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Practical Answers Southern Africa

Practical Answers is the knowledge services arm of Practical Action.  Practical Answers believes that knowledge, especially about appropriate technologies, can be an effective lever out of poverty, and that if communities are equipped with appropriate technology options, they can improve their own livelihoods.  In Southern Africa, Practical Answers focuses on harnessing and capturing relevant development technologies from Practical Action’s strategic focus areas:- Sustainable Agriculture, Access to Energy and Urban Water and Sanitation.  Practical Answers works in collaboration with other development and specialist organisations to collaboratively develop knowledge content to bring technical know-how to people working in development and also.

The Southern Africa Practical Answers webpage has been created to provide knowledge services to development stakeholders and individuals in Practical Action Southern Africa’s areas of coverage which include Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, and also other countries in the Southern Africa region and internationally.  Practical Answers is provided free of charge but you can support this service by making a donation or helping with translations.

The service has three main focus areas.

  • Technical Enquiry Service. This service supplies, free of charge, technical and developmental information to our target group which includes grassroots development workers, community-based organisations, NGOs and other development agencies using appropriate technologies to implement sustainable development. Through our international network of enquiry services, the Technical Enquiry Service is able to call on the expertise of several hundred professionals in technical, economic, and sociological disciplines to help formulate the answers to enquiries.
  • Knowledge Nodes. These are located in some of Practical Action’s areas of operation. In Zimbabwe, two knowledge nodes have been established in Matabeleland South and Manicaland Provinces. The knowledge nodes are repositories of all knowledge content developed by Practical Answers and development stakeholders in the two provinces. The knowledge nodes have become rallying points for collaborative knowledge development and are also access points for development agents and communities to gain access to the collection of appropriate technology and development knowhow.
  • Knowledge Products.  Practical Action Southern Africa has developed a wide range of knowledge materials such as technical briefs, audio recordings, videos, CDs and DVDs covering many appropriate technology subjects. Currently, there are 150 knowledge materials that have been developed and are available on demand.

These knowledge materials are complemented by the many books and journals available from Practical Action Publishing through the online development bookshop.

Proceed to search and download the knowledge resources.

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