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close this bookAppropriate Community Technology - A Training Manual (Peace Corps; 1982; 685 pages)
View the documentThe Farallones Institute Rural Center
View the documentCHP International, INC.
View the documentPreface
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsPhase I: Introduction to training
close this folderPhase II: Earthen construction and fuel-saving cookstoves
View the documentPhase II Calendar
View the documentSession 1. Environmental health and sanitation
View the documentSession 2. Traditional methods of cooking: an introduction to cookstove technologies
View the documentSession 3. Fuel-saying cookstoves: gathering information
View the documentSession 4. Cookstove design and innovations
View the documentSession 5. Thinking in pictures: introduction to design drawing
View the documentSession 6. Introduction to independent study
View the documentSession 7. Cookstove operation function and design principles
View the documentSession 8. Understanding the cookstove design process and soil mixes
View the documentSession 9. Insolation meter construction
View the documentSession 10. Cookstove construction
View the documentSession 11. Nature of volunteerism: expectations beyond training
View the documentSession 12. Food issues
View the documentSession 13. The role of the volunteer in development: definition of appropriate technology
View the documentSession 14. Stove promotion and dissemination
View the documentSession 15. Explaining completed cookstoves
View the documentSession 16. Evaluating cookstove efficiency
View the documentSession 17. Diagnosing and repairing malfunctioning cookstoves
View the documentSession 18. Other responses to fuel scarcity
View the documentSession 19. Charcoal production and stoves
View the documentSession 20. Custom and food
View the documentSession 21. Design and construction of the second stove part one: stove base
View the documentSession 22. Alternative cookstoves: presentations
View the documentSession 23. Basic nutrition
View the documentSession 24. Cookstove operation
View the documentSession 25. Cookstove development and innovation
View the documentSession 26. Cookstove information and resources/ evaluation of cookstove training
Open this folder and view contentsPhase III: Pedal/treadle power
Open this folder and view contentsPhase IV: Solar water heaters
Open this folder and view contentsPhase V: Solar agricultural dryers
Open this folder and view contentsPhase VI: Concluding the program: The energy fair
Open this folder and view contentsAppendices

Session 20. Custom and food

Total time:

2 hours


* To discuss the role that custom and belief play in determining diets in the United States and in developing countries
* To develop a sample, low-cost, nutritious diet using specific cultural guidelines


* Werner, Where There Is No Doctor, pp. 1-17
* Brownlee, Community, Culture & Care, pp. 1 73-21 3
* Jelliffe, Child Nutrition in Developing Countries, Chapter IV
* Katz, Food, Where Nutrition, Politics and Culture Meet, pp. 8-10
* Attachment II-20, "Planning a Low-Budget, Nutritious and Culturally Appropriate Diet"


Newsprint and felt-tip pens, notebooks, pencils or pens

Trainer Notes

Prepare copies of the Jelliffe and Katz resources for distribution during the session.


Step 1. (5 minutes)
Review the session objectives and activities.

Step 2. (55 minutes)
Distribute copies of the Jelliffe and Katz resource materials and have the participants read them.

Step 3. (15 minutes)
Have the participants identify the main points covered in the readings and briefly discuss them.

Step 4. (10 minutes)
Have the participants list (in their notebooks) and categorize ten of their favorite childhood foods and ten of their currently favorite foods.

Trainer Notes

Have participants associate each food with the categories described in the Jelliffe material i.e., cultural super, prestige, body image, physiological, sympathetic magic group.

Ask why such foods have been or are favorites and encourage comments and questions.

Explain that participants should keep their food lists in their notebooks for use in Phase II: Session 23.

Step 5. (10 minutes)
Have the participants list and categorize ten foods that are "typical" in the countries in which they will be serving as Peace Corps Volunteers.

Trainer Notes

Use the same categories from the Jelliffe book and ask the participants to save the lists for use in Phase II: Session 23.

Step 6. (10 minutes)
Distribute, review and explain Attachment II-20, "Planning a Low-Budget, Nutritious and Culturally Appropriate Diet."

Trainer Notes

Attachment I-1-20 contains an on-going assignment that is to be worked on throughout the program and completed in Phase V.

Explain that:

* The participants have the option of forming small groups to work cooperatively on the assignment.

* The completion of the assignment will require additional information that will be covered in Phase II: Session 23, "Basic Nutrition."

* The assignment will be due and discussed during Phase V: Session 14, "Planning a Nutritional Garden."

Step 7. (15 minutes)
Have the participants begin working on their assignments.


The following foods and their prices are typical of the diet in the Ecuadorian highland region. Plan a day's menu that provides sufficient protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and caloric requirements, and falls within the guidelines of available time or preparation and economic and cultural constraints.

