Timeline Appropriate Technology, Development, Fall 2018

Rough Timeline for Appropriate Technology Fall 2018 – Activities subject to change. Please check 48 hours before class.

WEEK 0No class this week but there is a short assignment (below)

  1. Please read the syllabus – link on the main class website.
  2. Please take this short survey about our global knowledge. It doesn’t count toward your grade. Please don’t look anything up, but you can think hard and contemplate the question and please do your best.
  3. Read about projects on the main class website and/or be ready to suggest a new one of your own design. You are welcome to change projects to another group if you can find someone to change with you. Please find your project and do some research on it.
  4. We need more presenters! Every year, student feedback overwhelmingly endorses having more presentations from practitioners in the field. Can you recommend someone who could give a talk? Do you have experiences that you might give a talk about?


Sept 24, Monday: Personal Introductions, and What is a development model? Robert Van Buskirk of Kuyere! speaks with us.
Please Read before class:
hey, if you haven’t done it, please take the 4 minute survey… see (1) above

  1. Maybe you have thought about this before?: “There are poor people. What should be done about it?” Let’s call your answer to this your “development model”. Please spend at least 5 minutes to think about and write down an answer to this question. Bring it to class. After you have finished, please consider the following readings.
  2. Kofi Annan’s Astonishing Facts Kofi Annan’s Astonishing Facts, What’s the most astonishing to you? This document is 20 years old. How do you think some of these facts have changed since his list was written?
  3. Please skim the Millennium Development Goals Report. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/reports.shtml
  4. Please go to reports and download the most recent report, which is many pages. Please read the intro, and each heading and look at the statistics of each graph. Get an idea of what this is all about so you can compare it to the more modern document (next).
  5. Then read the newSustainable Development Goals. How are they different from the MDG (above)? Here’s what Solar Cookers International Says about the Difference. Come to class ready to identify your favorite goals and discuss why you have these priorities.
  6. Robert Van Buskirk is going to be speaking with us in our first class. He will also be speaking with the specific groups working on his topics. Please read about his nonprofit, Kuyere. In particular, please read their strategy section and what makes them different.
  7. Please watch this video about global knowledge. It will require you to sign up for a free membership on Play Posit. Please write your password down somewhere so you don’t forget it.
  8. All past classes have agreed that guest speakers are appreciated. Can you give a presentation or recommend someone else to give a presentation about an experience in development? If so, please let me know as soon as possible.
  9. For the next 5 weeks, I’m teaching elementary school kids about solar electricity and we’re going to be making solar panels out of individual solar cells and testing them. If you’re interested in joining me Thursdays 1:30 – 2:50, please let me know.


Sept 26, Wednesday: Gilton Chumbe talks about his Village in Kenya
Preparation for Class: Read Five papers and compare development models:
Learn what you can about Kenya. Please spend 10 minutes online learning about the country and development challenges.

  1. Sachs “Can extreme poverty be eliminated?” http://povertynewsblog.blogspot.com/2005/08/jeffrey-sachs-can-extreme-poverty-be.html
  2. Easterly, “A Modest Proposal: Economic Possibilities for our time”: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25562-2005Mar10.html
  3. Bageant, “On international development” I’m assigning the first address to the university. However, feel free to read the rest about him if you like.
  4. “To Hell with Good Intentions” http://www.swaraj.org/illich_hell.htm
  5. *Must establish group expectations


Monday, Oct. 1: This weeks’ reading covers the work of Peggy Papathakis in Malawi.
Read about Peggy’s work that won her the Cal Poly Distinguished Scholarship Award.

  1. Video of teen Mom Lyna.
  2. Video of Mary Rath, teen mom.
  3. MamaChiponde Study Video.
  4. Please read how Global Famine is on the rise again.
  5. Gapminder on TED and see the Video http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_reveals_new_insights_on_poverty.html if this doesn’t work, try TED talk on the Gapminder website
    (2) Visit Gapminder http://www.gapminder.org , Make one graph animation, and bring a printout to talk to your group about.
    (3) How Development Efforts Fail https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/5986/9780821354681_ch01.pdf
    (4) Frustrations in Ebola assistance
  6. How will your group make their webpage? Traditionally, I’ve had students build the webpages as “child pages” off this main class website. However, increasingly, students build their webpages independently on some other platform. So, I ask you to decide if you want to build the webpage on this WordPress account, or if you want to do it on your own platform. We’ll ask about it in class.


