprises
  • Explain the basic system components for photovoltaic (PV), wind, and microhydro projects
  • Explain the pros, cons, and differences between a community micro-grid and small individual isolated systems
  • Assess the impact of traditional cooking methods and recommend lower impact solutions
  • Describe sustainable building techniques and where they may be appropriate to utilize
  • Implement the participatory process with a community to find the community’s biggest needs
  • Evaluate the local resources and recommend possible solutions to a community
  • Describe the difference between grant funding microenterprise schemes


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