Practical Action Blogs

    Jute – the natural alternative to plastic

    Jute retting
    Most families in north-west Bangladesh rely on farming small plots of land to make a living. But it’s hard to make enough to live on. Men often have to leave their families to work in cities, leaving women and children without support. Work traditionally done by women earns very low wages. Jute is the second most important crop in Bangladesh after rice. The climate is ideally suited and it was once a major source of foreign exchange but lost out to […]

    February 18th, 2019

    Does access to electricity change poor people’s lives?

    Globally, just under one billion people have no access to electricity. This means no effective lighting to study at night, no refrigeration to keep medicines, and limited opportunities to run businesses. The United Nations have set a goal to provide affordable, reliable and modern energy for all by 2030. This is a very challenging goal which at Practical Action we try and support through our energy access work. However, a recent article in the Economist claimed that providing access to electricity […]

    February 15th, 2019

    Supporting the informal sector to deliver effective FSM services

    Next week sees an important gathering of practitioners, government representatives, funders and others focusing Faecal Sludge Management. From lowly beginnings in Durban in 2011, the growing numbers of people gathered at this two-yearly conference demonstrate an increasing recognition of the importance of this issue – supported by the SDG commitment to achieve ‘safely managed’ sanitation for all. Of course, ensuring people have access even to a basic toilet is still the crucial starting point in some places – including in […]

    , | February 14th, 2019

    Taking stock – 10 years of the climate investment funds

    With 3 billion people still lacking access to clean cooking and almost one billion people without electricity, huge amounts of funding are needed to close the energy access gap. The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) are one of the avenues for funding this big challenge. Practical Action has a seat as an observer on the Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Programme (SREP) Committee of CIF and I just spent a week in Morocco attending a Committee meeting, as […]

    February 1st, 2019

    The Solar Challenge

    Practical Action’s new STEM Solar Challenge offers a great opportunity for young people to explore how solar power can transform the lives of people living ‘off-grid’. Set in the context of Practical Action’s work with communities in Gwanda, Zimbabwe who do not have access to mains electricity, the starting point for young people is a whole class activity to make a national electricity grid.  Pupils act as electricity pylons linking cities, towns and villages to power stations with string. The teacher then removes some of the string connections between […]

    January 29th, 2019

    Making Your Work Matter – Sharing Experience from the Rohingya Refugee Camp

    The plight of the Rohingya people, dubbed as the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis, has struck a chord with people from all over the world. Fleeing the destruction of their homes and escaping communal violence or alleged abuses by the security forces, thousands of Rohingyas made perilous journeys out of Myanmar, risking death by sea or on foot, to seek refuge in Bangladesh. Unfortunately, their migration to Bangladesh for a safe haven brought with it its own share of woes and […]

    January 22nd, 2019

    Moulding bricks, rebuilding settlements

    When we reached Deurali Interlocking Block Udyog, a small enterprise making compressed stabilised earth bricks (CSEB), Simon Tamang was working alongside five workers. He was watering a stack of CSEBs while the workers were winding up the day’s work after moulding around 500 bricks. There is an increasing demand of these environmentally friendly compressed earth bricks, made from local materials sand and soil mixed with cement. Pointing to the stack under a pomelo tree, Simon said, “All are sold, already […]

    January 18th, 2019

    The ASE conference just gets better and better for Practical Action

    Trainee teachers with Practical Action's solar challenge at ASE conference
    Another year for us at the ASE Conference and as always it was AMAZING! Of all the conferences we go to throughout the year this one always inspires us the most. This year we were promoting our new STEM challenge, The Solar Challenge, as well as talking about our existing popular challenges. and I am please do say it went down really well :-).  As well as talking about it to teachers on the stand we were able to demonstrate […]

    January 17th, 2019

    The power of gravity

    The first time I came across a gravity goods ropeways was a long, long time ago in Dhading . I was on a bus travelling from Pokhara to Kathmandu and saw this giant cage coming down a hill.  This remained a mystery until 2012 when I joined Practical Action and spotted the very same giant cage in one of Practical Action’s brochures. The gravity goods ropeway works on a very simple mechanism, using no fuel but only gravitational force. Two trolleys […]

    January 15th, 2019

    The gravitational release – the hillside story of the western Nepal

    I always get ‘fascinated’ by gravity goods ropeways. The first time I came across one was in Dhading. I don’t remember exactly when but I am sure it was a long long time back. Once I was travelling on a bus from Pokhara to Kathmandu and on the way I saw this giant cage coming off a hill. I wasn’t sure what it was inside the cage, nor did I know how that giant cage was moving. It was all […]

    January 2nd, 2019