Information for development practitioners
Practical Action is an international NGO, working directly in four regions of the developing world – Latin America, East Africa, Southern Africa and South Asia, with particular concentration on Peru, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
In these countries, Practical Action works with poor communities to develop appropriate technologies under four international programmes - Reducing Vulnerability, Markets & Livelihoods, Access to Services and New Technologies. We have over 100 active projects, and in 2009-10 worked with 943,000 direct beneficiaries.
What we do
Practical Action works alongside communities to find practical solutions to the poverty they face. We see technology as a vital contributor to people’s livelihoods.
We actively seek to work with communities and adopt a collaborative approach, sharing knowledge and experience. We increase our impact by scaling up success and pushing for policy change that directly benefits poor communities.
We help identify and implement practical, sustainable technologies that people can use to improve their lives. We research, test and demonstrate how they can have a significant impact on poverty.
But we also go further than this. We adapt existing technologies, making sure that success in one country can form a template for success in another. Consequently, our projects make an impact far beyond the communities that initially benefit. We build on successful pilot projects and proven technologies by encouraging communities, governments or other development agencies to adopt them so that more people can benefit.
To maximise the life-changing potential of ideas, we publish books, journals, newsletters and web pages. We offer a technical enquiry service, communicate with the print and broadcast media, provide consultancy services, and influence the content of learning materials to educate and inspire young people.
Our technical information service, Practical Answers, aims to provide a resource on small-scale technologies or intermediate technologies that can be used to improve the lives of people living in poverty.
It allows people to access the wealth of technical information within Practical Action and well as bringing together the knowledge of others. Practical Answers is provided free of charge but you can support this service by making a donation.
The service has three main focus areas.
- The Technical Enquiry Service supplying, free of charge, technical and developmental information to development workers, community-based organisations, NGOs and other agencies using appropriate technologies to implement sustainable development.
- Resource centres and knowledge nodes, based in the Practical Action offices, are open to the public and hold a distinctive collection of appropriate technology and development literature.
- Knowledge Products: Practical Action has created a range of materials such as leaflets, CDs, and online resources covering many appropriate technology subjects. There are over 300 how to manuals, fact sheets, videos and engineering drawings that explain, how to apply these technologies.
This material is complemented by the many books and journals available from Practical Action Publishing through the online development bookshop.
The Schumacher Centre for Technology & Development
Bourton on Dunsmore
telephone: +44 (0) 1926 634400
fax: +44 (0) 1926 634401
Practical Answers - technical enquiry service
Our Technical Enquiry Service supplies, free of charge, technical and developmental information to our target group which includes grassroots development workers, community-based organisations, NGOs and other agencies using appropriate technologies to implement sustainable development.