Asset-based approaches are most often used in organizational, education, economical, or public health development, for example. However, developing a community's technology and infrastructure is also important, but most engineering development is still very needs-based. It's the community's needs being assessed and then matched with the resources held by outsiders.
Anyone know of organizations, people, literature that applies Asset-Based approaches to Engineering Development (ABED if I may)? There are certainly specific challenges of using ABCD for technology and infrastructure projects, but also specific opportunities. Some opportunities:
-I've found that doing an asset-based assessment in the front end of the project really helps, because when engineers come into a community asking about project needs the community's expectations shoot through the roof!
-Also, the effect of an asset-based approach on a program/project's sustainability canespecially be seen in engineering projects, because the use/non-use of local resources determines how long a physical structure will be in place and operating.
Some specific challenges:
-The best "engineering" option is usually not the best ABCD option (though theoretically, the best engineering option should take into account the whole context)
-Outside resources are often necessary. Designing a bridge should be done by a structural engineer. The way I rationalize this is that the long-term goal when it comes to technology and infrastructure is not necessarily self-sufficient communities; very few neighborhoods in more developed countries maintain their own water and electricity systems. Depending on your political view, this is the role of thegovernment.
Therefore, these technology and infrastructure projects might bring in outside resources, but should create a stronger, permanent connection between the community and those outside resources like a county technician, a water pump supplier/repairer in the nearest city, and government funds available for infrastructure projects.
I'm interested in hearing thoughts, even from those not directly involved in this field. What other challenges/opportunities might I run into? What Asset-Based tools/mindsets have I not mentioned that could be helpful to these types of projects? What might it look like to use ABCD in things like community sanitation improvement? Road and building repairs? Energy provision? Water technology innovation?
In your opinion, is "Appropriate Technology" an asset-based approach?
updated by @lauren-m-butler: 10/24/16 06:19:00PM