How to Start an Article

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The objective of howtopedia is the collection, translation and promotion of high quality practical information focussing on essential simple technologies and knowledge for development:

  • Simple technologies that can be achieved at minimal cost, use local materials, require minimal skills, are easy to understand and maintain, protect the environment, and comply with the principle of sustainability;
  • Practical knowledge is knowledge that is concrete, solution-oriented, field related and helps users to acquire new skills.

The scope of howtopedia reaches from rural to urban development: agriculture, water, energy, waste management, construction, small businesses, community, education, and health information.

If you would like to take part in the project:

  1. Please apply by filling in the form here or contact us at info (@) with your name, qualification, affiliated organisation or article proposal to receive a user name and password. We will be happy to answer your questions and to suggest ways and topics where you can help.
  2. Browse through the library and check if there are already articles on similar topics, and evaluate whether it is necessary to create a new article, or whether it would be better to edit and add information to an existing article.
  3. Alternatively, go to the category Stub to find articles that are in need of improvements.
  4. After creating or choosing a target article from the main chapters, copy this article with its syntax from the editing window (click on edit above the article) and paste it in the editing window of your future article.
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This article is a draft. It was just started and needs further work.

How To .....

Short Description

  • Problem:
  • Idea:
  • Difficulty:
  • Price Range:
  • Material Needed:
  • Geographic Area:
  • Competencies:
  • How Many people?
  • How Long does it take?


Write here the description of the technology and the steps needed to achieve the goal. It should be recipe like, instructional in nature. If there are several possible approaches to achieve the same outcome or activity, think about dividing the article. In the instance where there are so many different possibilities, it may well be that this technology needs a special section of its own. Try to be as clear as possible, use relatively simple terms, or give the definition of complicated words: not everybody who reads (or writes) English is a native speaker!


Don't forget to point out any difficulties, even potential dangers if they exist.

  • Are there some parts that can't be replaced? Are there some difficult manoeuvres?
  • Some difficulties might appear with the new good or the new common good; try to address such themes as management of the new good, repairs, acceptance and reaction of the community. Does the technology ask for a cultural change?
  • If you think any information needs special attention and should be distributed only under certain circumstances, consider:
  1. Not distributing it at all; and/or
  2. Warning us about the potential dangers of an article at

Success Story

Success stories are very important because they illustrate precisely how a technology or know-how have been adopted by certain people and can demonstrate the ways in which the technology or know-how have changed people's lives. The story should be genuine and must also show the challenges that had to be overcome. Remember that you are not selling a product; rather, you are trying to give someone the tools so that each person can decide if a technology is an appropriate solution to their problem or not.

Plans, Illustrations, Posters

  • Try to provide the clearest illustrations possible. Imagine them being photocopied 5 times and what's left of them after that! The best illustrations and diagrams are well drawn or computer made black and white line drawings.
  • Place letters on the illustrations to provide legends. Please aim to do this in several languages possible, or provide universally understood symbols.
  • Try to provide precise plans, but keep in mind a reader should be able to adapt the design to various possible methods.
  • Ask yourself if a poster might be a good means for communicating the know-how. Leave some space for translations of the poster into local languages, or make a blank version of the poster.
  • We will try to raise a community of illustrators to help by the illustrations, but try to make at least a template for the start, so that this template can be later refined as required.

Rainwater harvesting

Error creating thumbnail: File missing
Error creating thumbnail: File missing
Rainwater harvesting

Help topic on images: [1]


There are the real people behind the technologies. That is to say you. It is important to us that the technologies are not left "alone", but that visitors are able to have a chance to contact a specialist to follow up more specific information and to have their questions answered. This makes it important that you are willing to provide accessible contact details.


You can find the original of this article at asdfghjkl.pdf
This article also refers to asdfghjkl 2.pdf


This Article was initiated by Maud 09:16, 13 July 2009 (UTC), howtopedia.
M. Mitch, 13:40, Jan 14, 2009 (UTC)
V. Vople, 13:40, Jan 14, 2010 (UTC)
J. Johnson, 13:40, Jan 14, 2011 (UTC)
F. Tepper, Flickety 07:44, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

You should sign your comment:

  • appending four tildes (~~~~) to the comment so as to add your user name plus date/time: Patricia Zhang 13:40, Jan 14, 2007 (UTC)
  • Adding three tildes (~~~) will add just your user name: Patricia Zhang

Important: Please click the watch button (above the article, next to Edit) to be informed per E-mail about possible changes done to your contribution.


Don't add too many links (we are not aiming to be a "link farm"). Instead, try to provide quality links over quantity of links. Choose links carefully, to ensure that they are real reference links for the technology you are presenting, links that enhance the information you have provided.

Related articles

  • Mention here the other howtopedia articles that relate to the subject.

Name them exactly the same as the original title so that redirection functions.

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  • Add or choose from those categories (that is to say, one or more themes for which this article is relevant), so that it can be recognized in these categories, and quickly found by users.

Write them this way [[category:Example]].

  • If you create a new category, please add it here in this template article, so that the new category can be used by others. Category:Image editing