Published in SEAOC 2010 Conference Proceedings, September 1, 2010.
In terms of information and technology transfer, sustainability is defined as the ability for a society (or culture) to maintain and incorporate the information and technology in a long term manner without continued outside influence. When a major disaster occurs, like the recent Haiti earthquake, the good intentioned outside relief effort is often immediate with no lasting effects. For example, to have a new building built out of precast panels engineered and manufactured in the U.S., and erected with volunteers from outside of Haiti, will immediately provide for the local community. But will have the people learned in terms of building the next building? It is highly probable the old construction methods and problems will continue. To have a lasting effect, the long systemic causes need to be identified and addressed from within the society or culture - empowerment of the local population has to be developed.
Haiti is an undeveloped nation with the majority of the population below the poverty level. Similar to Haiti, is the population of rural Tanzania. This paper will present the current efforts of sustainable information and technology transfer for the Same Polytechnic School in rural East Africa. And it is hoped the parallels in the two cultures can be used to provide insight for long term solutions to the built environment of Haiti.
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