Equipment

As RfD grant holders, you have knowledge and personal experience regarding conditions in the respective developing country. The Danish organisation and its South partner are therefore held responsible for securing that equipment shipped will indeed be brought to good use. 

Below are the assessments, which the Danish organisation must make with its South partner before arriving at any decision on what equipment should be shipped as part of an RfD grant.

Equipment relevance

The equipment shall form part of and serve to strengthen ongoing development work in which the South partner is involved. The shipment will therefore imply that the South partner becomes better able to respond to local needs and to ensure that poor people in a given community achieve a greater say. Therefore, when planning who will receive the equipment be considerate regarding which competences the South partner possesses relative to the actual equipment to be shipped. E.g. does the South partner know about medical equipment so that they can ensure its relevance for the eventual recipient?

Technical qualifications

Those who shall receive the equipment must have adequate technical qualifications. There is an immediate attractiveness in acquiring an ultrasound scanner for the local health clinic, but if no expertise is available to operate the equipment, it may become useless. Moreover, even if one can make a proper diagnosis, treatment options may not be available and the equipment cannot be meaningfully deployed. Similarly, local schools may only benefit from computers if competent IT teachers are present to fully exploit the benefits that the computers may offer.

Requirements to equipment being shipped

In order, not to burden the local partner or the environment, the Danish organisation must ensure that the equipment is of a good quality in advance of shipment. Such a quality assurance may often happen in collaboration with a Danish renovation workshop. Please note that RfD has established minimum requirements for certain types of equipment, e.g. computers.

Recurrent operations and maintenance

The South partner shall ensure that the equipment can be used on a regular basis. Therefore, a thorough knowledge of the operating environment is necessary. As an example, x-ray systems and computers require a stable power supply – and the local institution must be in a position to pay the full costs hereof. Even if the equipment appears to be almost brand new, the South partner must guarantee regular maintenance. Prior to shipping the equipment, the Danish organisation and its South partner must therefore have agreed who will cover the costs of repair and spare parts. One e.g. must be able to afford that a local carpenter can repair broken school furniture or that new – and often expensive – spare parts for the medical equipment can be purchased. In other words: plans for maintenance of the equipment must be in place. Accordingly, the equipment should not be so advanced as to hinder that the local institution can repair and maintain it as well as acquiring spare parts. 

Local alternatives

The equipment shipped from Denmark may not distort competition or in other ways serve to crowd out local production in the community. In addition, the equipment should represent a certain value. One should consider if shipment of used equipment across long distances make economic sense as shipment costs may by far exceed the actual value. Maybe local alternatives can better address the need identified. There should be a reasonable proportion between expenses you and RfD incur and the value, the equipment represents to the South partner and the community.

Environment and safety

Equipment not being subject to safe use or which corrodes in a store house because nobody knows how to use it can become a serious liability for the South partner. Rather than strengthening local civil society a RfD shipment can tarnish the credibility of the South partner because of lack of consideration of technical requirements, or due to ignorance of the operating environment or absence of maintenance procedures. The Danish organisation together with its South partner must include environmental considerations, and likewise some equipment requires particular safety and occupational health safeguards. It is also decisive that you consider how the equipment can be disposed of when it is worn-out after some years.

Renovation workshops

RfD works with a number of renovation workshops across Denmark providing assistance regarding advice, collection, renovation, packaging and shipment of used equipment. These workshops are managed by professional staff offering a wide knowledge about this field. Some workshops have particular areas of expertise such as computer reconditioning, bicycles or medical equipment. The renovation workshops maintain a close collaboration, coordinating among themselves and convene for frequent technical meetings to boost mutual learning and common standards.

Expert travel

In case technically advanced equipment is being shipped you may apply for drawing on expert advice. This person can travel to the community shortly after the arrival of the equipment to ensure that the equipment is properly installed and that local staff is trained in using it. 

Strategic use of equipment

A RfD shipment shall offer more than securing regular operations: it should serve as a catalyst for change. The following could provide inspiration for placing the equipment in a strategic perspective

  • Receiving equipment through an RfD shipment can enable the South partner to increase the extent of its current efforts, e.g. by enabling the health clinic to cater for more patients or allowing the village school admitting more pupils
  • The equipment can enhance the quality of South partner development work, e.g. by introducing computers as part of the education
  • Equipment from Denmark can serve as a magnet in regard to attracting additional resources, .e.g by increasing user fees or by making public authorities prepared to contribute to financing a share of recurrent costs
  • The shipment and the wider collaboration with the Danish organisation can contribute to a better positioning of the South partner relative to other stakeholders and local authorities and thereby achieving growing recognition. The equipment can demonstrate to other community members that it is essential to prioritise poor people’s needs. The shipment may also have a ripple effect on the recognition that the South partner is experiencing in its everyday operations. This in turn can lead to a stronger and more diverse civil society – and thereby a more democratic development
  • The equipment can enable the South partner to extend its outreach to priority beneficiaries, e.g. by offering health services or access to education for community groups who have so far been precluded from this
  • The equipment can be used in negotiations whereby free health care or schooling is offered by local authorities in return for the equipment.

Where does the equipment come from?

Different options exist to acquire the equipment for the South partner

  • A renovation workshop may supply the equipment. The RfD secretariat collaborates with a range of renovation workshops who stock different equipment and each specialises in different fields. 
  • The Danish organisation can organise its own collection
  • One may contact the local school, who might have furniture no longer in use. Be aware that certain equipment (such as e.g. computers) is subject to specific quality assurance requirements.