Carol Reesby


Carol is Practical Action's Information Officer.

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Posts by Carol

  • Practical Action’s unsung heroes

    October 16th, 2015

    Heroes come in many forms, and each individual will have their own definition of a hero. Some may think it’s a soldier fighting for their country; a firefighter entering a burning building; or the crew of a lifeboat launching into rough seas – heroes who risk their lives for others.

    toiletBut there is another type of hero – the unsung hero! Someone whose daily life may seem pretty unremarkable but who help to change the lives of thousands of people by one simple act – being a Practical Action supporter.

    It’s hard to believe in the 21st Century that people still have no access to basic services such as clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, have no electricity and still cook over open fires, are undernourished, and cope with the devastation of natural disasters. Our supporters are helping to change this. By supporting the work of Practical Action our unsung heroes make a difference to people living in extreme poverty in the developing world.

    Last year our supporters enabled us to change the lives of 1.2 million people. They helped to improve access to water and sanitation services for over 240,000 people; give 200,000 people access to sustainable electricity services; help 650,000 people improve their food security and livelihoods; and reduce the risk of disaster to 60,000 people – changes that could not happen without their support.

    This remarkable group of people are our heroes!  Their one small but beautiful act of generosity enables Practical Action to make a huge impact on the lives of millions of people. Without them our work wouldn’t be possible.

    To our many supporters we say a huge ‘Thank you’ – you really are amazing people and our unsung heroes!

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  • Supporters’ day out!

    Bourton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire CV23 9, UK, Bourton on Dunsmore
    June 25th, 2015

    On June 13th we held our annual Supporters’ day in London. Taking inspiration from our heritage the theme of the day was ‘Grassroots to Muddy boots’ it was a fantastic opportunity for supporters to get closer to the work their support has made possible – and what a day!

    Margaret Gardner opened the proceedings, followed by our Nepal Country Director, Achyut Luitel who gave an update on the recent Earthquake and, explained our involvement at present and going forward. There was an introduction from Muna Eltahir the new Sudan Country Director, who spoke about why she chose to work for Practical Action, and the work already achieved in Sudan.

    Supporters Day 2015

    Supporters Day 2015

    During lunch there was a drop in session giving supporters the opportunity to speak to our new Country Directors – Muna Eltahir, Sudan, Hasin Jahan, Bangladesh and Kudzai Marovanidze, Zimbabwe. We were also shown some great Technology Justice videos from the education team.

    Throughout the day we had some great workshops such as Doing it better led by Margaret Gardner and Kudzai Marovanidze, who spoke about Marula nut production in Zimbabwe. Supporters heard how we are working with women’s communities who earn their living from marula nut products.

    Supporters Day 2015Supporters Day 2015

    There was an interactive exercise that involved cracking Marula nuts using similar tools to the women in Zimbabwe.  The exercise highlighted the difficulties faced without the right equipment and support.


    Supporters Day 2015

    Rob Cartridge hosted a Project pitch session showing four short videos about Knowledge services in Bangladesh, Nepal, Zimbabwe and Peru. Supporters were asked ‘If they had £5K which project would they give it to?’

    Following the videos and the pitch about each one, they were then asked to vote – the winner was the Krishi call centre in Bangladesh. Supporters were really impressed with the examples they were shown and said “the work was amazing” and “I couldn’t believe it’s so cost effective”. 

    Everyone had a fantastic day and couldn’t wait to get home and spread the word – they were even tweeting from the venue.

    Supporters Day 2015

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  • For some children school is not an option

    October 16th, 2014

    When I pass a school I think of a building as a place where loads of kids gather for five days a week to get an education.

    A class at Sinazeze Upper Basic School, Zambia

    A class at Sinazeze Upper Basic School, Zambia

    Anyone that’s been through the education system has memories of their school years – some look back fondly, to others it was endured. But whatever our opinion I bet we all thought education was a basic right for everyone.

    Looking back, if I’m honest I didn’t give it much thought because we are lucky to have an education system that is available to every child irrespective of gender, faith, or income. Naïve that I was, I thought this was the same for everyone and now realise how much I took for granted.

    For millions of children around the world school is not an option. Many children are from poor families who face a daily struggle to feed their family, and their children have to work to contribute to the income; for others it could be society dictates by gender. Whatever the reason millions of children can only dream of an education so they can look forward to a better future, but for many it will remain a dream – or will it?

