Practical Action have a unique approach to
We believe in the power of simple technology
and smart thinking to transform the lives of
some of the world’s poorest people.
It’s what we’ve been doing for more than 45
years since we were founded by the economist
E F Schumacher, author of the revolutionary
book Small Is Beautiful.
Schumacher believed in putting people’s real
needs at the heart of development and it’s that
guiding principle that informs everything we do
today in our work across the developing world.
We find out what people are doing and help them
to do it better. We enable poor communities
to build on their skills and knowledge to
produce sustainable and practical solutions,
transforming their lives forever and protecting
the world around them.
By doing this each year we help 900,000 people
break out of the cycle of poverty…for good.
Working together with people and their
communities is absolutely at the heart of what
we do. Development isn’t something we do ‘to’
people, it’s something we do ‘with’ them.
We know lasting development starts when people
are helped to take control of their lives. So
whether it’s a lack of electricity, a consistently
poor harvest or a polluted water supply, we help
communities help themselves. We create clever
and sustainable development.
The gift of knowledge
sets people free”
E F Schumacher
In Northern Kenya clean water is incredibly
hard to find. People are forced to dig hours for
tiny amounts of polluted water that often makes
them ill. Eshe and her friends wanted to find an
Ideas that inspire
We believe passionately in the power of simple
technology and ingenuity to help break the cycle
Problems that may have blighted communities
for years can often be overcome with some
clever thinking and a little hard work.
…it takes a certain flair
of real insight to make
things simple again…”
In Eshe’s village the clean water was actually
there, but at 100m underground it was too deep
to dig down to. Practical Action met with the
villagers and together came up with the idea to
install a solar-powered pump.
Wellbeing for everyone
We believe access to technology is directly linked
to wellbeing. In Eshe’s village the solar-powered
water pump has meant that local villagers can
access fresh, clean water without having to walk
miles every day.
They can now enjoy a life free from the constant
fear of deadly water-borne diseases and because
they have more time the children can now go to
school and the women can grow vegetables to
sell at the local market.
The knock on effect of clean water is far reaching
and means Eshe’s community can begin to
Meeting people’s basic needs is a vital first step
to a life beyond poverty.