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Who we are

The right idea, however small, can change lives

Practical Action uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries.

Our strength is our approach. We find out what people are doing and help them to do it better. Through technology 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 around a million people break out of the cycle of poverty ... for good.

Where we work

Practical Action works directly in more than 45 developing countries across the world. We have offices in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Peru, Bolivia, Sudan, Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, and our consultancy work extends across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Our publications, knowledge and approach are used in almost every developing country in the world - extending the reach of our practical approach to tackling poverty.

Why we do it

Practical Action was founded by radical economist and philosopher E.F. Schumacher over 45 years ago. Mostly famous for his 1973 book ‘Small is Beautiful’, he believed in putting people’s real needs at the heart of development, and that's the guiding principle that informs everything we do today.

Practical Action uses low cost, appropriate, small-scale development solutions to help people to help themselves. Whatever we do, our activities are always people focused, locally relevant and environmentally sensitive. Our vision is a world free of poverty and injustice in which technology is used to benefit all.

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” – E.F. Schumacher

Schumacher's ideas and philosophy continue to inform and inspire our work around the world.

Read more about Practical Action's approach

PDF

Focus on Sudan

  • English,
  • case study
PDF

Improving access to services

  • English,
  • introductory leaflet
PDF

Making markets work for the poor

  • English,
  • introductory leaflet
PDF

Practical Action history - timeline

  • English,
  • introductory leaflet
PDF

Practical Action: our story (2 page version)

  • English,
  • introductory leaflet
PDF

Transport: the road out of poverty

  • English,
  • introductory leaflet
PDF

Urban poverty - a changing environment

  • English,
  • introductory leaflet
PDF

Waste management: the poor are bearing the burden

  • English,
  • introductory leaflet

More about Practical Action

Annual report and accounts 2012-13

Practical Action's annual report and accounts for 2012-13 are available to download as a PDF file. They include a review of our international programmes against strategic objectives, the report of the independent auditors and a detailed financial statement.

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Contact us

Useful contact details for Practical Action: Addresses; telephone numbers; fax; email and website.

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Events

A listing of major events organised or attended by Practical Action.

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Information for you

Can't find what you're looking for? Tell us who you are and we'll direct you to the right place.

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Our distinctive practical approach

Practical Action's approach to poverty reduction is based on three key attributes: people focussed, practical answers and sustainable solutions.

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Practical Action organisation

Practical Action is a registered charity in the UK and a company limited by guarantee, under the direction of a Board of Trustees.

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Privacy and cookies

Information about Practical Action's privacy policy and use of cookies

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Scaling up our work

Practical Action aims to help eradicate poverty by developing and using technologies, and by demonstrating results, sharing knowledge and influencing others. Through our international work, we demonstrate alternatives, share knowledge and influence change.

  • We aim to tackle the underlying causes of poverty by campaigning to influence policies, institutions and processes. Through our campaigning and advocacy, Practical Action aims to achieve greater and more lasting impact from its work.
  • Our Technical Information Service, Practical Answers, aims to provide a means of accessing the wealth of technical information held by Practical Action, through technical briefs or the resource centre.
  • Our Education unit offers a range of support services for teachers and young people in the UK looking to address sustainable development within their teaching and learning.
  • Lessons from Practical Action's grassroots experience are also spread through consultancy services and publishing activities.

Contact us

Our head office e-mail address is practicalaction@practicalaction.org.uk. Please see here for addresses of individual offices.

For general information about our work, please e-mail us at enquiries@practicalaction.org.uk

For specific technical enquiries, please visit our Technical Enquiry Service, or for specific information about our work around the world select the appropriate office from the list on the right.

To e-mail a specific staff member, please send an e-mail to practicalaction@practicalaction.org.uk with the person's name in the subject line.

Latin AmericaEast Africa Nepal Southern Africa Bangladesh South Asia Head Office - UKSudan

Head Office | Bangladesh | East Africa | Latin America | Nepal | South Asia | Southern Africa | Sudan

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