    The remarkable courage of school girl Malala Yousafzai made the world sit up and listen when she spoke out on behalf of all those children without a voice. Her courage reminded us that while there will always been a degree of inequality – education should not be one of them. Her strength to overcome terrible injuries inflicted, did not diminish her voice. She has shown the world that in order for things to change you have to be prepared to stand up and speak out. For her campaigning on children’s education she has recently won the Nobel Peace prize, but for me she is an inspiration that has touched us all.

    Maybe next time I pass a school I won’t just think of it just as a place where kids gather – will you?

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  • Thank you

    Bourton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire CV23 9, UK, Bourton on Dunsmore
    June 11th, 2014

    Thank you photo

    Practical Action would like to ‘Thank you’

    In today’s world most of us live life in fast forward, whether it’s rushing to get the kids to school or nursery, the daily commute to work battling the rush hour traffic or hoping today will be the day I get that seat on the train – but how many of us actually stop long enough to say THANK YOU!

    Today all of us at Practical Action would like to take the time to stop, and say a huge THANK YOU to all our supporters who make it possible for us to help poor communities change their lives for the better.

    Your generosity never ceases to amaze us. So to all of you who support us financially, give talks on our behalf, hold coffee mornings, include us in personal events by donating gifts in lieu of weddings, anniversaries, and birthday presents, take on amazing challenges like climbing Kilimanjaro, cycling around the world, half marathons, and those who still think of others by leaving a legacy or an in-memorial gift.

    From all at Practical Action we say a big THANK YOU! 

    PS: See some of the work you have helped to support and listen to a personal ‘Thank you’ from our Country Director, Veena Khalequein Bangladesh. 


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  • Energy: transforming lives

    Bourton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire CV23 9, UK, Bourton on Dunsmore
    September 13th, 2013

    There are still more than 1.3 billion people living without access to any form of electricity, and 2.7 billion people cooking on open fires, exposing themselves and their families to potentially deadly smoke fumes.

    At Practical Action are working directly with communities to develop renewable energy technologies using natural resources such as water, wind, sun and waste, which are available even in the remotest communities. Our approach is to achieve total energy for all.

    If you would like to find out more about how we are helping provide energy access to poor people why not download our energy leaflet and energy poster

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  • My reflection of Supporters’ day!

    Bourton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire CV23 9, UK, Bourton on Dunsmore
    June 20th, 2013

    The hustle and bustle of last minute checks, then calm descends as the clock ticks round and the first supporter arrives. Yes, I’m talking about our annual Supporters’ day. A day we show our appreciation to some ofthose who are helping make a difference to the lives of the huge number of people, for whom each day is a constant struggle.

    Floating Garden

    This year’s theme was all about ‘Connecting’ and from the opening introduction to the closing address our supporters definitely embraced the theme of the day. This was highlighted in the ‘Inspiring innovation’ workshop as I watched the look on the faces of some people who realised that working in teams, they would be making a floating garden.  One lady turning to her husband with hope in her voice said “we don’t have to make anything do we”, then both looking to me for reassurance just to have it dashed when I replied “it’s a show and tell – I hope you have a Blue Peter badge”. But twenty minutes later everyone really embraced the task as was evident by a room full of excited, and I must add very competitive voices, as each team tested the strength of their floating garden. Well done to all the teams who successfully achieved the task.

    Throughout the day we also received many testimonials from supporters:

    One lady decided last minute to come and said “I’ve never been before but I’ve really enjoyed it and will definitely come again. I love the fact you get to hear about the work from the Country Director’s, but you also have the opportunity to talk to them direct – amazing”.

    Anne from Brighton said “A number of years ago I worked for a French organisation that did similar work to Practical Action, which is why I support you. You are not a quick fix organisation”

    There were also stories of the extraordinary effort our supporters go to in order to arrive at the venue on time – like Peter from the valleys of South Wales who stayed in a guest house so he could catch his train to Paddington in good time. He was particularly interested and inspired by our renewable energy projects.

    Watt Bike

    Other highlights include Margaret playing the DRTV advert; Stephen Watson talking about our new strategy; Barney and Simon’s workshop on ‘changing the world’ and Amy pedalling on the road to nowhere trying to entice more victims to try the ‘Watt bike’. These are just a fraction of the activities and presentations throughout the day, which are far too many to mention.

    As supporters go into the closing address the frantic job of dismantling exhibitions, repacking equipment, and loading onto the van begins. So I’d like to acknowledge Julie and Michaela who worked tirelessly on the logistics of the day to make it happen, and to all the other participants and helpers behind that supported them.

