SATIS: providing information on appropriate technology
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CTA. 1986. SATIS: providing information on appropriate technology. Spore 3. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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There are a number of nongovernmental organisations which aim to adapt and develop simple forms of technology on the basis of existing knowledge. SATIS, which stands for Socially Appropriate Technology International Information Services, is designed...
There are a number of nongovernmental organisations which aim to adapt and develop simple forms of technology on the basis of existing knowledge. SATIS, which stands for Socially Appropriate Technology International Information Services, is designed to provide information on setting up, maintaining and using appropriate technology. SATIS is an international association established in 1982 by 25 organisations, chiefly NGOs, from throughout the world with the common objective of promoting economic and social progress in rural and semi-urban areas by developing appropriate technology projects. A few examples will indicate the range of activities undertaken by SATIS: the establishment of small palm oil extraction units in Cameroon, the organisation of cooperatives for growing and selling medicinal plants in Guatemala, improving local pottery to conserve food products in India, publishing agricultural information bulletins for Andean peasants, studies on environmental protection in Senegal, recording the traditional oral passing on of rural technoloav in Tanzania. The work of SATIS is divided into three project areas: access to and exchange of information, dissemination of information and the publication of resource guides. The annual List of Publications is a key feature of its activities, providing development agencies with access to 1500 publications, manuals and audio visual items available from members of the SATIS network. This Appropriate Technology and Development Publications List provides details in nine different languages of the material available, much of which originates from and is distributed by Third World countries The publications list is the first step in a programme of order services, SATIS bookshops, SATIS publications and a system of 'Book Tokens'. The recently launched SATIS tokens system helps development agencies and others to identify, locate and pay for information. Anyone interested chooses what they need from the List and then uses a token to obtain it from a SATIS member. Some of the organisations in ACP countries have limited resources or difficulty in converting their meagre resources into the necessary foreign currency or, like NGOs, do not qualify for official assistance in the acquisition of information. SATIS helps by producing guides to the organisations and programmes which can provide documentation or other forms of information. Such resource guides and overviews of appropriate technology activities already exist in Cameroon, Peru, Central America and The Netherlands. The SATIS Library Cards Ca talogues, which list approximately 10.000 documents found in the libraries of network members, provide access to another form of detailed information. The documents listed are often unpublished or hard-to-obtain project descriptions. Users of this card index programme can obtain and keep copies of the documents at low cost. Since the catalogues are based on a selection of documents chosen by each network member, they provide clear guidelines and recommendations for the acquisition of the material. The catalogues are published annually and are available in card index form as a complete selection or according to subject matter; some copies are available on microfiche. SATIS does its utmost to help development organisations treat their information work as an essential part of their operations. In this context SATIS has helped in the preparations for the INTERDOC programme in which about 40 NGOs share skills and resources as part of a data processing project How do you become a member of SATIS ? Membership is open to organisations and individuals which share the objectives of SATIS and participate in at least one of its activities. Annual fees are US $ 100 for organisations and US $ 20 for individuals. In addition, all members undertake to make contributions in kind to the network by exchanging resources and information and organising seminars. There is also the status of 'associate partner' for organisations which cannot become full members, whether for legal reasons or because their own applied technology activities in the fields covered by SATIS constitute a relatively small part of their overall prgaramme. The last meeting of the SATIS General Assembly was held from 29th November to 7th December 1985 in New Delhi, India. This meeting evaluated the activities of the organisation and recommended future directions. It laid great stress on assessing both the technical quality of information to ensure its reliability and the scope for application of this information, monitoring the latest developments in information technology, adapting methods of communication to the specific needs and resources of those using it, and encouraging participants to play an active part in the network. Anyone requinng further information should write to: SATIS Secretariat Mauritskade 63 1092 AD Amsterdam The Netherlands
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