Wednesday, Oct. 3 Bill Foote talks about Burkina Faso

  1. See on the main class webpage that I’ve changed my office hours. Office hours are now: 10:00 M-F, with an extra office hour 9:00 Friday
  2. See this short video about the violence of extremists groups in Burkina Faso resulting in the evacuation of all the Peace Corps Volunteers.
  3. Read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burkina_Faso does give good background – Please put particular attention on Society.
  4. “One thing I’d like to explore is the three goals of the Peace Corps, as given at https://www.peacecorps.gov/about/ , I’ll be interested to ask the students which they think is most important, and why, as a way of introducing the subject.”
  5. Should a nonprofit decide itself out of existence?
  6. Robert Van Buskirk has some strong statements to say about the above question. Read his excellent (in my opinion) rant. The beginning of the Email explains why his calculations don’t consider all the details, BUT the rest of the Email describes a fundamental challenge to global development efforts. The Email is part of a discussion we had about whether we should go to the Solar Energy For All (SE4All) conference in Portugal. Here’s the Email.
  7. Get the flu vaccine! Last winter, more than 80,000 people died from the flu. College students are the group that is least likely to get the vaccine, but they suffer significantly from getting the flu. Please read about it if you like.
  8. In India, There is a new registration for all people, and necessary for the poor to get aid… but there are difficulties. Please read about it here.
  9. The kissing bug and being poor: at least skim it and READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH
  10. Please visit Dollar Street and look at how some of the poorest and richest live.
  11. NPR on Poverty Reduction
  12. Consider adding an Environmental Studies Minor to your degree:

Project Website to be evaluated starting Midnight, Saturday, Oct. 6 – problem statement, group members, contact information, resources, picture of your group having fun. See websites from classes past for templates.

Please consider coming Sunday to the SEF, Student Experimental Farm, noon – 1:00 PM

This week: Don’t throw anything away – self intervention – Start Sunday night!. Midnight, Saturday, Oct. 6, initial website evaluation
Oct. 8, Monday: First presentations of projects. Not much preparation because you are preparing your talks. However,

  1. you might ask yourself if you want to continue your project after this class. Please consider writing a proposal for the Baker Koob Grant. In 2015, a student applied to B/K and won enough money to fund 4 students on a 1 month trip to Uganda to explore solar electric cooking.
  2. PROJECT: You hopefully already sent me an Email with:
    1) Your website link,
    2) The names of each person in your group (to be posted on the main class website – Please let me know if any of you do NOT want your name on the public website.) If you want your Email linked to your name, please link your Email to the name you send me.
  3. Self Intervention #1: Don’t throw anything away! Don’t throw anything (trash, compost, or recyclables) for a week, but rather collect them. At the end of the week, sort them and consider where they should go… or should they not have come to be in the first place? Blog your experience as you go along. Please see the main class website for the link to the blog and log-in instructions. Please start your entry today.


Oct. 10, Wednesday: Meet at the Student Experimental Farm. How do I get to the SEF?

Our own Brenna talks about zoonotic diseases and Namibia and other places!

Here are some materials that I think help to define zoonotic diseases and one health and highlight some issues and solutions associated with disease outbreaks
What Are Zoonotic Diseases?
What is One Health?-
Closer look at how Ebola outbreak spread- The Transmission Chain Analysis of 2014–2015 Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in Koinadugu District, Sierra Leone: An Observational Study
One health and natural disasters – outbreaks in Palu and Donggala.
Education is vital to prevent rabies deaths
technology and One Health
  1. The websites looked pretty good. I’m going to clean up the main class website and remove all the old links, so make sure you take these links and put them on your website if you want them. Some groups didn’t send me the list of members with linked Emails (for those who want to have them posted). Please do this if you want them posted on the project table. For the next website review, I’m going to ask you to write a new blurb to put on the project table.
  2. I posted your feedback statements on the main class website. Additionally, I address some of the questions. Please take a look at the document.
  3. Expanding your problem statement and strategy: Design is often a divergent-convergent process, whereby we identify the problem and a solution. We are often myopic about the solution… sometimes because we have identified the wrong problem. Is the problem that we don’t have food stores with cheap food, or is the problem that people are undernourished? Which is the broader statement? Why does this matter?
  4. All of these self interventions? How does Pete’s family live?
  5. Please read Crop Dumping in Haiti
  6. Please read not throw food away