    The day is over and some very contented supporters make their way home – another successful event over for another year.

    I’ve been to quite a few supporter days in my 20 years at Practical Action but I’m still amazed by the enthusiasm, passion, dedication, and generosity of our supporters – they definitely are the best.


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  • Practical Action Supporter Services Team celebrate National Customer Service Week

    Bourton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire CV23 9, UK, Bourton on Dunsmore
    October 5th, 2011

    Supporter service is a priority at Practical Action and this week is the Institute of Customer Services ‘National Customer Service Week’ which aims to raise the awareness of the crucial role supporter service plays in building positive reputations and increasing supporter loyalty.

    Practical Action has a dedicated supporter services team who work tirelessly behind the scenes to provide an excellent standard of care.  Here is some of the feedback we have received in the past year:

    “Many thanks for the trouble you took to answer my question”

    “Thank you so much for your sterling work”

    “What a fantastic job you and your organisation are doing”

    If you have any feedback, questions or comments for the supporter services team regarding your donations or any of Practical Actions work please get in touch.  Please contact us at

    Find out more about National Customer Service Week

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  • Any ‘Independent on Sunday’ readers out there?

    Bourton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire CV23 9, UK, Bourton on Dunsmore
    December 1st, 2010

    Here at Practical Action Head Office, my colleagues have been working hard with the Independent on Sunday.   We’re really pleased they have chosen us for their ‘Independent on Sunday 2010 Christmas Appeal’ and want to show their readers some of the valuable work that we do.

    We are always excited to show people what we do and how well we do it and this is a wonderful opportunity to engage with some interested, like-minded people.  Those who read about us in the forthcoming articles will no doubt realise how important our work is and also find out ways they can help us do more.  If you are already a supporter of Practical Action, look out for these articles; ask me questions if you want further information. 

    If you’re not yet one of our supporters, please do ask for more information we want you to talk to us.  Articles begin THIS Sunday, 5th December have a look and tell us what you think, more details to come…..

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  • What to buy for Christmas? Need a present idea? Why not buy a goat!

    Bourton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire CV23 9, UK, Bourton on Dunsmore
    November 19th, 2010

    A little while ago I wrote a blog mentioning Practical Action’s fantastic alternative gift scheme ‘Practical Presents’.  I wanted to let you know how this sort of gift can help those who need it most.

    In the village of Kilgo, Sudan, two sisters were left orphaned when their mother died of malaria – goats have been their lifeline.  Caught up in civil conflicts their family lost everything they owned leaving them vulnerable.  They were selected by their community to receive four gorgeous goats as part of Practical Action’s livestock programme.  When their mother died the goats provided enough milk for the sisters to survive.  Two of their goats are now pregnant and with the additional milk the family can look forward to a more secure future.

    So with Christmas coming, why not buy someone a special gift that’s a little bit different – why not purchase a gorgeous goat through our Practical Present scheme and at the same time give a gift to someone you don’t know. 

    For more information please see our website

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  • Practical Present christmas ideas – have you thought of a goat?

    Bourton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire CV23 9, UK, Bourton on Dunsmore
    November 11th, 2010

    Christmas is a time when our thoughts often turn to family and friends and if, like me, you are struggling to think what to buy, why not give the gift that transforms lives?  A Practical Present from Practical Action.

    Practical Presents is the fantastic alternative gift scheme, which will make a friend or love one smile and help to transform the lives of some of the world’s poorest people at the same time.goat present

    We all know someone on our shopping list that is impossible to buy for, because they have everything already – why not give them something different this year and buy a Practical Present?  From the best-selling ‘Gorgeous Goat’ where your gift of £20 will help projects such as those in Sudan and Bangladesh where a goat can be a lifesaver, providing enough milk to keep the whole family healthy.  To the ‘Fireless cooker’, which for £8 helps reduce deadly smoke inhalation caused by traditional cooking methods.

    The scheme is really simply to use:

    • log onto and browse the fabulous gifts that are on offer – starting at just £8 there is something for everyone
    • choose whether you want your gift to be sent:
      • directly to you
      • direct to recipient
      • by e-card
    • complete the relevant information through checkout
    • leave the rest to us

    You’ve purchased a thoughtful and unusal gift for friends and family and at the same time helped support Practical Action’s long term projects in some of the world’s poorest countries.

    Make life a little easier this Christmas and visit Practical Presents.  If you would like to know more or have any questions please do get in touch.

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