Location: Rugby Warwickshire, United Kingdom
Over one billion people still live without any kind of clean energy or electricity. Despite technological advances, poor communities still spend much of their income on diesel and kerosene, and burn wood for energy. Most poor, rural communities do not have access to any power which limits their ability to work or study at night. In addition, it is expensive to use fuel for electricity, and the fumes and toxins can create serious health risks. Access to clean energy can create an opportunity for sustainable economic development in these communities. One organization is using water as a cleaner, more reliable source of energy to solve this energy crisis.
Practical Action works to develop sustainable technologies and bring them to these poor communities. Economist Fritz Schumacher founded Practical Action in 1965, with a certainty that green technology could help people out of poverty. Practical Action works with communities worldwide through several projects, such as energy access, clean water and sustainable agriculture. One of their projects uses micro-hydro power, which is energy generated by falling water that can also be used to irrigate crops. This type of technology is renewable, non-polluting, natural, and it is able to power homes, schools, and even hospitals. This small-scale hydro project generates up to 500 kilowatts of power, converting flowing water into electricity. Because it can be used in rivers, it is a long-term solution that can provide poor communities with an affordable means of energy for 20 years or more.
So far, Practical Action has developed these micro-hydro systems in communities in Peru, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Kenya. These communities have benefitted from the energy, and the Kenyan Energy Ministry’s Department of Renewable Energy called it “wonderful.” Practical Action believes that human development and the environment can improve simultaneously, and this is what motivates and inspires their success. Practical Action celebrated their 50th anniversary this past year, and it is active in 45 countries around the world, delivering clean energy and sustainable development to communities in need. Many more Practical Action projects can be found on their website, and supporters are welcome to take action. Which project would you get involved with?
Environmental Impact: Avoided use of fossil fuels, energy recycling, efficient energy use, efficient water use, improved access to water for irrigation, sustainable agriculture
Measurement: Practical Action
Sources: Practical Action
Looking to discover more impact ventures? Join us at www.groundupproject.net