In class: step up, step back. Widening the scope of your project. Feedback to me

Don’t throw anything away – self intervention

Oct. 15, Monday, Jill Bolster White

  1. Jill Bolster-White comes to talk about Transitions Mental Health, San Luis Obispo
  2. Please finish your “don’t throw anything away” self intervention, and log your experience on the website linked on the main class website. ALSO,,, A past student found Self Interventions so central to societal change that he set up a dedicated FaceBook page: “Change in a week”. Only if you like, please log your experience there too.
  3. Please read about TMH-SLO
  4. Please watch this 10 minute video about numbers of homelessness.
  5. Please watch a total of 30 minutes (or more) from the two 1-hour videos:

LA Homeless, NYC Homeless

make sure you vote in the midterm elections. Get registered, vote. Your voice is important. Hey, meet our local candidates!

Readings on Neocolonialism:
(1) Interview with John Perkins (Audio interview can be found: http://www.alternativeradio.org/products/perj001, Additionally, he has his own website at http://www.johnperkins.org/.
(2) Sorry for Syphilis: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/02/health/research/02infect.html
(3) Please Read When Good Aid Goes Bad
(4) Post your “don’t throw anything away” experience on the website – link is on the main class page. Please** put your first and last name at the beginning of your post, so I can give you credit, or at least send me an Email indicating which post is yours. Thanks!
(5) Guatemala’s 36-year war: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/04/opinion/04schlesinger.html
(7) Your websites:

  • Please make sure that your contact information is located in way that you like. For the next website check (weekend before next presentation), I’ll expect a short bio for each of you (just a few lines).
  • On your project website, please put a link back to our main class website.


Oct. 17, Wed. Peter and Irene Keller visit from Aid Africa (Uganda).

  1. See the video of Maddi in her experiences in Uganda and find out about AidAfrica.
  2. Prepare for Peter’s visit by going to their website: http://www.aidafrica.net/ and reading what they do and watching the short video.
  3. Important question to answer in class Wednesday: “what is Aid Africa’s development model?”
  4. Peter has also requested that you read through and see the video on this website: Gates Foundation Big Bet
  5. Ferguson, Epilogue, The Anti-Politics Machine: Development. I find this article frustratingly difficult to read, yet it has a beautiful message making the frustration worth it… in my opinion. Ferguson goes through different stake holders and unravels what we think should be done by different people. This is also frustrating when we realize that it isn’t easy. In the end, however, he does say that yes, there is something that we can do – see if you can find this message! We will talk about what this message is, but the whole article is important (in my opinion). We will revisit this paper many times as per our “development model”, so it is good to know it. Who have we read in the past that would agree or disagree with Ferguson? Or better yet, would Ferguson approve of everyone we’ve met? What is Ferguson’s development model? Where would it succeed? Fail?
  6. Last week, we looked at a few big aid programs that were disasters. Please take a look at a different side of AID at the USAID website https://www.usaid.gov/results-data/success-stories. Please find at least one success story that relates to your project. The page you see is the first of 200+ pages, so don’t spend too much time on the first page, but look through at least 5 – 10 pages before finding a project that is like yours. Come to class ready to discuss this “success story”.


