Handmade Smooth Recycling Papermaking Research in Western Australia by Dr.Leslie.C. Westerlund

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‘Sustainable Turnkey Approach’

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;