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Aalto University (2021)

Localisation of technology solutions – case from Kenyan water sector

Seppälä, Inkeri

Titre : Localisation of technology solutions – case from Kenyan water sector

Teknologiaratkaisujen lokalisointi – tapaustutkimus Kenian vesisektorilta

Auteur : Seppälä, Inkeri

Université de soutenance : Aalto University

Grade : Master’s Programme in Water and Environmental Engineering (WAT) 2021

The Sustainable Development Goal 6 seeks to provide safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all. Yet, achieving this goal is particularly challenging in many developing countries. New kinds of partnerships seek to push towards this goal, facilitated by trade and concessional loans and including increasingly sophisticated (Western) technological solutions. However, the increasing level of technology may pose challenges for the sustainability of the planned solutions, calling for localisation i.e., customisation of the technology to better suit the challenges and needs of the target location.

This thesis looks at localisation of water service technology through a case study focusing on the water project planned by a consortium of Finnish technology providers for Kenyan water sector. This thesis aimed to provide the technology providers with a framework to support their efforts in planning the localisation of their solutions together with their local partners. The framework combines two elements : 1) the core challenges faced when implementing Finnish technology solutions in developing country contexts, and 2) both commonly used and new potential measures to address these challenges. The information used to develop the framework was acquired via semi-structured interviews with Finnish and Kenyan experts, supported by a literature review. The localisation framework was tested with technology providers from the case project with the help of discussion and related self-assessment of localisation needs.

The framework identified three main localisation categories : technology, local capacity, and local ownership. Each category entails 2-5 groups of challenges, together with corresponding suggestions for adaptation measures. The interviewees from the case study project found the framework generally comprehensive and relevant for this context. There were, however, differing views on how the actual localisation should occur : while the Kenyan interviewees emphasised target-specific customisation, the Finnish technology providers preferred a more general approach. As a compromise, the thesis suggests target-specific customisation of non-technical details, such as user training, and integration of technical localisation into the development phase of new solutions.

Mots clés : localisation, water services, sustainability, technology adaptation, Kenya, PIF


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