I had a break from work today as a friendly pair of students came to the house to tell me all about the charity (reg no 247257) Practical Action. As I am from an environmental background (Geography BSc.) I found some of the problems and solutions that I learnt about very interesting.
Practical Action is a charity that helps people in underdeveloped countries to improve their lives with simple technological changes. Typical projects include clay pots filled with wet sand that act as fridges to keep food for longer in Africa, floating vegetable patches for families in Bangladesh and efficient wood fuel ovens in the Sudan.
Learn About their Powerful solutions to poverty
Practical Action only have a few full time employees in the UK that manage the projects and help train the campaigners. They have so few people to help keep administration costs to an absolute minimum which increases the amount of money that can go direct to projects. They have no advertising budget and rely on student volunteers to tell people about the projects, which is how I found out today. Most of the staff are operating within the countries that are being helped, and most of these are natives from those countries.
The kids (both undergraduates at Uni) were very knowledgeable about the charity and the issues that it aims to solve. They were really refreshing compared to the usual “give me £2 a month” or “put your stuff in this bag” brigade that so often plague our doorsteps.
Practical Action also investigate the link between climate change and poverty. It is their belief that many of the problems that are being faced, especially by those in sub-Saharan Africa and Bangladesh are caused by the developed World’s damage to the global environment. Their website is full of interesting articles that cover both sides of the climate change argument.
They have some good backing too, Prince Charles is their Patron. In February this year he hosted an event at St. James’ Palace highlight how just providing people with electricity can vastly improve their lifestyles. This electricity can be generated in a sustainable way from solar power or wind.
“Renewable energy means children can study for longer rather than relying on dangerous kerosene lamps in the home, allows medical clinics to open after dark, vaccines can be refrigerated and people can start their own businesses, such as lucrative battery charging and welding enterprises.”
Well done to the Essex students that are helping to promote this charity across Essex. They spend their day walking from house to house in all weathers to spread the word. Excellent work for a good cause.
Visit Practicalaction.org to learn more.