We’re drawing our 50th anniversary year to a close at the end of August, by celebrating 50 successful technologies, which have had a huge impact on communities across the world.
We asked our supporters to vote for their favourites and these are the three they chose.
There was quite a wide range of response. Rating technologies isn’t easy! And we’d love to hear your views as well in the comments below.
How do you choose between such a variety of different technologies? Our energy access work demonstrates how vital energy is for raising communities out of poverty, but a lack of clean water and sanitation is life threatening.
Rural communities we work with might vote for one of our agriculture and food technologies. Being able to grow enough to feed your family is a key concern for millions of farmers in the developing world.
This focus on choice goes to the heart of Practical Action’s philosophy. We work with communities to help them find the solutions to those problems they prioritise themselves. And we make sure that those solutions are sustainable for those communities as well as for the planet we share.
Our solutions rarely address single issues. The problems caused by poverty are complex and demand a range of responses, not all of which involve technology. Consequently our scope is immensely varied and covers many different areas of work.
And over the last fifty years we’ve tried out many things in many places and worked with many different people. And this has brought a huge range of learning, which we share as widely as possible in the form of free to download technical information. And because we believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so we encourage others to copy and scale up our work.
For me these two EF Schumacher quotes sum up our approach:
Knowledge is power
“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
Small is still beautiful
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius to move in the opposite direction”
Our world is changing rapidly and we need to make sure that rapid technological change doesn’t leave poor people behind. Innovation should centre on solving the great challenges the world faces today ending poverty and providing a sustainable future for all.
Let’s hope that before the next 50 years have passed we’ll have achieved this and Practical Action will be working to keep the world a better place for everyone.