Practical Action

About the charity – Practical Action

 

All the money raised at the Murder Mystery evening organised by our YOBS group will be going to the charity called Practical Action, it is a UK charity that works in some of the poorest communities in the world and “uses technology to challenge poverty”.

 

Practical Action work in more than 45 countries across the world. In South Asia, Latin America, Southern, Eastern and Western Africa. Working in small communities and villages to provide long term solutions to the issues facing these people.

 

The technology that Practical Action uses is clean, sustainable and long lasting. In the developing world, Malaria and Tuberculosis are known to be 2 of the main causes of premature deaths. In fact, smoke from burning Biomass (burning plant remains for heat and fuel) is the biggest killer of them all. Accounting for more than twice as many deaths than Malaria. That is why one of the main fields Practical Action works in is introducing clean energy solutions and smoke reducing technology in the communities that it helps. Each community it works with has specific needs and limitations and it provides help to them all.

 

In communities which lack any access to electricity, biomass is the main energy source. Clean fuels are non-existent and the toxic fumes that are produced from burning biomass can be fatal. Most of these fumes are produced inside the home as cooking is done indoors. A cheap and simple solution to this is installing a ‘smoke hood’. A metal sheet that is able to funnel over 80% of harmful smoke safely out of the home.

Other ways of reducing the risk of inhaling toxic biomass fumes is to remove the need for fuel altogether. A simple ‘fireless cooker’ enables families in Kenya to stop making the heartbreaking choice of either sending their children to school or keeping them home and having them collect wood.

Some communities who rely on electricity might live in an area too rural for the national grid to reach them, instead of travelling long distances to recharge these batteries a small-scale wind power turbine can be fitted providing the community with electricity.

 

Practical Action works with communities in many more ways than just helping with energy needs. Agriculture is the cornerstone of most developing communities economies. So they are able to provide these areas with more effective farming methods and enabling them to increase the yield of their crops.

Simple technology is often the key, for example a big problem when farming in a hot rural area is keeping your crop from going off. A ‘zeer pot fridge’ is a cheap way of extending a vegetables life from 2 days to 20. Allowing more produce for the family to eat and sell.

Other smart but simple methods include ‘fish cages’, ‘floating gardens’ and ‘treadle pumps’. All enable families to produce more food, and use previously uninhabitable land as a farming space.

 

Practical Action works in so many other ways in these communities, they instal technology to effectively manage waste removal, helping reduce illness. As well as equipping communities to deal with the threat of a natural disaster. It is a charity that was founded over 40 years ago and is just as committed now as it was then to help build a sustainable future for all.

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