When aid to the Third World actually works it is usually on such a small scale that it makes little impact on the world's problems. Can demands for generalizable actions be reconciled with location-specific solutions? The Critical Villager considers how community-based technical aid can be made more effective and sustainable. Calling for development workers, policy makers and researchers to put themselves in the place of the intended beneficiaries of aid, it suggests concrete principles for action and research. It argues that participatory research and 'transfer of technology' should not be regarded as rival models for development but rather as complementary components in a single process of effective aid.