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About Us

Practical Action is an international development group, building sustainable lives and livelihoods with people on the frontlines of poverty and climate change.

Our vision is for a world that works better for everyone

Right now, the global climate and environmental crisis threatens years of progress against poverty.

But at Practical Action, we believe where there’s action, there’s hope.

Together with communities and our global partners, we’re developing unexpected, real-world solutions to create sustainable lives and livelihoods on the frontlines of poverty and climate change. Turning surviving into thriving. Overcoming injustice, especially for women and vulnerable groups.

We believe societies and economies can work for the benefit of all. That we can live within the planet’s means. That innovation and cooperation can conquer any challenge.

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Our Work

We work alongside communities to develop sustainable, locally owned solutions for agriculture, water and waste management, climate resilience and clean energy.

We start small, testing, learning, and prototyping with communities. We work together to blend cutting-edge technology with traditional ideas and practices.

We advocate for the most effective solutions to tackling poverty and the impacts of climate change. Rapidly equipping, training and supporting communities to adopt ideas that work, sharing across countries and continents.

We partner with influential institutions and forward-thinking corporates to take proven ideas to scale, creating change on a global scale.

More about our work

Our History & Heritage

We were founded by radical economist and philosopher E.F. ‘Fritz’ Schumacher, who challenged the conventional aid thinking of the day. He believed in solutions suited to context, equipping people with the skills and knowledge to change their situation, economic systems that work for all, and living within the planet’s means.

In 1966, Schumacher and others founded the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) to put his philosophy into practice. A technical consulting service and an independent publishing arm launched soon after. Schumacher’s ground-breaking book, Small is Beautiful was published in 1973 and generated worldwide interest.

We changed our name from ITDG to Practical Action in 2005, building on our focus on pragmatic, holistic and systemic approaches to tackling poverty. And while development approaches have changed, Schumacher’s founding beliefs still drive us, and have never been more relevant.

Schumacher’s Philosophy