Practical Action, which is based in Warwickshire, works with communities in many parts of the world. The people leading and working on projects supported by Practical Action are local people and are based in the communities where they work. Practical Action has a number of projects which are specifically helping people to meet the challenges of climate change.
Transition Stratford has supported Practical Action at the Small is … Festival, run at Practical Action’s headquarters in Ryton on Dunsmore on the Saturday and Sunday in September in 2011 and 2012.
Practical Action has several active projects in different parts of Sudan, where a five year drought has devastated local agriculture and the carcasses of cattle littering the sides of roads. Here Practical Action has helped communities to construct irrigation schemes, and with the little water now available, farmers have been helped to switch from traditional planting to different crops that are better able to survive in drought conditions. Practical Action has helped to design simple devices for storing crops, and to train local people to process these new foods for sale.
In Bangladesh, the problem is not lack of water but too much of it. Flooding has been getting worse, and land has been washed away. New land is appearing as sand bars in the middle of rivers, but here the soil is often of poor quality. Practical Action has been helping local farmers with new techniques for growing plants in manure pits, which help to retain plant nutrients and are more resistant to flooding. Practical Action has also helped to devise a way of growing plants on “floating gardens”, with crops grown in manure spread on platforms made from a local water weed. These floating gardens rise and fall with water levels, minimising the damage from floods.
Farmers in Nepal are struggling with rising temperatures which are reducing yields from traditional crops. Practical Action is helping farmers to introduce new crops that will flourish in warmer conditions. Here the challenge is to help people develop new skills in plant rearing and in the preservation and processing of new crops.