Fostering technology adoption

The adoption of technology takes place when the need is combined with the tool, and the community personalizes the technology in order to meet its needs. The same technology is further leveraged as users identify other needs that it can meet. Therefore, the process must go step-by-step, identifying needs incrementally and identifying how technology can meet those needs. Gumucio Dagrón describes this process clearly in the following sentence:

I always say, to buy bread on the corner you have to go on foot, to go five blocks take a bicycle and to go a kilometer perhaps take the bus, but do not start with the bus to go to buy bread on the corner…

Indeed, there are cases in which the availability of resources leads to the installation of systems that go beyond the needs of the community. Or, sometimes systems installed are overtaken by the needs of the community because they did not allow for later transition to more advanced technology.

In other cases, given the local conditions and the availability of resources, many communication centers work with equipment that might seem obsolete but actually works well in that situation.

The Guarani Communication Unit (UGC) works in the realm of audiovisual production using equipment that today can be considered obsolete, but it is the only available. Currently, no production equipment in digital video is available… For audio-visual records two VHS Panasonic, (the M900 and the M1300) are used. One difficulty with such apparatus is maintaining battery life when they are being used in areas without electricity. For this reason, a 12-volt motorcycle battery was adapted to a VHS battery in order to obtain a long-lasting energy generator. The UGC team took advantage of such field obstacles, which imparted valuable experiences and learning and which ultimately resulted in greater group cohesion6.

As shown by the example in the technology component, the most important aspect is ensuring that the community adapts the technology creatively and according to its needs.

6 Yasarekomo: An Experience in Indigenous Communication in Bolivia, FAO 2004 p.20 http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/y5311s/y5311s00.htm