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Tuesday, July 26 • 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Participatory Action-Research as a Methodology for the Development of Appropriate Technologies by Communities

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2760 The social and environmental development potential of countries like Colombia, shows the need to articulate right from the communities, the processes and projects relevant to their territories. Furthermore when vital aspects of human health, such as access to clean water and water consumption, are also opportunities for the development of innovative technological solutions, stemming from the relationship between society and natural systems. In Colombia, for example, 62% of the municipalities have a medium to high risk of water availability vulnerability, and the remaining ones are on areas hard to reach or with a low population density. This amount increases to 80% if only the main cities are taken into account, which points to the importance of an efficient water resources management. In this context, a group of researchers together with a community of about 1,500 children and 15 teachers from schools of several municipalities of Cundinamarca department (Colombia), have been developing a technological platform founded on the community-based action research proposal of Ernest Stringer. This interactive technological platform, based on the use of SMS and the web, is called the “La Liga del Agua”. It is a jointly constructed space where synergies between the different stakeholders around the proper use of water resources can arise, based on the self-recognition of waste water problems on each of the participants’ homes. Thus, the problem is approached from the daily practices and the technological inefficiency, generating an empowerment of the water importance. The main theoretical foundation of this technological co-construction is based on the spirit of participatory and democratic systemic intervention, from the soft systems methodology of Peter Checkland, as well as the socio-cultural vision of the community that, voluntarily, intend to solve a problem collectively, as suggested by Rusell Ackoff. In this participatory co-construction, the following aspects were considered: i) the supply and environmental care systems are mediated by the interaction between the community stakeholders, ii) to develop solutions, it is not enough with the construction of appropriate technologies, research processes aimed at social appropriation of innovation are essential, and finally iii) the knowledge management, the use of technology and the impact of the teachers in the development of socio-environmental skills of the participating students. In this article, we will show the jointly design process of the “La Liga del Agua” platform and the incidence on the increase of the good practices of water resources usage. In addition, the results of the teaching strategies and recreational activities that seek to increase the empowerment by the actors and their interaction with the technology, will be presented. To conclude, all the learnings of the proposal will be introduced, so it can be replicated on other contexts with environmental concerns.

avatar for Shankar Sankaran

Shankar Sankaran

Professor, University of Technology Sydney
Vice President Research and Publications, International Society for the Systems Sciences.SIG Chair: Action Research (see below for information)Shankar Sankaran specialises in project management, systems thinking and action research. He is a Core Member of a UTS Research Centre on... Read More →

Tuesday July 26, 2016 1:30pm - 2:00pm MDT
ECCR 151