Practical Action Consulting: UK
Practical Action Consulting UK delivers technological and practical solutions that work. We are the consulting arm of international development charity Practical Action, and we have been using technology to challenge poverty for over 40 years.
We are innovators and actively seek out challenging projects. From participatory training, multimedia toolkits, policy advice and strategy development, to in-depth research and reports, PAC UK are able to tailor our services to meet the needs of our clients. We draw on a diverse knowledge base of expert international practitioners that we have built strong relationships with over a number of years.
Our dynamic team of UK-based staff work from the Head Office of Practical Action near Rugby, Warwickshire. The team has solid international experience from living and working in over 40 countries. The UK office leads on energy development projects.
Please contact us to find out how we can work for you to deliver projects working with poor people and communities to uplift their lives for good.
Our vision is to increase energy access to the very poor in developing countries, through our own projects and through influencing others.
We understand that implementing a particular technology is not enough, and employ a holistic understanding of energy access; integrating knowledge on technologies, markets, and the social context of a community or country, with our experience of managing international teams.
PAC UK is currently producing innovative work on bioenergy, including biomass, biogas and biofuels; off-grid electrification such as hydro, wind and solar schemes; stoves; and indoor air pollution.
We integrate across our country offices to deliver on themes such as low-carbon technologies and energy for climate change adaptation; market development; and training and communications products.
Practical Action Consulting is working with GVEP, Chatham House, UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council on the Moving Energy Initiative (MEI), an innovative project that seeks to meet the energy needs of displaced people in a safe, sustainable manner, developing solutions for heating/cooling, cooking, lighting, electrification and water and sanitation.Find out more
Greg Beeton - Group Director, Consulting and Publishing
Greg holds an undergraduate degree in Agriculture, postgraduate qualifications in Marketing and Project Management and an MBA from Cranfield. Across his 25 years of career to date he has amassed technical, management, commercial and not for profit experience in the UK and through Africa, Asia and Latin America including time living and working overseas. As a Group Director responsible for the commercial subsidiaries Greg has been responsible for the growth of the consultancy operation to an organisational asset comprising 12 international offices delivering through a diverse set of 8 legal structures that generates annual income for the charity and leverages the groups pro poor influence agenda with policy makers. Greg also delivers a wider remit fulfilling a Group Director role that includes responsibility for the restructure of the East Africa region, leadership of the West Africa region, providing agriculture leadership as Chair of the organisation's Global Agricultural Group, as Lead Director responsible for oversight and development of the organisation's engagement into impact investing and as a core member of the Groups management team responsible for the operational and financial management of the Practical Action Group. Greg actively maintains a technical specialism in Agriculture, holds a number of company Directorships and is a Trustee of a large environmental charity.
Sarah Lester - Senior Energy Advisor
Sarah has over 10 years’ experience as an energy professional, focusing on: renewable energy technologies, energy access, development and humanitarian policy, economic development and markets - including climate change, disaster risk response, resilience, preparedness, and social protection for marginalised communities. Sarah has lived and worked in Kenya and India, and undertaken mini-grid and solar energy assessments in Kenya, Tanzania and Bangladesh. She has worked across a range of renewable energy and regulatory technical issues. Sarah is the Practical Action lead on humanitarian energy policy and is developing a portfolio of research and programme work in this area.
Mary Willcox, Principal Energy Consultant
Mary is leading Practical Action Consulting’s international energy team to deliver energy access for marginalized people in developing countries. Mary is a business leader with a proven track record of developing, establishing and running energy businesses. She has worked in commercial and not-for-profit sectors in UK, Asia and Africa at senior executive level. Mary is a chartered engineer with an MSc in development studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Sharon Mackenzie - International Contracts and UK Finance Manager
Sharon has a degree in Business Administration and 20 years of experience in the delivery of long and short-term client funded development contracts and grants involving multidisciplinary and multicultural teams on behalf of clients such as the World Bank, DFID, SDC, Sida, FAO, UNDP and EC. She is directly responsible for the capacity building and strengthening of, Practical Action Consulting (PAC) international financial controls and the international adherence of procurement policies for client contracts undertaken by PAC. She was responsible for the contractual and financial management of a global multi funded transport network, IFRTD, hosted by Practical Action between 1994-2006. She is currently responsible for the management of DFID resource centre and framework contracts that PAC participates in as consortia members. Recently in the role of Regional Manager she has worked on IDRC’s Think Tank Initiative (TTI) to design and deliver a bi-regional capacity development programme for 26 think tanks based in Latin America and South Asia. Sharon is also responsible for the contractual and financial reporting for the DFID funded Evidence and Lessons in Latin America (ELLA) grant, a south-south knowledge sharing and learning programme. Sharon is a versatile, multi-tasking dedicated contract manager with a focus on excellence in client support with attention to value for money and contract delivery
Al Cunningham - Private Sector and Inclusive Markets Consultant
Al has supported inclusive market development internationally for over ten years. His focus has been on facilitating systemic market development to ensure greater voice and participation of poor people in markets, and promoting inclusive business models by directly supporting rural enterprises to grow and balance commercial viability with sustainable economic, social and environmental impact for smallholder farmers and rural communities.
