Technology for developing regions
Locally-adapted innovations with societal impact
At Siemens Stiftung, we’re not necessarily interested in the most advanced technological innovations. Instead, we focus on the societal impact that technology can provide in a very specific environment. Technology that has been tried and tested for years can improve local conditions just as much as new technology. For us, the sustainable and environmentally-responsible use of technology is of equal value to its contribution to economic development in a community. Experience shows that technology carries a greater impact when it is tailored to local conditions and does not create dependencies. Each community plays an important part in every successful solution.
We support technological solutions in the following sectors:
- Waste Management & Recycling
- Education & Training
- Food & Agriculture
- Financial Technology
- Information & Communication Technology
- Water & Hygiene
We consider it our duty to find existing technologies – which are often developed locally – with the potential for sustainable development. Once identified, we work to expand their use and make them available for as many people as possible. In pursuit of this goal, networking and technology transfer are just as important as sharing expertise. Our hands-on work focuses on the sustainable supply of energy and water in addition to e-mobility.
Scouting: How to find appropriate technology for developing regions
With our empowering people. Award (epA), we identify ingenious technological solutions that are fit for purpose: improving basic services for people in developing regions. In addition to a demonstratively useful technological innovation that helps people, it is important that the products and solutions have a locally-viable business model that creates jobs and provides people with long-term perspectives. Our international empowering people. Award jury has joined expert teams from development collaboration and technology to assess the societal impact of more than 1,600 solutions from all over the world based on a clear set of criteria. Around 80 of these are available in our database.
Spreading good ideas: adaption and knowledge transfer
Many locally-developed technologies also have the potential to improve living conditions in other places. Other technologies were specifically created by organizations with widespread implementation in mind. In any case, successful implementation in a new place requires local adaptation and sharing experiences. In workshops offered through our empowering people. Network, we provide points of contact for technology and knowledge transfer. We offer inventors of technological solutions opportunities to advance their organizations.
Hands-on activities in e-mobility, energy, and water
Our hands-on experience stems from our work in the e-mobility, water, and energy sectors, where we are involved in projects in East Africa and parts of Latin America. These often utilize simple, off-grid technologies that contribute to a sustainable and environmentally-friendly supply of water and energy in small communities while creating a positive ecological and societal impact.
Burrell, J.: Material Ecosystems: Theorizing (Digital) Technologies in Socio-Economic Development,
Berkeley School of Information, 2016
“More than Water” on the concepts, methods, progress, and challenges of Safe Water Enterprises,
Water Solutions, 2017
empowering people.Network:Low-tech Solutions Fight Hunger, 2018