• Written by Mark Charmer
    3 August 2010

Circle of Blue has just published a great interview with Akvo chief technology officer and founder Thomas Bjelkeman-Pettersson. It was recorded recently at the Tällberg “Rework the World” conference in Sweden, which brought together global thought leaders, working to solve society’s big problems.

Check out the full article here.

You can listen to the audio interview on Circle of Blue Radio, too.

A few snippets:

On spending development aid on appropriate technology: “You can go to a village and there will be a Swedish pump that is broken that was installed in the 70s and a French pump that was installed in the 80s and a British pump that was installed in the 90s, and they’re all broken because they’re all technology that’s flown in, installed, and there’s nobody there to maintain them. There’s no market to sell and maintain these things either because it’s all shipped in from far and abroad by foreign money. It’s not suitable for the local environment. We keep making these mistakes.”

On the trouble with development reporting: “We call it people being stuck in thick Word report syndrome —everybody’s afraid of corruption. Are we doing the right thing? Has the money gone missing? They make these organizations that do the work in the field write long reports —30 to 40 page reports— and regarding six to 12 months. I call them ‘cover your backside reports’ because they don’t really help anyone. One or two people read them, and then they go in and are archived somewhere to make sure that you can prove that you spent the money responsibly.”

Circle of Blue’s dedicated WATERNEWS channel is well worth a look.