Appropriate Technology

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Appropriate Technology is a term most often used in reference to the introduction of technology from developed nations to less developed ones. Technology that is appropriate produces a new machine or process for use in the local community, requires skills known or easily taught, and is made of materials readily available, with little or no importing of material, tools, or capital from the outside. In practice, some items usually need to be imported: hardware, sheet metal, plastic sheet or pipe, simple bearings (e.g., from bicycles), etc. Since the technology is produced locally, it can be maintained rather than discarded when it breaks down. Examples of appropriate technology designed by Mennonite Central Committee workers include a human-powered irrigation pump (Bangladesh) and an earthen stove with improved fuel economy (Mexico and Central America). Appropriate technology carries with it the ideas of self-sufficiency and self-improvement. Skills are upgraded, and arduous tasks are eased. The quality of life improves, and resources kept in the community raise the standard of living.

Author(s) Willard Unruh
Date Published 1989

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MLA style

Unruh, Willard. "Appropriate Technology." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 1 Dec 2022.

APA style

Unruh, Willard. (1989). Appropriate Technology. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 December 2022, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 33. All rights reserved.

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