Practical Action Blogs

    Water is life for villagers in Darfur

      A simple solution like a solar powered water pump can have a profound impact on a community. This is eloquently demonstrated in these first-hand accounts from residents of two villages in drought-prone North Darfur. These stories were collected and written by Hamid Bakheet.  “We were at the margin of survival. Most of the villagers have moved elsewhere to find water. It’s really hard to leave your homeland but the even harder to survive without water. We used to travel for […]

    March 20th, 2018

    Global SDG7 Conference: are we really doing things differently in energy access?

    More than two years have now passed since the 2030 Agenda was designed and the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established – including SDG7 which ‘ensures access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’. The UN’s tracking of progress on SDG7 over the last two years has shown mixed results. Last month, I participated in the Global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 Conference in Bangkok, from 20-23 February 2018. The conference provided a thoughtful review of the progress […]

    March 15th, 2018

    ‘Woman’s Hour’ in Odisha

    Growing up and becoming a young woman in India can be a confusing, terrifying prospect in some rural and poor urban communities. Young women are given the barest of facts and no proper explanation of what is happening to their bodies. Traditions tell them they are both ‘unclean’ while menstruating; and that they are ‘now a woman’. They face up to the terrifying prospect (still practiced in some rural communities) of physical isolation in separate huts for the entirely of […]

    Women as a force to build resilience

    Many risk drivers are created by development choices at global or national levels, but all are manifested at the local level, so local people must be central to risk reduction practice. But it is important to recognise that in these communities it is the disabled, elderly, women and girls who are the most at risk. For example, women accounted for 61% of fatalities caused by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, 70-80% in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and 91% […]

    March 8th, 2018

    A Darfurian Woman Pressing for Progress  

    Kabkabyia is a small town in the Northern part of North Darfur state. It is one of the places where Practical Action Sudan is implementing development projects in post-conflict context. The area is badly affected by the protracted conflict and women in particular face the worst part of this reality when they find themselves heading their families and handling both productive and social roles. Haleema, a 55 years old widow from Kabkabyia is one of those women challenging poverty, conflict, […]

    , | March 7th, 2018

    Is blockchain the right technical solution for our projects?

    Flow chart: Do we need blockchains? (source: Wüst and Gervais, 20172)
    I recently met with colleagues who were keen to use blockchain for global development. As you may guess, our conversation started with the key question: Is blockchain the right technical solution for us?  Simply put, blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a shared list of records. These records, called blocks, are linked together as a chain. Each block contains encrypted transaction data known as hash, hash from a previous block and a timestamp. When new data added, all records […]

    February 21st, 2018

    Improving food security in Talkok

    clearing mesquite Talkok
    Telkok is one of the most poverty stricken localities in the state of Kassala and needs a great deal of effort to build up the food security and resilience of its communities. Practical Action and three local partners are leading a range of interventions in the area. These include limiting the spread of Mesquite trees which invade agricultural areas. One partner, the Elgandual network, is working to improve agricultural production and helpfarmers’ increase their income.  They held a practical demonstration on […]

    February 16th, 2018

    Managing the sanitation challenge for Rohingya refugees

    Nearly a million people of Rohingya community are living in the makeshift shelters in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, fleeing persecution in neighbouring Myanmar. Hasin Jahan, Practical Action’s country director in Bangladesh, recently visited the camp and describes her experience. It felt like one fine morning half a million Rohingya people just landed on the doorstep! It may be the world’s largest humanitarian crisis ever. It has been well managed with the government and agencies working together to provided the Rohingya communities with […]

    February 15th, 2018

    Bio-dykes: saving communities and instilling confidence in them

    As we approached Bangalipur, a closed-knit community of 135 households, dark clouds started covering the sky and a light sprinkle followed after. Enchanted by the fresh, earthy smell wafting from the gravelled road and ducks swimming in the brownish water in the canal running by the road, we thought of delving further into the rural life. The surrounding was verdant with freshly transplanted rice. Nearby a young man was ploughing to ready the field for rice transplantation while a group […]

    February 14th, 2018

    World Urban Forum 9: The good, the same-old, the hopeful, the shocking…

    The World Urban Forum (WUF9) is a major conference run every two years by UN-Habitat. This year it took place in the city of Kuala Lumpur from 7-13 February 2018. The last time this global community came together was in October 2016 to negotiate the ‘New Urban Agenda’ – the global urban agreement endorsed by the UN General Assembly about the future of the world’s cities. It was meant to give a steer to how all 17 Sustainable Development Goals should […]