Westerlund L.C., Ho G., Anda M., Wood D., Koshy K.C., (2008) Case
Study of Technology Transfer to a Fiji Rural Village using a Improved ‘Sustainable Turnkey Approach’. Technologies and Strategic Management of Sustainable Biosystems; First International
Conference. Murdoch University. W.Australia.6-9 July 2008.
Historically a number of approaches to technology transfer to ‘less developed countries’ (LDCs) have
been trialled and found to be limited. A classic example is the ‘turnkey
approach’ which appears to answer an LDC’s hope to gain better technologies and skills and yet has several flaws. It is not designed for local industry, conditions and production systems; it is too expensive; too technical; too prone to breakdowns; too tied up with intellectual property
and patent issues; too remote for technical support; and finally not sensitive to local culture and heritage. Thus
after a short time when something goes wrong with the equipment, it is not serviced or fixed properly and production stops
and the local village goes back to their old ways of doing things.
A modified appropriate ‘sustainable turnkey approach’ (STA) was developed, trialled and used to introduce
new cottage papermaking technology to an existing papermaking village in a remote highland part of Fiji, a LDC. This part
of the new research explored making a high technology piece of equipment in Suva, the nearest city to the Wainimakutu Village.
The intellectual property was given under ‘creative commons’ by the inventor.
The STA has empowered a local engineering business and the engineering department of the local university to be able
to understand and transfer the ‘hardware’ (equipment) and ‘software’
(skills) of these technologies and actually make the machines. The business/university
project empowered them to redesign it, to improve it, to trial it, to test it, and then network with a village to complete
the ideals of using the ‘best available technology’ that is also sustainable, eco-friendly, appropriate and financially
viable. The STA has proved a far superior process. When something goes wrong
with the machine it can be adjusted, fixed or modified to work: first in the village; second,
with local industry help; third with local university help; and fourth with contacting the inventor for advice and networking
with all stakeholders. The village employment project does not stop and wait
in limbo for weeks/months/years until expensive international experts can diagnose the faults, import the parts, manufacture
components and fix the problems to get the machine working.
The action research process, with its emphasis on inductively produced local knowledge, informs and supports
this STA to pioneer better ways of technology transfer to assist developing countries. This was evaluated by a new objective
survey using a new points system of 100 points to imply a 100% transfer of skills per phase to empower many stakeholders with
the knowledge and wisdom of making papermaking equipment and processes. The use of ‘creative commons’ was trialled
and proved successful to transfer the ‘best available intellectual property’ to a LDC. The technology transfer
was successful using appropriate technologies, local skills and labour, being
economically viable, sustainable using waste paper and local fibres, and finally complementary to cultural values of the native
Fijian papermaking village.
Keywords: case study; Fiji; papermaking;
sustainable turnkey approach; technology transfer;