Practical Action in Sri Lanka

Practical Action, formerly ITDG, started work in Sri Lanka in the 1980s and established an office in 1989, engaging in projects on rehabilitating micro-hydro units, energy efficient stoves and food processing, in order to provide technological support to rural communities.

The Sri Lanka office's activities involved technology development with communities, pilot testing and demonstration in order to ensure its viability for wider replication and dissemination. It carried out research to analyse the various influences that come into play in the course of work. The findings of such research and the outcomes and lessons learned from the projects were shared with the relevant audiences to ensure maximum impact of the work carried out.

The spectrum of activities later multiplied reaching out to a larger segment of society and covering a wider geographical area, and the office in Colombo became Practical Action South Asia, managing project work in Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan.

The main technology areas that Practical Action South Asia worked in were agro processing and food production, energy, transport and disaster mitigation.

Work in the agro-processing sector aimed to strengthen the bargaining and earning capacities of small scale agricultural producers by developing community friendly agro processing technologies and sharing them widely.

Developing policy options that address the vulnerability of disadvantaged people through research and pilot interventions was carried out in the area of disaster mitigation. It encourages governments, donors and NGOs to adopt such options.

In trying to address the energy needs of disadvantaged communities and small producers, we promoted decentralised energy options like micro hydro, biogas, wind power generation so that communities, local government authorities, the private sector and state organisations would consider it in their planning.

We also tested cost effective transport options that are affordable and effective, that the people of a village can build and maintain, and that can be used as a model for an alternative way of providing for the transport needs of people.

Our Sri Lanka office closed in March 2014. Ongoing projects in Sri Lanka are now managed by our South Asia office in Kathmandu.


A new charity, Janathakshan - meaning ‘people’s technology’ or ‘technology for people’ - was created to continue the legacy of Practical Action in Sri Lanka.

Janathakshan will continue demonstrate viable technology based approaches to poverty reduction on the ground through innovative projects, generating knowledge to share, network and be a strong advocate at the national level and beyond.

Website: www.janathakshan.net

Further information

Our work in the South Asia region is now managed from our office in Kathmandu.


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