Welcome to Practical Action's library of resources

We are an international development organisation putting ingenious ideas to work so people in poverty can change their world. 

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 work with communities to develop ingenious, lasting and locally owned solutions for agriculture, water and waste management, climate resilience and clean energy. And we share what works with others, so answers that start small can grow big. 

We’re a global change-making group. The group consists of a UK registered charity with community projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, an independent development publishing company and a technical consulting service. We combine these specialisms to multiply our impact and help shape a world that works better for everyone. 

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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.



  • Climate Information for Those Who Need It Most: Contributions of a Participatory Systems Mapping Approach in Niger

    Allen, Mary; Lambert, Kristin; Koutcha, Mariama; Henly-Shepherd, Sarah; Lewis, Amanda; Amadou, Laouali (USAID, Mercy CorpsPractical Action Consulting, 2018-01-31)
    This study, conducted by the USAID-funded Climate Information Services Research Initiative (CISRI), is designed to contribute to the operationalization of Niger's National Framework for Climate Services, known as the Cadre National pour les Services Climatologiques, by filling knowledge gaps related to climate information services (CIS) end user needs. CISRI is a three-year research project with complementary components examining the current state of CIS and identifying intervention points to improve its functioning, with a focus on addressing the information needs of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. CISRI conducted a six-month research pilot in Niger from April-September 2017, and is now conducting a second pilot in Senegal, based on the experiences gained from the first round.
  • Cartographie des systèmes de service participatifs Informations climatiques au Sénégal

    Sambou, Simon; Lewis, Amanda; Rokhaya Gaye, Sokhna; Allen, Mary; Lambert, Kristin (USAID, Mercy CorpsPractical Action Consulting, 2019-01-31)
    l’Initiative de recherche sur les services d’information climatique (CISRI) a piloté une méthodologie participative de cartographie du système des services d’informations climatique (SIC) au Niger et au Sénégal qui comprend cinq phases itératives : 1) le cadrage du système ; 2) la cartographie préliminaire du système SIC; 3) le renforcement des capacités de participation; 4) la cartographie participative des acteurs du SIC CIS, de l’environnement externe, et des services d’appuis; et, 5) l’apprentissage, le retour d’information et l’impact. Ce rapport résume le projet pilote au Sénégal qui a eu lieu après le premier pilote au Niger, et qui était dirigé par CRS et PAC.
  • Participatory Climate Information Services Systems Mapping in Senegal

    Simon, Sambou; Amanda, Lewis; Sokhna, Rokhaya Gaye; Mary, Allen; Kristin, Lambert (Mercy CorpsPractical Action Consulting, 2018-10-12)
    Within its Learning Agenda on Climate Information Services in Sub-Saharan Africa, USAID has funded the Climate Information Services Research Initiative (CISRI). Through four Work Streams, CISRI aims to understand the factors influencing climate information access and use to help farmers improve their livelihoods in a context of climate variability and change. This Work Stream piloted a participatory climate information services (CIS) mapping methodology in Niger and Senegal that includes five iterative stages: 1) framing the system; 2) preliminary CIS mapping; 3) empowerment; 4) participatory mapping of CIS actors, external environment and support services; and, 5) learning, impact and feedback. This report summarizes the pilot in Senegal, which took place after the first pilot in Niger, and was led by CRS and Practical Action. Following interviews, a literature review, and preliminary mapping, participatory CIS mapping was undertaken in five villages involving 100 farmers and their respective communes. Participatory mapping workshops were also held at the commune, regional, and national levels. These workshops allowed farmers to identify constraints and opportunities and express their CIS needs. This report synthesizes the results of the participatory CIS mapping methodology undertaken in Senegal, outlines lessons learned, and proposes recommendations for improving the pilot for wider use throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Climate Information Services Research Initiative

    Kristin, Lambert; David, Nicholson (USAID, Mercy CorpsPractical Action Consulting, 2018-05-31)
    This factsheet provides information on the USAID supported Climate Information Services Research Initiative (CISRI). CISRI aims to 1) improve understanding of, and access to, knowledge on the effectiveness of climate information services (CIS) programming, 2) produce evidence and tools to improve understanding of the factors and structures that influence CIS delivery, uptake, use and effectiveness, 3) produce innovative evaluation methodologies and evidence on the degree of effectiveness of CIS, and 4) research, design and implement a plan for the dissemination, uptake and application of research, synthesis, evidence, and knowledge gaps. The project strategy is organized around four integrated activities that will be implemented within the three-year project lifespan. These include three research streams in the first two years, and an uptake and application of learning work stream, which will be active throughout. CISRI is implemented by a consortium of members including Mercy Corps, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, The World Agroforestry Centre, The Humanitarian Response and Development Lab, Catholic Relief Services and Practical Action Consulting.
  • Climate Information Services Research Initiative: Final Report

    Mercy Corps (Mercy CorpsPractical Action Consulting, 2020-11-23)
    The Climate Information Services Research Initiative (CISRI) was designed to enhance understanding of the user end of the climate information services system. CISRI investigated the factors that impact access and use of climate information services, and applied new methodologies for strengthening the effectiveness of CIS systems, as well as evaluating CIS effectiveness in SSA. Led by Mercy Corps, CISRI drew on the expertise of its consortium partners: the Humanitarian Response and Development Lab at Clark University (HURDL), the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University (IRI), CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Practical Action, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

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