David vs. Goliath?

August 09, 2012

As Carola Schwank outlined in  our last blog postinghttp://www.empowering-people-award.siemens-stiftung.org/blog/competition/siemens-stiftung-siemens-ag-and-technology/http://www.empowering-people-award.siemens-stiftung.org/blog/competition/siemens-stiftung-siemens-ag-and-technology/, technology plays a major role in overcoming basic supply problems. Some people might wonder why the “empowering people. Award” focuses on low-end solutions in this context. How can simple and low-cost technologies tackle the most pressing problems in the developing world?

It is a fair question, but there are good reasons why David can beat Goliath. Our reports on how to bring decent housing to poor communities (Moladi)http://www.empowering-people-award.siemens-stiftung.org/blog/projects/moladi-innovations-in-affordable-housing/http://www.empowering-people-award.siemens-stiftung.org/blog/projects/moladi-innovations-in-affordable-housing/ or how to simplify agricultural tasks (GCS) http://www.empowering-people-award.siemens-stiftung.org/blog/projects/global-cycle-solutions/by using simple and, at the same time, genius technologies, proves that small is beautiful! It was Dr. Ernst Friedrich  Schumacher who coined this term. The economist and philosopher wanted to stress that small-scale technologies are the ones needed in the fight against poverty. These solutions have great advantages: they can be implemented with local resources and skills and they are affordable – which makes them tools that empower people to help themselves.

The impact of appropriate technology becomes particularly noticeable when innovative solutions are used and promoted by social entrepreneurs who put social impact at the heart of their business. The combination of low-cost technology and social entrepreneurship can have far-reaching implications for thousands of lives. Creating jobs, stimulating ownership confidence and the spirit of innovation – this is what social businesses are looking for.

Appropriate technical solutions improve life quality and can give the initial push for development. By the end of this week we will provide you with further proof reporting on a technology that helps to improve water supply at very high elevations. Stay tuned!

Caroline Weimann
Caroline Weimann

Caroline Weimann is member of the “empowering people. Award” team at the Siemens Stiftung (foundation). She studied International Law, Economics and Diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London as well as Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford. Before joining the Siemens Stiftung, she worked on health and development issues at the European Commission and at a consultancy firm for non-profit organizations.

 

Function:
Basic Needs & Social Entrepreneurship

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