WEEK 5Empathy Intervention… think about it, it is due next Monday
Oct. 22 Monday more reading on smaller solutions

Amy Degenkolb Visits! Her Email for future reference: amelia.degenkolb@inpresstechnologies.com

  1. Read about Postpartum Hemorrhaging (PPH) See the people page and note that Amy Degenklob will be coming to class to talk about what is NOT on the website: how to make this technology available very inexpensively in poor countries; and her efforts in India and Indonesia.
  2. Write me an Email about how things are going in your group. Is everyone’s voice heard? Is everyone doing their fair share in your opinion? Is it a positive working/social environment?
  3. Read through the other students’ experiences in the self intervention website. Do you see some new challenges you didn’t experience?
  4. Begin your second self intervention. Recognize when you “otherize” someone – when you see them as some completely not connected to you. However, if you have an interaction or even a feeling about them, now they are connected to you. Then cast the world through their eyes. What are they experiencing? Log the entire experience on the dedicated website. What you think, what you feel, what you learn. Students often have a difficult time with this. Empathizing with someone doesn’t mean you agree with them, or think that they are right. It just means you see things (at least for a moment) how you think they are seeing them.
  5. Read about the “other Nobel [prize]”, NPR, Oct. 17, 2018.
  6. Read Empathy in Design.
  7. Reconsider Ferguson’s paper. What is to be done? What should be done by the local political leaders? What is that single nugget of action that the paper advises? Please consider what Sachs, Easterly, Illich, and Bageant would agree. How would he judge the mission and actions of Aid Africa?
  8. Be ready to discuss Aid Africa, Peter Keller, and Irene Keller. I want to be clear, my intention is not to have you agree with them. The conflicts that come from their development model are a healthy learning opportunity.
  9. This is not a reading assignment : I’m providing a document, Photovoltaics for Rural Development in Latin America, for you to take a look at. It may prove helpful to your group… especially if your work is at all related to solar electricity. For instance, there is a story about a solar ice production facility in Chile. Anyway, take a quick look and see if there’s anything of value for your group.


Oct. 24, Wednesday, Nick Babin, recently hired professor in Natural Resources, talks about agroecology and substituting ecological practices for formerly purchased inputs, using his work with Costa Rican coffee farmers as a case study.

  1. Please prepare for Nick’s discussion by reading this short document about Babin’s Work in Costa Rica, 2014-2015
  2. Read “Indigenous Management of Tropical Forest Ecosystems: The case of the Kayapó Indians of the Brazilian Amazon”
  3. Empathy Intervention due by next Monday. Please see main page for link. Come to class with questions. We will talk more about empathy during the rest of the quarter.
  4. Please read an excerpt from E. F. Schumacher’s book: Small is Beautiful Excerpt
  5. Read about the Caravan headed to the US through Mexico. What do you make of this? What’s going to happen?
  6. Anita has presented the items for the up coming election. Please have a look. In class, we will ask a person to take each of the items to research over the weekend and report back Monday.
  7. Emily Sroczynski announced the chicken bingo night: 2-4 PM, Saturday Nov. 3, at 7Sisters Brewing Company.


WEEK 6 (Interventions, AID) Log into the Empathy Intervention Page (link on main class page) and provide your experience.

Oct. 29, Monday. Professor Chip Appel (NRES) talks about efforts in Thailand and Sri Lanka.

  1. Please read Compost Appel to provide background to Dr Appel’s talk.
  2. Joe Biden on developing Latin America
  3. Empathy Intervention due. Please see main page for link.
  4. Wondering which coffee to buy? Nick sent me this letter.
  5. Paul Polak:
    a) 12 Steps, Read 12 steps and watch the video
    b) More about Paul Polak if you like
    c) Read the “Don’t Bother Trilogy”: http://blogs.technet.com/b/jamesu/archive/2008/11/19/paul-polak-and-the-art-of-listening.aspx


Oct. 31, Wednesday:Daniel Wiens (Email: daniel@journeymaninternational.org) of Journeyman International visits!

