Practical Action

There are so many charities and so much need of charity in the world it is really difficult to know how to help and who to help. One of the charities I do support is called Practical Action, because that’s what it offers – affordable, practical, sustainable technical support to communities which can become self-sufficient. What the charity is fighting for is ‘technology justice’ – which it explains as ‘simple, locally-produced technology that removes the unjust barriers that prevent people from improving their own lives… giving people the appropriate tools, techniques, systems or approaches to meet their basic needs for food, water, health, education and a way of earning a living‘.

The sort of problems other families face which me and my family have never had to contend with, and probably never will, are for example, having safe clean drinking water and a proper sanitation system, being safe from preventable diseases, and having strategies when facing natural disasters.

The fields in which the charity work in Africa, Asia and South America are

  • Energy access
  • Food and agriculture
  • Urban water and waste
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Climate change
  • Markets
  • Policy and practice

I received a news booklet today, and there were some interesting projects highlighted –

  • fish cages made from bamboo, netting and plastic bottles
  • ploughs made from scrap metal
  • clean water powered by sunlight
  • a safe cooker which needs less fuel
  • early warning systems in flood areas
  • evacuation procedure training for earthquake zones
  • ventilated latrines – for privacy as well as improved sanitation
  • micro-hydro power
  • floating farms made from bamboo and water hyacinth

All these simple, practical ideas for self-sufficiency, not only save lives and keeps people healthy, but also allow people to be able to feed themselves and their families; they become able to sell extra produce, and improving efficiency allows children to go to school rather than having to work,

Here is a link so you can see all the really amazing and amazingly simple things Practical Action has achieved – and is planning to achieve:


I just twinned my toilet

I came across a charity which provides toilet facilities in countries where many people have nowhere to go… to go! It maybe a bit of a gimmick in a way, but the idea is that you twin your toilet – you donate to have a toilet facility built somewhere; you can chose which country or you can have the organisation choose.

It strikes me that water and sanitation or lack of it are such a fundamental right, and that lack of them makes life so difficult for people many of whom are already in difficult circumstances, that helping in a small way by twinning or donating a toilet, would really help at a very basic level.

People are forced from their homes for all sorts of reasons, and struggle with difficult and challenging lives… if they have the security of knowing they can keep themselves and their families clean and safe from many sanitary based diseases and illnesses maybe they would have a better chance of a positive life…

  • 2.4 billion people don’t have somewhere safe, clean and hygienic to go to the loo. That’s more than a third of the people on the planet.
  • Every day, 2 million tons of sewage and other wastewater drain into the world’s waters
  • Toilet Twinning funds the work of international relief and development agency Tearfund. Your donation will be used to provide clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education. This vital combination works together to prevent the spread of disease. Children are healthier, and able to go to school; parents are well enough to work their land and grow enough food to feed their family. With better health, and more ability to earn a living, men and women discover the potential that lies within them to bring transformation

I don’t yet know where my twinned toilet will be, but i look forward to hearing from it!!