* There are six people in the family, including four children (ages 1 to 12).

* Corn products are usually available and need not be purchased.

* There is a scarcity of quinoa, a high-protein grain, and it is available only in limited quantities.

* Fava beans must be purchased, since the crop has failed this year.

* You have the equivalent of one dollar to spend for the day's meals.

* Milk and cheese are available only in the city (an hour's walk away, or a 12-cent bus ride) and meat is sometimes available only in the city.

* Wild greens are in limited supply, since the rains have not been constant.

* There is squash available in the fields, but only in limited quantity.

* The woman in the family suffers from "white discharge" and will not eat milk products, squash or pork because it may make her condition worse.

* Two of the under-five children have diarrhea and will not be allowed to eat "cold" foods: squash, pork, oranges, papaya.

* Guinea pig (cuy) is used for festive occasions (as is any other meat product, except for fat/lard).

* The family has an income of approximately $60 (U.S.) a month, of which $20 must be spent on the children's education: bus, books, uniforms, fees, etc.

* The rains have not come and grasses (at about 4 cents a bunch) must be purchased for the guinea pigs each day since there is no other food.

* There are a few vegetables in the family garden, left over from a previous Peace Corps project, but they are withering rapidly from the lack of water and care.

* Firewood must be brought down from the mountain (where the hacienda owner has his land), a job requiring two days. In addition, the family must pay with labor for the wood carried out.

* The husband must be taken his lunch. He works at a construction site temporarily, in a city nearby which is accessible by walking or by bus.

* Water comes from the community tap, but the nearest one is not working, so a trip must be made down into the village,

* There is a fiesta to be held this weekend at the house of relatives. The family is expected to bring food and drink, so money must be put aside to buy extra potatoes, lard, beans and a bottle of trago.

* The woman's breast milk is drying up, and the one-year-old is losing weight.

* One of the children is expelling worms when he defecates. The mother restricts his intake of milk and other "cold" foods until the worms are gone.

* Money must be kept aside for cooperative dues (20 cents per month).

* The bean water (from cooking beans) cannot be used, due to the woman's illness (the white discharge).

* The family is afraid of extremely "cold" foods, especially in the early morning or at night. Such foods are: cabbage, pork, squash, oranges, and any leftovers that have not been boiled.

* The biggest meal is at mid-day and must include beans, corn, soup (with a corn or oatmeal base or a broth with potatoes and suet), and potatoes.

* There are two other meals: early morning, where herb tea and sugar are drunk with a piece of bread or toasted corn or leftover soup; and the evening meal, where soup or leftovers from lunch are served.

Foods and Prices

Beans: 20 to 40 cents per lb. (Some may be available from crops.)
Lentils: 30 cents per lb.
Fava beans: about 40 cents per lb.
Quinoa: 30 cents per lb.
Cuy: 4 dollars per animal
Meat: one dollar per lb.
Suet (fat from meat): 50 cents per 1/2 1b.
Lard: 75 cents per 1/2 lb.
Vegetable shortening: 75 cents per lb.
Oil: 1.20 per liter
Bananas: 2 cents each
Oranges: 2 cents each
Onions (scallion-type): 12 cents for 5-6 onions
Rice: 30 cents per lb.
Lettuce: 20 cents per head
Cabbage: 30 cents per head
Watercress, other greens: 4 cents per bunch
Tomatoes: 7 cents each
Chili peppers: 4 cents for 5-6 peppers
Chicken: one dollar per lb. (only in 3-4 lb. quantities)
Potatoes: 12 cents per lb.
Milk: 25 cents per liter
Cheese: one dollar per lb.
Raw sugar: 10 cents per block (2 cups, more or less)
White sugar: 25 cents per lb.
Herbs: 1-4 cents per bunch
Papaya: 30 cents each
Canned tuna: one dollar per can
Noodles: 50 cents per lb.
Bread: 2 cents per loaf
Eggs: 10 cents each
Butter: one dollar per lb.
Spices: 4 cents per oz.
Soft drinks: 15 cents
Liquor (trago): one dollar per bottle

After completing the exercise, take time to discuss, in writing, the following:

1. Name several economic constraints that limited the amounts or types of foods purchased.

2. Name several social/cultural considerations you followed in planning the diet.

3. What was the most difficult aspect of the planning (i.e., the economics, cultural factors, availability or scarcity of foods, etc.)?

4. Which major nutrients are included (in proper amounts) in the diet? Which are lacking?

5. Do you think that a rural family can eat nutritious meals based on the information included in this exercise? Explain.

6. What would you add or delete from the exercise?

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