Please prepare for his visit and other preparation:

  1. Ji RYIT Video on Vimeo
  2. Stakeholder Analysis of “Fuel in the Fields”, S. Frayne. Distinguish Importance from Influence
  3. Conduct a stakeholder’s analysis of “Fuel in the Fields” using this worksheet.
  4. See the very short video I told you about: What happens when you disregard the government in your stakeholder’s analysis.
  5. The Baker-Koob Grant is due Friday! $5,000 can put two students in Africa for a good part of the summer.
  6. Please consider going to a talk about using carbon markets in Tanzania this Thursday UU hour.
  7. Be ready to present ~ 30 seconds on your candidate or topic:

Next Saturday Night, Nov. 3, I will review websites again.
Second Presentations are next Monday and Wednesday.
I will be looking for the following:
As in the last website review, I wish to have you introduce your project and your group with documenting pictures. Please refine, expand, or revise your problem statement and the context to better reflect your project now, if relevant. Please add to this:
1) More information about your collaborating community: description, a map, and some demographic information that must include something from http://www.gapminder.org/ or some other graphical representation of informative demographic information related to your community.
2) Outline a plan and/or proposal. What do you hope to accomplish? Why do you want to do this? How do you plan to do this? what are some of the other options?
3) A brief Stakeholders Analysis, as best you can to consider the support and threats your project may face from people in your partner country and here at home. Here is the Template from Amy Smith at MIT. Who are the important people you are working with… who are influential? Also, please watch this very short video about how the tragic consequences if we fail to properly weight the influence of political forces.

For the first review, the bar was pretty low, in that my intention was to have people define a project, get together, and start working. For the second review, I have expectations of a considerable amount of material. For a good example, please see some websites from past classes. The link to last year’s classes and the main Appropriate Technology class list is on our main class website.

Saturday Night, Nov. 3, I will review websites again.

Nov. 5, Monday: Presentations from the first half of the groups:
Reading assignment: (1) ISEC in Kenya; (2) ISEC in Malawi; (3) Food Preservation in Sierra Leone; (4) Homeless in SLO; (5) Maternal Matters; (6) Solar Suitcase

  1. http://blog.paulpolak.com/?p=376 (See both videos at the bottom of the website – which don’t appear any more…. here is the one on YouTube of Charcoal Briquette Making, and if you want to see the 8 minute video of Paul Polack talking about his strategy – it’s mostly the 12 steps.
  2. Ethics and Happiness: The Expanding Circle by Peter Singer
  3. Please read my short correspondence with Alex Petroff of Working Villages International
  4. Please read through your colleagues entries in the Empathy Self-Intervention.

Nov. 7, Wednesday: Presentations from the second half of the groups: (1) Zanzibar Waste Management; (2) Solar Ice in Ghana; (3) Insects for Fun, Food, Feed; (4) Female Genital Mutilation; (5) ISEC in Beacon of Hope, Uganda; (6) Education in Kenya

  1. If you want some help on Stake Holders for your project you can look at others’ such as the Bamboo Project did with their Stake Holder Analysis a few years ago.
  2. I’ve assigned more readings and videos that we’ve had time to cover in class. Today, I’ll provide only one reading assignment. I wrote a chapter for a book about our home. Think of it as a continuation of the video: How does Pete’s family live? You can watch the video if you missed it on Oct. 10. Anyway, here’s the chapter: Ten Years with a Bucket of Shit, and My Efforts to Live Consistent With My Values.

WEEK 8 Final Self Intervention of your own design

Monday, no classes

Nov. 14, Wednesday: Danielle Borrelli (dborrell@calpoly.edu) Speaks about Human Trafficking

  1. Please read Polaris – The Topology of Modern Slavery, and visit the website of Polaris, the anti-trafficking group.
  2. There’s a great article today in NPR about China’s Incredible Investment in Poor Countries. Be ready to answer the question, “how did they measure the effectiveness of China’s Interventions?”
  3. Please read through this recent article about what the hell is going to happen in Yemen? by the same author as the above article.

