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Practical Answers online material is presented under a number of subject topics and sub-topics. Information presented by Practical Action is focused on small-scale appropriate technology aimed at improving access to infrastructure and enterprise development for people living in poverty.

You are welcome to select a topic from the list below or browse the technology themes on the left hand column. You can then view material online or download it. You may also want to write a comment on one of the subjects covered here or post a technical question to Practical Answers at Ask a Question.



Agricultural production in many parts of the world is carried out on a small-scale by farmers. There are many options to improve production although they are often not well known.


Practical Action helps poor communities to make the best use of their own labour and to use locally produced building materials and techniques that they can afford and manage.

Crop Processing

Post-harvest activities can make a big difference to the financial impact of small-scale agricultural activities.

Disaster Response, Mitigation and Reconstruction

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is about disaster mitigation or disaster preparedness, it is different to disaster relief and for the most part has a much lower profile. Although the impact is less dramatic it can be very effective. Disaster risk reduction is a systematic approach to...


Check out the alternative organic sources of energy and renewable fuel sources to consume that can be reused.

Environment and Adaptation to Climate Change

The increasing variability of climate is having a dramatic impact on people in some of the poorest countries.


Traditionally people have relied on naturally occurring fish in the wild and is still the world's only major food source harvested from the wild.

Food Processing

Turning agricultural products into other commodities has the potential to provide income generation opportunities that are needed.

Information, Communication, Learning

There is growing recognition that development issues are supported by good communication and knowledge management.


This section on livestock includes all animals that are farmed, as well as insects such as bees. Fish and other aquatic animals are covered in the fisheries and aquaculture section.

Manufacturing, Handicraft, and Process Industries

Many people in the world are involved in micro and small scale enterprises (MSEs) manufacturing equipment and producing goods.

Natural Resources Management

Natural resources management describes how people can take to care of their environment to ensure its sustainable use.

Social and Economic Development

For business and social entrepreneurs technology is only half the story. Here we look at the wider issues to implementing development initiatives.

Transport and Infrastructure

Intermediate Means of Transport or IMTs are transport devices that come between walking and conventional motor vehicles.

Waste Management

This section looks at some of the approaches that can be taken in this area to reduce waste and to generate income from waste.

Water and Sanitation

Appropriate technologies that meet the demands for domestic water supplies and for wider productive are particularly important to people living in poorer communities.

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