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.

Facilitated by renowned professionals with extensive field practice experience, practical training at SIFAT emphasizes the subjects of water and sanitation, food and nutrition, alternative energy, primary health care, microenterprise development, participatory community development, training of trainers, cross-cultural sensitivity training, and conflict resolution.

The Sparkman Center works directly with SIFAT to offer periodic seminars and workshops, 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.

SIFAT Field Training Course

This course is designed to give participants a better understanding of major causes of world hunger and malnutrition and to demonstrate specific appropriate technologies that can be used to combat both issues. Please note this course is open to undergraduate students.

Students have the opportunity to:

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

Course Dates

GHS 430/630- 6 credit hours (maximum capacity: 15 students)
Dates: May-mester. Check back to exact dates

Deposit for May course: $300 non-refundable deposit


What past students have to say about the course:

"SIFAT was nothing short of phenomenal! I want to thank the Sparkman Center again for providing us with this opportunity! I feel infinitely more prepared for Peace Corps service now that I have real concrete skills and so many fantastic resources and connections."
"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..."
"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. So, thank you for the opportunity!"

"It was amazing! The material I learned was so exciting that I am going to teach the members in Engineers in Service and Learning. This trip was definitely not my last, and I plan on visiting again and also collaborating 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. I will only promote it and encourage more students to take it! THANK YOU! I can't wait to use them..."

"SIFAT was a great class. I feel like my life has been greatly enriched because of it. I have learned a vast amount and learned about things I never thought about before. It is a class that should continue to be offered"

Click here for videos of students experiences or watch below. 

SIFAT Requirements: 

  •        Good academic standing
  •          Submit a non-refundable deposit
  •        Registration for academic credit is required during the summer term registration period.