Navunaram - Technology


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Navunaram is a community with a population of two thousand. To manage such an expansive population, they have developed a unique social structure which acts as the technology by which the community functions. Navunaram covers enough land area to be determined as its own ward by the national government, but the community has organized itself even more to make it more manageable. Navunaram is divided into five zones, each covering a different section of the community. Each zone has an elected councilor whose job it is to address the needs of the people in that zone. Once a week all the councilors come together to discuss the needs of the community at large and to report on the status of each zone. All concerns by individuals are brought to the zone councilor, who then either addresses it or brings it to the attention of all the councilors before action is taken depending on the severity of the concern.

The physical layout of the community is yet another technology that keeps everyone in Navunaram connected. As mentioned in other sections of the document, Navunaram is situated along one of the main roads connecting Kokopo and Rabaul. During our visit to Navunaram, we were located solely in zone two and noticed that though a number of families live a bit farther removed from the main road, there are dirt access roads that extend off of the main road. There are also paths leading from the furthest houses to these access roads making it possible for everyone to access others in the community and meeting places with relative ease. While this accessibility has social applications for Navunaram, it is also the tool most used in commercial engagements; giving Navunaram a way to access local markets and exporters to generate income.

In terms of physical technologies, Navunaram functions on a needs basis. Many homes have generators which are used fairly infrequently because constant access to electricity is not essential to their ability to function. The sense of communal responsibility also makes it unnecessary for everyone to have their own generators, as is the case with vehicles. These technologies are shared amongst multiple members of the community and are not solely for individual use.

One technology that is necessary to sustain the population of Navunaram is the rain water collection systems they have developed to take advantage of the abundant rain during the wet season. Nearly every building in the community has a network of gutters and pipes that direct rain water from the roofs of the buildings into large collection tanks. Not only are there elaborate systems made with materials purchased at a hardware store, but Navunaram also has a roofing method that takes advantage of the natural curvature of bamboo and an angled roof to direct water. By splitting bamboo and positioning it on the frame of a house making a corrugated roof, they are able to facilitate water collection using sustainable resources.

Date Entered: June 2012