Sarah Brown - Lead Consultant Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction
Sarah is PAC’s lead consultant for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, with over 12 years of practitioner and research experience spanning Asia, Africa and Latin America. Her background combines an MSc in development economics with experience working within a wide range of International NGOs including heading the Conflict Team for CARE International, leading on Disaster Risk Reduction with the Aga Khan Foundation and managing the DFID Conflict Sensitivity Consortium (with 36 NGO members). Sarah has a particular interest in resilience, early warning, adaptation and climate services for DRR/agriculture. She currently manages the PAC component of the 5 year ‘Flood Resilience Alliance’ Programme (with Zurich Insurance and the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent), focusing on DRR and flood early warning in South Asia and Latin America. She is also currently Co-Investigator on the 4 year DFID/NERC SHEAR programme on landslide early warning.
Louise Waters - Energy Consultant
Louise joined PAC in March 2014 and holds a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering with Appropriate Technology. Previously she spent three years in the UK energy industry delivering consultancy on carbon reduction and energy-efficiency for corporate clients. With PAC, Louise has worked on projects that seek to explain the links between energy access and socio-economic development and to evaluate the best strategies for delivering those technologies that enable people to use energy in clean, safe and convenient ways. Louise has experience of research design and co-ordination, and of the subsequent data analysis and synthesis work needed to deliver conclusions from both qualitative and quantitative research.
KR Viswanathan - International Climate Adaptation Specialist
Vish joined Practical Action Consulting in 2014. He is part of the global group on climate change in PAC and has a lead in climate change adaptation and climate resilient agriculture, while being based in New Delhi. He has over thirty years of professional experience covering a wide range of themes and sectors, of which ten years of engagement in climate change adaptation, climate resilient agriculture, disaster risk reduction and green growth. He comes with a mix of proven conceptual, technical, administrative, management and financial skills and expertise with experiences in facilitating collaborative teams and cross cultural networks. Previously, he has been working in senior thematic and management positions in the Governments of India and Switzerland. Vish professional background involves a degree in Veterinary Medicine/ Sciences with post-graduation in Microbiology. He also has a post graduate degree in business management and research and development experiences in Defence. He has been conferred with the decoration of Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) by the President of India in 1985 for exceptional services rendered while in the Armed Forces.
Noemie de La Brosse - Inclusive Markets Consultant
Noémie has recently joined the PAC Markets team in the UK as an Inclusive Markets Consultant. Following her graduation with a Master’s Degree in Political Sciences and Development Studies and a specialisation in “Urban Services Management in Developing Countries” in France, she is passionate about the socio-economic and institutional environment in international development projects and has developed strong skills in international consultancies for local governments and private clients, in WASH, Waste Management, Capacity Building, and Technical Assistance. Her working experience in Mexico, Africa, UK and France has given her overall and integrated vision of development projects. She has developed consistent technical and project design skills in urban services management, value-chain analysis, value-for-money analysis, social impacts studies, microfinance, market mapping, environment assessment, and M&E. Noémie’s role at PAC is focused on PMSD capacity-building, networking, knowledge sharing and technical assistance to country offices and external clients. She collaborates to the creation of a strong network of associate experts in Inclusive Markets, and generally takes part in developing PAC’s scope of work on Inclusive Markets.
Mattia Vianello - Energy Consultant
Mattia has an MSc in Science and Technology Policy and Management from Edinburgh University. He has over 5 years' experience working on energy access in developing countries. Mattia has skills on the analysis of a wider development context, including policy, markets, agriculture and socio-economic aspects of energy delivery for development. He has managed a number of projects and studies in West and East Africa, South and South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Prominent roles include project manager and technical energy expert for clients such as World Bank, UNDP, FAO, DFID, GACC and SNV. Mattia speaks Italian, English and Spanish, French and Portuguese
Drew Corbyn - Associate Energy Consultant
Drew graduated in Engineering and has developed his career in the energy access field. He has spent significant time working in developing countries including the Philippines and Nepal, with local organisations on rural energy projects using appropriate technology.
Drew combines specialist technical skills and experience in renewable and rural energy with an ability to analyse issues within a broader sustainable development context. Drew has strong research, analytical and communication skills evidenced by a number of publications in the field of energy access. His experience in project management, policy and advocacy, appropriate technology and capacity building give him important insights into the energy access and rural environment sector.
Favourite PAC project: "The Poor people’s energy outlook report has been a really interesting project for me. Working on this project has allowed me to take my experience of how people in developing countries use energy - the deprivation of people living without modern energy, and how lives can change when it is accessed – and influence the wider development community. Practical Action has a loud voice in advocating for increased energy access, and the PPEO has been a powerful tool in presenting and communicating this knowledge and understanding."
The PAC UK team have built a number of strong relationships with clients in the private and public sector. We have also provided expertise for a range of key bilateral agencies and NGO's.
- World Bank
- European Union
- Asian Development Bank
- African Development Bank
- Christian Aid
- Habitat for Humanity International
- Zurich Flood Alliance
For more information from Practical Action Consulting UK, please contact the office:
Address: The Schumacher Centre, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ
Tel: +44 (0)1926 634403
PAC Managing Director: Greg Beeton