We’re helping farmers in West Africa improve their livelihoods. It’s all about using sustainable energy to power innovative farming techniques. A solution that can be scaled up for maximum impact.



Active Project

The Challenge

33 million farms of less than two hectares account for 80% of food needs in West Africa. But life for the smallholder farmers themselves is a struggle:

  • Farming relies on human power and animal power, limiting every aspect of the farming process, from tilling the soil and sowing seeds to irrigation and harvesting.
  • Existing energy is in the form of diesel-powered machinery. This is expensive and dirty and the equipment is prone to breaking down.
  • The limited harvests that farmers are able to produce mean that they are unable to generate enough food to provide for the region’s growing population.
  • Without change, West Africa is heading towards a food shortage crisis.

“There is a huge energy divide and low adoption level of sustainable energy solutions in rural areas, where most of smallholder farmers and food processors don’t have access to relevant information about the solutions available.”

Mary Allen, Senior Advisor Agriculture and Livelihoods – Practical Action West Africa

The Ingenious Solution

We’ve put together a bundle of practical solutions that really do help people change their lives. Teaming up with local authorities and energy suppliers, alongside running training and skill sharing on the ground.

  • We’re linking farmers up to finance providers and linking energy suppliers up to farming co-operatives – creating a network of interrelated communities and organisations that can support each other.
  • This has allowed us to deliver training in more effective agriculture and business practices, improving profits.
  • New irrigation technology will allow farmers to boost their harvests and produce a better quality of food.

“We applaud this approach of Practical Action, which is not only innovative but also enhances farmers’ knowledge about markets and financial support.”

Diery Gaye, General Secretary of the Federation of Market Gardeners of the Niayes Zone


Donate today

Thank you for your invaluable support at this challenging time. In a world facing the terrible coronavirus threat, improving hygiene and access to clean water and sanitation services in poor communities has never been more vital.

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Please select how much you'd like to give, as a monthly or single gift. Your support will enable us to continue and expand our work around the world, helping people to use ingenuity to tackle the world’s toughest problems.


Please select how much you'd like to give, as a monthly or single gift. Your support will fund our work in poor communities all around the world.