Centre for Appropriate Technology
Since its launch in 2010, the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative has seen the Jigme Namgyel Engineering College (JNEC) in Dewathang as one of Samdrup Jongkhar’s key assets and resources, and a potential powerhouse and knowledge base for ecologically friendly and culturally appropriate development in the region.
Accordingly, SJI proposed the creation of a Centre for Appropriate Technology at the College, undertook research into such centres and curricula worldwide, prepared a detailed concept paper, and engaged in extensive consultations with the College’s director and faculty.
The SJI proposal that was accepted by the Royal University of Bhutan in 2011 can be viewed under Appropriate Technology Materials. After undertaking a highly successful solar drier project in collaboration with SJI (Solar Drier case study can be viewed under Appropriate Technology Materials). The Centre for Appropriate Technology was established in 2012, and in 2014 was officially recognized as one of the Royal University’s major research centres.
Vision:To be a leading centre of sustainable, low-cost, and ecologicallyfriendly appropriate technologiesthat will enhance the living standards of local communities in the region.
The Centre aims both to research, design, and develop such technologies and also to assist in the transfer of skills to communities through training.
While JNEC has the technical expertise, resources, and equipment for these tasks, it relies on its very close collaboration and partnership with SJI for its links with local communities – both to identify community needs and to disseminate the technologies it develops to villagers.
Thus, for example:
Unlike most large road or bridge civil engineering ‘on-the-job training’ stints, the JNEC students greatly appreciated the human experience of providing such direct and tangible assistance to local villagers in circumstances akin to those in which they themselves were raised.
According to the expert external review report of the SadmrupJongkhar Initiative undertaken by the International Development Research Centre, the Centre for Appropriate Technology “...is one of SJI’s greatest accomplishments as it has institutionalized a partner/research relationship in a highly productive way, leveraging IDRC research funding and very limited SJI staff and capacity to something much larger. CAT is a key appropriate technology accomplishment to date.”