Practical Action Blogs

    Learning from failure: the untold story

    Absorbing failure and learning from it is not always easy. Building on failure is even more challenging and requires great strength of character. This Practical Action story has remained untold for a decade because looking at failure positively is not something we typically do. I’m taking this opportunity of sharing our faecal sludge management (FSM) journey – a story of how failure made us rethink a problem and develop a more ingenious solution that put addressing people’s fears and concerns at […]

    May 21st, 2019

    Global Platform for Risk Reduction 2019

    The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) takes place every two years. The platform is the foremost gathering for experts to explore how to reduce disaster risk and build the resilience of communities and nations. The platform is convened by the UNDRR, the United Nations office for DRR, and this year is hosted by the government of Switzerland. More than 4,000 participants and delegates from over 180 countries are registered to attend. This is a rich and diverse group of actors that […]

    Bridging the sustainable energy gap for smallholders in West Africa

    In West Africa, demand for food and processed food is increasing mainly due to demographic pressure  while smallholder farmers and processors face difficulties to respond to this demand. Producing and processing more could be facilitated thanks to sustainable and affordable energy. However, access to energy is still limited in West Africa, in particular in rural areas, where 9 out of 15 countries have rural electrification rates below 19% and policies for energy access are focused on the satisfaction of the household […]

    May 8th, 2019

    Fashion comes at a price

    The impact of the fashion industry on water resources in Bangladesh Bangladesh is the second largest garment exporting country in the world. Around 80% of the country’s earnings come from the Ready Made Garments (RMG) sector, which contributes 16% to the country’s GDP. A total of 4.4 million people work directly in the fashion industry, providing support to more than 40 million indirectly for their livelihood. The concentration of the fashion industries is high around the river banks surrounding Dhaka due […]

    May 7th, 2019

    Better information helps build resilience that protects

    Mary Allen leads Practical Action’s work on agriculture and climate resilience in West Africa.  She has lived in the region since 1986, working on natural resource management and resilience to climate change. _________________________ In West Africa Practical Action is helping smallholder farmers and people living in low income households, improve their management of and resilience to climate-related risks such as drought and floods, through access to information and adapted knowledge services. In 2015 we co-founded the social enterprise Jokalante, whose […]

    April 23rd, 2019

    FRMC flipping Ex-ante actions and Post ante-actions

    Not only in Nepali context , around the globe in taking actions to disaster, among Ex-ante action and Post ante-actions, post disaster interventions are more observed than ex-ante actions. The updates of “core humanitarian standards” (CHS) and lack of empirical resilience measurement tools methods indicate the focus is still in post disaster interventions of relief, rescue, recovery and reconstruction, guided by CHS. Four humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence are at the core of all humanitarian work. These […]

    April 23rd, 2019

    Starting small, in Karnali

    (This is the first part of my photo story series on community-led small irrigation projects slowly turning the table for Karnali’s farming families) It is almost needless to say, Karnali stands out in its exquisiteness for the landscape it flaunts is unparalleled to rest of the world. Spread across 9,441 square miles having possessed the largest lands among Nepal’s provinces, it is also the least populated of them all — seemingly because of the hardship its topography has to offer. The province […]

    April 19th, 2019

    ‘Including real-life contexts in science teaching’ by Practical Action

    I did it!!   I wrote an article that has been published in the Association for Science Education’s journal School Science Review.  It felt like an honour to be asked, and did take a while to do (I struggled a bit with all the Harvard indexing system LOL) but it was worth it in the end. I hope that as a result of being published, more teachers around the world will read my article ‘’Including real-life global contexts in science teaching’ […]

    April 17th, 2019

    BICAS – strongly connected with people’s life in Karnali

    This was my first trip to Karnali, a region yet to be explored, where I observed several interventions made by the BICAS project and met with a number of community people and civil society organisations who were benefitted from the interventions. The interventions ranges from gravity goods ropeway to solar water lifting, goat breed improvement to agriculture commercialisation, improved water mills to micro-enterprises and capacity building of CSOs to linkages with local government. Most of the initiatives were new to […]

    April 15th, 2019

    A warm and thoughtful breakfast with the WASH ladies!

    I never thought that I would so enjoy such a charming breakfast and chit-chat with women from different corners of the world at the ‘Citywide Inclusive Sanitation Principles’ workshop in Khulna, Bangladesh. That morning, 2nd April took me by surprise! I met more than twenty beautiful faces working for the WASH sector in different capacities and roles who joined the conversation, bringing a wealth of thoughts and courage, breaking the silence. The conversation began with Alyse from the Bill & […]

    April 12th, 2019