Feedback from our supporters

Last year we approached some of our supporters for feedback for our 50th anniversary. We asked for three words that they thought summed up our organisation and above are some of those they said.

We are fortunate to have a extremely loyal supporters, many of whom are very passionate about the work of Practical Action around the world.  They are our most powerful advocates.  

Here are some of their quotes:

“I think Practical Action sums up what you do well” (Paul Dunn)

“I enjoyed reading about the power that was generated from goat manure.” (Miranda Simmons)

“When a large number of people do quite small things - the total amount of help is tremendous”

“Practical Action is a remarkable organisation.  With its Schumacher roots and its Intermediate Technology history, it has been a mould-breaker in development policy and practice, and in appropriate technology development. As Schumacher said, “Find out what people are doing and help them to do it better”. (Catherine Budgett-Meakin)


Do get in touch if you have any memories of your past involvement with the organisation that you would like to share with us here.

An interview with Baroness Shirley Williams

Baroness Shirley Williams, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, is incredibly inspiring and influential, and we are proud to call her a supporter.

Shirley is the daughter of writer and feminist Vera Brittain and political scientist and philosopher Sir George Catlin, She began her impressive career as a journalist, working for the Daily Mirror and the Financial Times. In 1964, she won a seat in Parliament as Labour MP for Hitchin in Hertfordshire.

In 1981, Shirley left the Labour party to form the Social Democratic Party, which later merged with the Liberal Party to become the Liberal Democrats.

Baroness Williams has long been a supporter of the work of Practical Action and for the 50th anniversary edition of Small World we were invited to the House of Lords to find out what inspired her to become a supporter.

“My original link with Dr Schumacher (Practical Action’s founder) was reading and writing about him and being very impressed with the whole idea of ‘Small is Beautiful’ but also breaking away from the kind of technology that required huge investment sums. You see the devastating effect of very sophisticated very big international companies from the west coming into countries where it’s not the answer.”

Understanding just how important working with communities is to creating lasting change, Shirley explained: “what you were doing was complimentary to what I was doing in government. There has been in the past, a very top down attitude towards development. And that means that people interact with those in higher levels of government but very little with local communities. And that is one of the great contributions that you’ve made, you’ve interacted with local communities in a way that’s really important.”

When asked about what her favourite technologies are, she said just how impressed she was by a simple smoke hood. She added that indoor air pollution is a huge problem that is not often discussed. She thinks that a chimney is a straightforward and effective solution to a huge problem. It is these simple, appropriate and cost effective solutions that bring about real change in the developing world.

Thank you to Shirley Williams for sharing why she’s proud to be a Practical Action supporter.

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