Practical Action is an innovative international development group, putting ingenious ideas to work so people in poverty can change their world.
We put ingenious ideas to work so people in poverty can change their world.
Our vision is for a world that works better for everyone
We help people find solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems. Challenges made worse by catastrophic climate change and persistent gender inequality.
We believe societies and economies can work for the benefit of all. That we can live within the planet’s means. That ingenuity and cooperation can conquer any challenge.
We work with communities to develop ingenious, lasting and locally owned solutions for agriculture, water and waste management, climate resilience and clean energy.
We share what works with others, so many more people can change their worlds.
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.
At Practical Action we do things differently. We believe in the power of small to change the big picture.
We believe people living in poverty already have the ability to change their worlds. They just need the right plans, tools and knowhow, put to work in effective partnerships to change the social and economic systems that keep people poor.
That’s why we bring people together in bold collaborations, combining knowledge and innovation to bring about lasting change.
We’re problem solvers. We work hand in hand with local communities, publish the best thinking from the brightest minds and provide technical expertise to the change-makers.