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About Practical Action

Practical Action is a global innovator, inspiring people to discover and adopt ingenious, practical ways to free themselves from poverty and disadvantage. We are a registered charity.

Improving harvests through planet-friendly farming innovations. Transforming lives through affordable, renewable energy. Reducing vulnerability created by climate change or disaster. Demonstrating sustainable ways to improve clean water access and sanitation. Unlocking economic opportunities that allow whole communities to thrive. These are some of the ways we help people unleash their potential and protect our world for future generations.

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The Practical Action infoHub supports this work by making materials, information and publications publically available for people all over the world to access and use.

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  • Aquageoponics

    Barua, Gunjan (2017-10)
    Rising sea levels are increasing the salinity of water sources near the coast of the south west of Bangladesh making it harder for farmers to grow crops. Water logging and shortage of cultivable land makes this problem worse. The region has large ponds created when building coastal embankments in the 1960s which are used for fish farming. Aqua-geoponics combines two existing technologies hydroponics (floating farms) and aquaculture (fish farming). These offer farmers an innovative way to generate income and provide enough food for their families. Vegetables are planted in a floating tub attached to the top of a cage and fish are then farmed within the cage itself. The vegetable cultivation process purifies the water and waste provided by the fish supplies much-needed nutrients for the growth of the crops. Both the crops and the fish selected are fast growing, meaning that up to three cycles of production can be completed each year. When the water rises, the cage rises too. The aim is to increase productivity of fish and vegetables in order to increase the incomes and nutritional security of poorer households and contribute to local economic development. Trials are taking place using different materials to construct the cages which will establish a sustainable development model for this technology. https://practicalaction.org/aqua-geoponics
  • Shikha and Shujit Sarkar

    Barua, Gunjan (2017-10)
    My name is Shujit Sarkar, age 36. My wife’s name is Shikha Sarkar, age 36. There are 6 family members in my family. We have 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy. The boy is studying in class 4 in a local primary school. The girls are married off. We live in Kopalia, Rajbongshipara of Jessore district. I sell fish fingerlings in different locations around my village. I have to buy fish fingerlings aged 2-3 days from central Jessore which is 30 Kilometre away. I then keep them in a cage (hapa) for 3 days and sell afterwards. I go to different households or fish farms to sell the fingerlings. Sometimes I have to travel 25-40 kilometre to sell the fingerlings. I buy 1,000 fingerlings for BDT 600 (£5.50) and sell them at BDT 700-1,200 (£6.4- 11). My wife does household chores and looks after the child. I earn around BDT 300 per day (£2.75) by selling the fingerlings. My monthly income stands at an average of BDT 6,000 (£54.9). I can only sell 20 days in a month during dry season. I also sometimes work as a day labour in the fish farms and in the paddy fields. The daily income stands BDT 250-300 (£2.3-2.75). I have no land or pond of my own. I keep the fingerlings in the canal. During each rainy season, the canal water overflows. The village becomes waterlogged then. So, during that time, the fingerlings cannot be nurtured or sold. The paddy fields also remain under water that time. So, I cannot find any daily labour that time. In fact, no paddy has grown in last 2 years due to waterlogging problem. This is my first cycle of aquageoponics. The cage is provided by Practical Action. I have invested BDT 1,300 (£11.90) to insert 1,500 fingerlings in the cage. I am regularly monitoring the growth of the fishes and found it very promising. I expect to harvest around 140 KG fish from the cage. I hope I can earn around BDT 12,000 (£110). This farming technique requires less effort. My wife is mainly working in the cages. She feeds the fishes and regularly cleans the cage. We haven’t seen this farming technique before. This is sowing hope in our life as it can provide additional income. Also, during rainy season, it can supplement our income as we have very limited opportunity for work. Other people in my locality are also interested in this. I will continue this farming technique. If possible, I will make another cage next year and expand the farming.
  • Suborna Sarkar

    Barua, Gunjan
    My name is Suborna Sarkar, age 45. My husband’s name is Mithun Sarkar, age 50. We live in Kopalia, Rajbongshipara of Jessore. We have 9 members in our family, 5 boys, 1 girl and 1 daughter-in-law. The girl is married off. 3 of my boys are still student. We mainly catch fish from the nearby rivers and canals. One of my boy helps us for the job. On an average, we earn around BDT 5,000 (£45.8) each month. We also work in other people’s paddy field as a daily labour. We have 82.65 decimals of land. But, for the last 2 years, it has remained under water. So, we could not grow any crops there. During rainy season, we cannot also go to catch fish in the stream. The water height rises and it gets riskier to go for fishing. Our net gets tore when the stream is heavy. The algae and other small plants tear the nets along with the heavy stream. Repairing the nets is also costly for us. The other paddy fields also remain under water. So we cannot find any daily labour. The surroundings of our house gets waterlogged every year. Several portions of our house has been damaged by this year’s flood. We had to move our livestock to raised location to save them from water. We are farming fishes in one cage this year with support from Practical Action. Already 40 days have passed from the 4 months cycle. The growth of the fishes seems promising. On an average, the monosex Tilapia has a weight of 70 grams. We expect to earn at least BDT 5,000 (£45.6) from the harvest. We do not wish to sell the vegetable produce that we will get from the cage. We want to keep them for our household consumption. We are cultivating bottle gourd over the cage. Hopefully we will get 10-12 bottle gourd. The farming technique is very important for us to provide some additional income. We are planning to increase the number of cages next year. We will use bamboo as the frame for the cages. It will save us a significant cost. The bamboo may last around 3 years. Also, as there is water logging problem, the cage will be helpful for producing fish during that time. The cages will still float no matter the rise in water. So, we won’t have to sit idle during rainy season and can provide income for my family.
  • Poor People's Energy Outlook 2018: Achieving Inclusive Energy Access At Scale

    Stevens, Lucy; Hooper, Liz; Taylor, Charlotte; Miller, Charlie (Practical Action, United Kingdom, 2018-11)
    PPEO 2018 examines six case study programmes across the clean cooking, decentralized electricity and grid extension sectors, to explore how to reach energy access at scale in an inclusive way - thinking particularly about women, the poorest and most remote communities. The report demonstrates that a range of energy access interventions is needed to achieve SDG7, and encourages holistic programmes that achieve scale across elements of demand, supply, policy and finance.
  • Seed market

    Innocent Katsande (United Kingdom, 2018)
    The Planting for Progress project is installing solar powered pumping equipment to irrigate crops. This is combined with skills training and improved seeds, which will improve food production and incomes for farmers in Zimbabwe. This enables them to move from reliance on food aid to self-sufficiency. Activities include Access to the best seeds for arid land and climate Irrigation with solar powered water pumping systems Training in the better land management Building business skills so farmers collectively plan what they grow and when and where to sell it for maximum income Empowering women to have a greater say in decisions that affect their lives

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