By James Smith
Technology is inextricably linked to development. Neither exists without the other, each propels the other along, and the successes and failures of both are bound together. However we choose to conceive of development, as a deeply historical process of change or as the small-scale activities non-governmental organisations (NGOs) engage in, as macro-economic policy or community development, technology is always present.
That ubiquity may well be a problem in itself. If we have access to the results of technology - clean water for example - we become blind to the technology itself. From another perspective, if we focus development around targets and end products - improved health, improved education, or access to energy - we may not focus on the technological and knowledge-based building blocks we need to get there (and often it’s not easy to understand for the non-expert, anyway). Technology, and underpinning science, may be hidden both by its presence and its absence.