Practical Action Blogs

    Practical Actions commitment to our supporters

    Practical Action is a charity with a difference. We believe in local solutions that can grow to scale, people centred development, sharing every ounce of our knowledge so the maximum benefit accrues (helping others to share their experience too) and working to help end poverty and protect our planet. We are also different in our approach to fundraising. I’ve been Marketing and Communications Director at Practical Action for 15 years – I’m told that sticking around in such a post […]
    Margaret Gardner

    September 2nd, 2015

    A day in the life of Tillotama and Rabinarayana

    Rabi Narayan & Tillotama Sahu
    By Ananta Prasad & Warwick Franklin Yesterday we visited two communities who will be included under a new water and sanitation project in Odisha, India. Leaving the hotel at 4.30am(!), we first arrived at Gurujang Jabardastpur in Khurda Municipality while it was still dark. Everyone was still asleep and the silence was deafening. The only noise being the barking of the semi wild dogs that patrolled the single street. Our first impression was of a few old people walking down the street with […]
    Ananta Prasad

    September 2nd, 2015

    Rice duck farming in Nepal in pictures

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    Authors: Jack Spoor, Menila Kharel, Dr. Sujan Piya Women in innovation Rice is a staple food crop in Nepal, accounting for about 67% of cereal consumption.[1] Ensuring maximum yield and minimising loss is a vital in ensuring food security. Here, women farmers are transplanting rice seedlings that have been grown in a nursery with specific spacing into a flooded paddy field. A project like rice-duck farming which helps to empower smallholders will have a great effect on gender equality, as […]
    Jack Spoor

    September 1st, 2015

    50 years working for Technology Justice

    donkey plough 1998
    On 29 August 1965, an article was published in The Observer entitled “How to help them help themselves” written by Fritz Schumacher the distinguished economist with support from his close friend Observer editor, David Astor. In it Schumacher pointed out the inadequacies of aid based on the transfer of large scale, capital-intensive technologies and argued for a shift towards “intermediate technologies”, based on the needs and skills possessed by poor people themselves. This article helped shape the future of development. It clearly […]
    Simon Trace

    August 30th, 2015

    Ensuring evidence for impact

    Women water Turkana
    Delivering aid programs that effectively enhance the lives of the poor is the central goal of development organisations, donors and the public who support them. Since its inception development aid has saved countless lives and lifted millions of families out of extreme poverty, but are we learning effectively from what works and what doesn’t? How can we as NGOs be sure that the interventions we choose are the most appropriate and the most cost effective use of our funds? Building a well […]
    Adele Murphy

    August 27th, 2015

    Pumpkin production was a breakthrough for Samsunnahar

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    In my recent blog, I narrated some of the factors that contribute success and failure of any individual’s efforts to tackle poverty. In this post, I am going to detail an individual’s success and future aspiration that was fuelled by development intervention. Samsunnahar (50) like many other poor people lives in the flood protection embankment (village of Moddhyo Belka), Sundergonj Upazilla of Gaibandha district. Due to river erosion, her family had to move home six times, lost all their homestead […]
    Mokhlesur Rahman

    August 27th, 2015

    Improving Market Systems in Sudan: Developing the Karaya Gum Industry

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    Karaya Gum is one of those obscure substances that you often see on the list of ingredients, but no one really knows what it is. Tapped from Sterculia urens, a deciduous tree native to the Indian Subcontinent, it is a relatively common substance in commercial products, turning up in everything from cheesecakes and energy drinks to eyeliner and laxatives. Because of this ever-present demand, regions that supply Karaya Gum and similar products such and the more widely known Gum Arabic […]
    Jack Spoor

    August 26th, 2015

    What the increasing use of desalination means for the world

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    Hundreds of new desalination plants are cropping up across the globe to meet the growing needs for water – estimated to be increasing by an astonishing 640bn liters per year. But as the world looks towards technology to solve the growing crisis of fresh water access, what does this mean for people and our planet?
    Jonny Casey

    August 25th, 2015

    Gender equality in agroecology – the hidden benefits

    A Woman holding Arboos
    Co-author Javeria Hashmi Javeria is completing an MSc in Food Security at University of Warwick. She joined Practical Action on a research placement for her dissertation – Agroecology, Small farmers and Livelihoods: A Critical Analysis for Sustainable Development. Aside from trying to provide sustainable agricultural growth through the use of low input methods, one of the main goals of agroecology is actually social equity. Although you wouldn’t suspect it from its name – the words agriculture and ecology doesn’t sound […]
    Jack Spoor

    August 25th, 2015

    Factors make a case successful or failure

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    Whenever we pay any field visit to see the intervention at the ground or understand how our beneficiaries are being helped, we always get stuck to one point ‘what works and what does not’. We realize that it is not a generalizable issue. It works very individual level. It also shaped by power structure of the community. As poverty is a multi-dimensional aspect, therefore, the factors that may help one person to get out of poverty may not work others. In a […]
    Mokhlesur Rahman

    August 22nd, 2015