Sourcing affordable building materials for construction can be a challenge for the poor, especially where there has been serious de-forestation, as is increasingly the case in developing countries where more and more trees are felled just to satisfy cooking needs.
This has led to some interesting innovations in the design and manufacture of simple building components, which draw upon ancient methods whilst embracing newer technologies such as stabilised earth blocks and ferrocement. Some of these methods are more environmentally friendly than others, but all are attempts to reduce the use of scarce and/or costly resources.
What makes technology transfer sustainable?
Whatever technology is chosen to address a given issue, critical to success is the change in knowledge, attitude and practice of the people and communities who will have the responsibilty of using and maintaining them long after completion of a technology transfer programme.
Examples of some of the technologies that have been part of projects I have been involved with over a number of years are listed below: