Until 2004, Practical Action East Africa organised its work under five technology strategies. They are listed here for historical interest, but for our current work, please see our three Programme Aims.
Over one billion people in the world are either homeless or live in very poor housing characterised by overcrowding and lack of adequate accompanying infrastructure services. In most cases they lack secure land tenure and hence are vulnerable to eviction and violence. Formerly known as the Building Materials and Shelter programme, Urban Livelihoods and Shelter (ULS) aimed to help marginalized people acquire and control the technologies and skills needed to produce or gain access to durable building materials, decent and affordable housing.
The Programme sought to improve the environmental sustainability of low-income housing and to reduce policy, legal and institutional constraints faced by poor men and women seeking access to shelter.
The main aim of the Rural Agriculture and Pastoralism Programme (RAPP) was to increase the food security of people in marginal areas throughout the East African region and to assist marginalised food producers to take greater control of decisions and changes that affect their lives. The Programme worked with farmers and pastoralists in the following areas: Turkana, Samburu, Marsabit, Tharaka and Kathekani.
All RAPP projects incorporated community-based monitoring and evaluation systems in their work. This was in addition to its contribution to policy debates in animal health, biodiversity and plant genetic resources, and indigenous knowledge in development. Other priorities within the programme included conflict resolution, environmental management and gender empowerment.
There is need for poor people all over the world to exercise greater influence and control in the production of goods and services they need and use. They can achieve this through substantive participation in the production chains that supply local as well as global markets.
The aim of ITDGPractical Action's Manufacturing Enterprise Development Programme was to promote policies and practices that ensure technology is developed and used to improve livelihoods of poor people engaged in the manufacturing sector, or dependent on it for the tools of their trade.
ITDGPractical Action-EA worked to improve access for women and men engaged in small-scale manufacturing activities to:
- Production equipment
- Business information
- Technical and production and skills improvement
- Business skills training.
The Energy programme activities in the East African region date back to the early 1980s and when it was mainly involved in the development of improved stoves including the Kenya Ceramic Jiko (KCJ). During the early 1990s, the Programme was involved in developing and disseminating fuel-efficient household stove technologies; working with stockists to develop commercial capacity for rural stove technologies and documentation of various topical publications on energy technologies, fuels and best practices. It then expanded its range of technologies from household energy to include micro-hydro power, low cost hurricane lamps, solar lanterns, pico-hydro, indoor air pollution interventions and other related topics.
The programme aimed to improve livelihoods of poor communities in the region by increasing access to a range of appropriate energy technology options and their services. It was involved in activities aimed at highlighting the issue of energy use in both urban and rural areas in the East African region, with a view that governments need to adopt policies that can help ease the burdens facing poor communities.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the poor, particularly women, often expend large amounts of time and effort on personal and goods transportation to meet basic subsistence, economic and social needs. Most of these transport activities are done by headloading or on foot and mainly along village paths and tracks. The transport needs of the rural and urban poor are often overlooked by conventional transport policy and planning.
Transport Programme worked to improve the mobility of people in East Africa, in order to reduce transport constraints on the following:
- crop marketing and other economic activities
- accessing social services and facilities
- household tasks such as water and firewood collection.