Stories of Change
The difference you’ve made
A Year of Practical Action
For over 55 years, with the help of our supporters, we’ve been tackling some of the world’s toughest problems. The last year has been no exception. Faced with the worsening impacts of climate change, and other global shocks, our work – and your support, is needed more than ever. Let’s celebrate what can be achieved when we work together, both with the communities we support, and our global community of donors, big and small.
Together, we’ve enabled people in poverty to build more robust futures fuelled by reliable incomes and safer, more inclusive working conditions. Together, we’ve confronted the harsh, ongoing realities of climate change and applied ingenious solutions to help vulnerable communities prepare, adapt and thrive. We’ve continued to share new skills and knowledge to spark aspirations, clean up cities and power-up people’s lives with greener energy.
We hope you’ll enjoy hearing from some of the individuals we’ve worked with this year in the stories that follow. Because of your support, these people, and millions more can look forward to a brighter, more secure future.
we reached 16 countries
and their families
jobs were created or improved
“Here in the Nyabiheke refugee camp, many households struggle to find fuel for cooking each day. I used to use anything I could lay my hands on that would burn well to get the stove going – like corn cobs. But this caused a lot of smoke. It would fill the house and my children would say, “Mother, the smoke is killing us”. When I couldn’t find anything safe to burn or afford fuel to cook with, they would go to bed hungry.
With Practical Action’s support, I bought a clean cookstove. The stove has a moderate flame, and this permits the food to be cooked slowly and become very tasty. There is much less smoke in the house, so our health has improved. Now I spend half as much money on fuel; I’ve saved 7000Rwf and I spend this money on vegetables instead. Cooking is also quicker, so I have more free time.”
There is much less smoke in the house, so our health has improved.
people accessing renewable
energy in Rwanda
people using cleaner,
healthier cooking solutions
people enjoying improved
access to energy
“I work as a toilet pit emptier for the municipality in Faridpur. It’s my job to collect faecal sludge and bring it to the treatment centre. This work supports my family, but as pit emptiers, we used to face discrimination. People thought of us as dirty people. In the roadside tea shops, people refused to serve us because of our ‘dirty job’ and the smell.
We used to have to empty the pits with our bare hands, getting faecal sludge on our faces and bodies. I used to get cuts on my hands that would get infected; going to the doctor was very expensive. Then Practical Action supported us to get protective clothing: boots, gloves, aprons, a facemask and helmets. They provided special equipment called ‘gulpers’ that mean we can empty the pit from outside – without having to get in and get dirty. Now we work more safely, we look more professional, and our job is cleaner. There is less discrimination too, thankfully.”
Now we can work safely, we look professional and our job is cleaner.
people in Bangladesh have improved access to water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management services
lives have been improved through our urban projects
women have been reached across all our programmes
“My husband and I used to keep chickens for eggs and meat. We never had more than 20 birds in a month. But then we attended Practical Action’s training workshops that taught us how to transform this into a small enterprise. Now we rear around 300 birds each month! We learnt several ecological methods to reduce production costs. Growing feed in hydroponic trays uses water instead of soil, so we don’t need to irrigate as much and can recycle water. Wormeries give us extra protein for the poultry. The income boost allowed us to enrol the entire family in the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
We also signed up to be gender champions within the project. We started deciding how to share the household and business tasks between us in a fairer way. For example, Omollo always used to ferry the birds to market, but now sometimes I do it and he remains at home to prepare dinner and help the children with homework. Joint decision making has become really important and resulted in mutual understanding – we no longer differ!”
The income boost allowed us to enrol the entire family in the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
people through knowledge sharing platforms
people through policy and practice changes
farmers, who now have higher incomes or improved food security
“I live on the far outskirts of Lima. We depend on farming here, but nearby mining and pollution have made the water quality bad. The rain has become very infrequent and our crops just wither away without water. I would like my community to have a better quality of life; that’s why I joined the communal tree nursery.
The tree nursery is run by women. It’s a space where we can come together to plant trees and other plants. We only plant native species. They help to draw water down into the layer of rock underground. Then we pump the water upwards and use it for watering crops and drinking. It’s safe, clean, and fresh. Other trees are used for reforestation. The nursery brings value to the community; we learn about different plants and what they can be used for. We know that planting trees is good for our wellbeing and livelihood.”
I would like my community to be wooded to allow a better quality of life.
people are more resilient to
floods in Nepal
people are more resilient to floods, landslides and climate shocks
people are protected by early warning or climate information systems
“I live on the banks of the Aurahi River in Nepal. Any slight increase in the water level causes flooding. People here used to live in constant fear of floods and many villagers left. It was difficult to grow crops and feed my family in such unpredictable conditions.
With Practical Action’s help, we built a bio-dyke; a barrier along the river that controls the floodwater and redirects it. We used mostly natural, local materials to construct it – bamboo, soil, rope and sandbags. Then we grew plants on top and let grass cover it to prevent soil erosion.
Today the village looks completely different. The biodyke protects it from floods and we grow rice paddies and vegetables. People have returned, and the village has been connected to electricity sources and roads. Best of all, I earn enough money to pay for my children’s clothes and education.”
Find out more about our Flood Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction work
“I used to work as a farmhand, but I earnt less than US$1.50 a day. My children were often sent home from school because I couldn’t afford the fees. I was desperate to earn a decent salary to fend for my family.
Then I got invited a training course where I learnt how to install and assemble clean cooking stoves and portable solar products. I also learnt business skills like recordkeeping and marketing.
Now my nine children attend school regularly, and three of them even sat their national exams. In my community, it’s perceived that leadership positions should be male dominated, but I’ve realised that women too can lead! I am now an independent entrepreneur. I make financial decisions on my own.”