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Last year we worked with 2.1 million people living in poverty

We believe that technology is a key to ending poverty

Technology underpins all aspects of our lives, enabling us to live well, with less effort, and fewer resources. While cutting-edge science and innovation is benefitting billions of people, a billion more are left behind. In the developing world, the lack of technology is stark.

We want to change this.

Our vision is for a world where all people have access to the technologies that enable them to meet their basic needs and reach their potential, in a way that safeguards the planet today, and for future generations.

Our global ambition

Our ambition is to transform the way technology is used to improve the lives of people living in, or vulnerable to poverty. Our bold ambition builds on 50 years' experience of bringing communities and experts together to find practical, lasting solutions that help people lift themselves out of poverty while safeguarding the planet. 


Why we do it

Practical Action was founded by radical economist and philosopher E.F. Schumacher 50 years ago. Mostly famous for his 1973 book ‘Small is Beautiful’, he believed in putting people’s real needs at the heart of development, and that's the guiding principle that informs everything we do today.

Whatever we do, our activities are people focused and sensitive to the environment. This means solutions that are ‘human scale’, and can be understood, managed and maintained locally. Ownership, through participation and co-design by the people we work with is central to our ethos. We believe the right idea can transform lives forever, allow people to live in dignity and protect the world around them. 

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” – E.F. Schumacher

Schumacher's ideas and philosophy continue to inform and inspire our work around the world.

Read more about Practical Action's approach

Contact us

Head office:  +44 (0) 1926 634400 | International offices

General enquiries:

For specific technical enquiries, please visit our Technical Enquiry Service

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