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One of the Oldest Clean Energy Organizations on the Planet


Practical Action is a nonprofit organization focused on bringing renewable energy, clean water, waste services, improved food supply, and greater disaster preparation to Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

solar Africa

Founded in 1969, Practical Action “develops and installs micro-hydro power plants, cleaner cook-stoves, biogas projects and numerous forms of solar power,” an analyst evaluating the organization for the Zayed Future Energy Prize states. “Their work, which has been recognised through various awards and endorsements, spans a number of developing world countries and is significant in scale.”

Practical Action says that it has improved energy access for 300,000 people since 2007, indirectly benefiting 1.2 million people.

Here are some country specifics:

  • Kenya: where around 1.8 million Upesi cook-stoves have been sold through their participatory approach of training women to manufacture cook-stoves themselves.
  • Malawi: where community-managed micro-hydro-powered decentralised mini-grids brought affordable energy to 29,000 people.
  • Peru: where 75,000 people have been directly connected to electricity through the installation of 80 micro-hydro schemes, which won Practical Action an Ashden Award and the UN Environment Programme’s Sasakawa Prize.
  • Zimbabwe: where their ‘E-MINSET’ project, which addresses the disconnection between central and local energy development planning, won the Energy Globe Award for sustainability.

Practical Action is one of five finalists in the nonprofit category of the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize. It is the oldest of these five organizations, by a long shot, and it is also one of the oldest clean energy organizations on the planet. More information about the organization can be found on its website: http://practicalaction.org/.

You can also read about one of Practical Action’s projects, in Nepal, that I’ve highlighted in the past here on Sustainnovate.

Originally published on Sustainnovate.