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The Southern Institute for Appropriate Technology (SIFAT) is a 176-acre facility located in rural Lineville, Alabama that provides opportunities to learn hands-on skills in the development and use of appropriate technologies around the world. The Sparkman Center works directly with SIFAT to offer a May-mester field course for undergraduate & graduate students, combining the best in academic research with appropriate technologies in a community development context to address basic human needs essential to good health around the world.

Facilitated by professionals with extensive field practice experience, practical training at SIFAT emphasizes the subjects of: (1) water and sanitation, (2) food and nutrition, (3) alternative energy, (4) microenterprise development, and (5) participatory community development. Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn roof-top gardening
  • Build a simple solar cooker
  • Make leaf concentrate to treat malnourishment
  • Learn simple technologies for clean water and sanitation
  • Build fuel-efficient cookstoves
  • Learn to preserve foods and "refrigerate" without electricity

What past students have to say about the course:

"I had an inspiring experience at SIFAT that was very interesting and informative! I learned so much about alleviation of malnutrition through appropriate technologies, and came home with great resources."
"The material we learned was so exciting. I'm going to teach the members in Engineers in Service-Learning. This trip was definitley not my last, and I plan on collaborating with the people at SIFAT again in the future."
"I really enjoyed this class and I would recommend this class to anyone doing their Global Health Certificate. This is the best class I’ve taken at UAB, period."
"It was such a blessing to be with these men and women for 14 days, share life and talks and coffee (lots of coffee) while learning some incredible life changing, community building skills! I can't wait to use them..."