Practical Action will work with marginalized rural communities that are already being disadvantaged by the effects of environmental stress, climate change, conflict or other hazards. Examples could include: expanding our work with families in Bangladesh and Nepal who are affected by increasingly frequent and intense flooding brought on by climate change and who have, as a result, lost farm land, housing or key assets such as cattle; working with pastoralists in East Africa who have been increasingly affected by both drought and changing population patterns which make their traditional way of life less and less viable; or working with communities in the north-east of Sri Lanka who are just beginning to return to their villages after being displaced by years of conflict and who are starting again from scratch, often with little or no assets, no basic services and a great need to recreate livelihoods and a sense of community once again.
Disasters are not always inevitable. Working with communities to identify their needs, Practical Action and its partners will help people manage the risks they face, adapt to environmental changes and have the resources and knowledge to build a sustainable and secure future. By 2012, Practical Action will have:
- Helped people living in fragile rural environments in 10 countries create sustainable livelihoods and achieve basic food security through innovative agricultural techniques for better natural resource management practices.
- Worked in at least 12 countries to help poor communities engage in disaster risk reduction planning with local governments and service providers, so they can be better prepared to withstand both man-made and natural disasters in the future.
- Worked nationally and internationally to highlight how technology can help people in very fragile environments better protect their means of livelihood and food security from disasters, environmental change and conflict and advocated for change in planning processes and national policies to see some of these ideas adapted more widely.
This commitment will be realised through a series of discrete projects that build on the experience Practical Action has amassed to date in this area.
In each country Practical Action will work according to a tested model which seeks to use the experience gained from projects to lever positive change in the practice of other key agencies and, ultimately, to promote more pro-poor polices at a national level. In summary, the different stages of the model are outlined below:
Phase 1: Development (Testing the Idea)
- Understanding what is known already
- Working alongside the poor to test ideas and achieve sustainability
- Will it work? What technologies and approaches work - where, with whom, when and how? Have poor people a say in whether the idea is appropriate?
Phase 2: Expansion (Intermediate Scale)
- Building the capacity of others to replicate
- Generating the knowledge
- Communicating to gain influence and scale
- Is this a one-off or has it got legs? Can it work on a larger scale? What happens when we try to get others to do this?
Phase 3: Scale (Large Scale)
- Scaling-up by changing the practices of others
- Scaling-up by changing policies and regulations
- Building a movement for change: What is Practical Action's deliberate strategy for scale? How do they enable poor people to continue to have a say in the policies and practices of others?
Different projects may relate to different levels of the working model and be of different size and duration. Projects will be phased in as funding is secured.
Practical Action will select projects based on need, the availability of capable local partners to work with and the potential that is offered to build on successful past work in each country. In designing projects Practical Action can draw on over 40 years of experience as an organization and, in several of the countries it is operating in, over 20 years of continuous presence on the ground.
Practical Action is seeking partnerships with organisations able to help it raise the remaining $19.02 million of funds necessary to enable this Commitment to be realised.
In return Practical Action offers the expertise of an organisation with 43 years experience of working on the role technology can play in fighting poverty in the developing countries. It also offers the opportunity to contribute towards making a real and positive difference to the lives of 700,000 poor and vulnerable women, men and children directly, and possibly many hundreds of thousands more indirectly.
Practical Action has experience of working with trusts, foundations and corporate supporters as well as bilateral and multilateral donors. It is particularly interested in partnerships where synergies can be exploited that allow for multiplier effects and impacts that go beyond that achieved by a donation alone.