Nov. 26, Monday: Jim Keese presents about cookstoves in Peru

  1. See answers Jim Keese provided after Fall 2017 presentation.
  2. Please see your feedback from before break. Many provocative statements give cause for reflection. Thanks.
  3. Make sure you’ve posted your proposed or finished self-intervention of choice. I’ve fixed the link (main class website) to accept you as “interventor” (small i) with password “Intervention” Capital “I”).
  4. Please see video Muhammad Yunus’s Nobel Documentary, and
  5. read Microfinance doesn’t work
  6. What about just giving people money? Mercy Corps in Puerto Rico
  7. But Mercy Corps is for emergencies… what about chronic poverty: Please read thisNPR article. About Give Directly.
  8. Read more about . Give Directly. Read the entire 100 pages if you like, but certainly read the abstract and conclusion… maybe more? what is the development model of GiveDirectly?
  9. Please read how Studies of interventions can surprise us as to what works and doesn’t work.
  10. See the USA Wealth Gap: Bill Moyers Video
  11. Lastly, take a look at the map in the Gini Index Map. They’ve renormalized the numbers from what we talked about in class: Zero represents prefect income equality, but “100” means one person has 100% of the wealth.

In Class – Peru Stoves and microfinance.

Nov. 28, Wednesday: Visitor Garrett Morris gmorris123@yahoo.com – past appropriate technology student, returns from almost 4 years in Nepal!

    1. Please read through Garrett’s Blog. In particular, please read “E-mail Interview”. You will find this entry about half way down the blog. It answers a good number of questions about Garrett’s experience.
    2. In Garrett’s Blog, please read one other entry and come into class ready to discuss it.
    3. Send me an Email about how things are going in your group. Are you getting along? Is everyone’s voice being heard? Is everyone doing their share? 
    4. Read the book report on New Age of Innovation, N=1, R=G this may provide a valuable insight for globalization in general, not just for development.
    5. Post your self intervention conclusion by the end of the day, Saturday, December 1.
    6. Read about Guateca from my promotion application
    7. See video about Guateca
    8. Consider going to the variety show tomorrow, Thursday evening to raise money for victims of the California WildFires.

variety show

9. Consider joining Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW).

For more information, see this flyer.

In Class – Garrett on Nepal; Pete on the Failure of Guateca


Dec. 3, Monday: Final Day of . This is a Very Important class to me, as it is my very first collaborative lesson plan with a student in the class. Kat Lane enthusiastically endorsed these subjects and we put the preparation together. I look forward to a lively discussion.

  1. Please see this video Summarizing what we’ve learned?, which may or may NOT be a summary of what we’ve learned. What is “the holy grail” and “the purpose of the university”?? Come to class ready to defend your position. 
  2. Please read a book report from a past student on White Man’s Burden (Easterly… do you remember what to expect from him?)
  3. Please see this 8 minute video on Dependency Theory. Why poor countries aren’t developing… is this the intentionIf you find the video slow, you can speed it up a little.
  4. Please read this article about the Oxymoron of Sustainable Growth.
  5. Please watch three minutes of this video: from 11:37 until 14:15
  6. Consistent with the above three minutes of video, please calculate your carbon footprint with this assignment: Climate Change and You
  7. Please read about the Navajo Nation and Uranium Contamination. Please consider what Ferguson might answer if we asked, “What Is To Be Done?”
  8. Are we getting any better with Child Labor? Would Danielle Borrelli see this as trafficking? Here’s a more recent article (with great pictures) about child labor in the mines of Bolivia
  9. If you didn’t read the story about Guateca from last Wednesday, I’ve fixed the link. Please read it now.

In Class – Summary and Global Capitalism

Dec. 5 Wednesday
Final Exam, Discussions.
Course Evals – Please fill them out.
Prepare for final Potluck
Please read through the self intervention of your colleagues for discussion in class.

Final Presentations: Monday, Dec. 10, 1-4 PM in the classroom. 

  1. Please aim for 5-10 minutes. We can’t let any talk exceed 15 minutes because we have so many groups. 
  2. Besides an update, please provide a conclusion and outlook. In particular, what advice will you give me/us as far as how the project should or shouldn’t continue. 
  3. Please bring a dish to share and a place setting or two. If you don’t bring food, you still have to be here, and are encouraged to eat!
  4. Invite friends if you like.
  5. Please read through the self interventions of your colleagues. I would like to spend a few minutes on this subject at the final presentations.

Past 391 Resources