About Practical Answers
“The best aid to give is intellectual aid, a gift of useful knowledge. A gift of knowledge is infinitely preferable to a gift of material things.”
– E.F. Schumacher
Practical Answers is the Technical Information Service of Practical Action. It provides information on appropriate, small-scale technologies that improve the lives of people living in poverty. It allows you to access the wealth of technical knowledge within Practical Action as well as that of our partners and other people working to reduce poverty.
In addition to the information you will find on this website the Practical Answers programme works across the globe helping to share and promote knowledge about appropriate technologies though its enquiry service and its extension activities.
We run a technical enquiries service from all of our country offices – answering more than 30,000 enquiries per year. You can make use of the enquiry service by contacting one of the Practical Action offices or using our online enquiry form. In many locations you will find local resource centres and knowledge nodes where you can access our service. In Bangladesh, Nepal, Peru and Zimbabwe you can also contact the networks of knowledge extension workers who go out into the local communities to provide technical information for those who would not normally have access to such information.
Practical Answers has developed different ways of making information available to poorer women and men – such as through our podcasting work in Zimbabwe or our call centre in Bangladesh.
You can access our online information through this site and through our family of sites specialising in different languages and regions.
- Bangla A site for work in Bangladesh
- Janathakshan The South Asia information portal in Sinhala, Tamil, and English.
- Nepali A site for work in Nepal.
- Soluciones Prácticas The Latin American site in Spanish managed by Practical Action's Peru office. And a whole series of specialist Spanish language portals covering everything from dairy production to forest livelihoods.
- Southern Africa A new area of the site that aims to provide information specific to the Southern Africa region in relevant languages.
Practical Action works in partnership with a large variety of organisations in the development sector – to increase the quantity of knowledge available, and to broaden information access to all.
Practical Answers works in collaboration with other organisations and specialists to bring technical know-how to people working in development. Some of these partners are:
Cross-Innovation - A new initiative to share knowledge on open source development hardware through social networking approaches.
HEDON - The household energy network focused on improved stoves and small-scale energy delivery.
WASH Knowledge Point - This is a collaboration between Practical Action, WaterAid, IRC, REDR and Engineering Aid which aims to bring together knowledge on water, sanitation and hygiene in development and humanitarian situations.
EnergyPedia - Energypedia is a wiki about renewable energies in the context of development cooperation. Articles on energypedia will be updated continuously with your contribution
We welcome your interest in building this exciting network of organisations. If you are an organisation that is interested in providing the best information possible to help reduce poverty then please contact Practical Answers.