Technology Checklist

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A checklist to determine the sustainability of a technology in a project

In the past, many technologies introduced in developing countries failed. Major reasons for failure were the prohibitive cost and level of complexity of the technologies, and/or a lack of ownership. The questions listed below can help determine the sustainability of a technology regarding the technical, social, financial and logistical aspects. [edit]

Technical repairability
  • Can the technology be repaired easily by the user if it breaks down? If not, is there an infrastructure that can do that at an affordable cost?
  • Can users maintain the technology? If not, is there an infrastructure that can do that at an affordable cost?
  • Does the introduction include training on operation and maintenance?
  • Can the technology be reproduced by the local private sector with local materials and skills?
  • Is the frequency of maintenance and repairs acceptable to the user?
  • Does the technology have the potential for replication and upscaling?
  • Does the project include monitoring of proper functioning, useage and consumer satisfaction?


Financial affordability

  • Can the target group afford to buy it, can they afford the cost of use, maintenance, and repairs?


  • Does the technology save on expenditures? Does it generate income? Does it save time?
  • Do people pay the real cost, or is the product subsidized? If it is subsidized, will the subsidy go on after the project stops?
  • Is there profit based sustainability? Meaning, do the actors involved in production, transport, and sales, all make a profit so activities will go on after the project stops?

Market potential

  • What is the expected market for the product?
  • Has a market study been performed?
  • Is the expected market sufficient to start a supply chain?

Social user acceptance

  • Is the product to be introduced "better" than existing options? Meaning, is it cheaper, simpler, more effective, more attractive?
  • Who will own and manage the technology? Individuals (men/women), committees, schools, institutes, organisations, NGO’s, government?
  • Does the product give status, or other social benefits to the owner?


  • Are women involved in decisions?
  • Do men and women benefit equally from the technology?


  • Can the product and spares be purchased easily and nearby? If not, can users still manage the acquisition of the product or spare parts?
  • Is a supply chain for the product and the spare parts in place prior to the introduction of the technology? If not, will it be created during or after the project?