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Practical Action is a development charity registered in the United Kingdom which works directly in four regions of the developing world – Latin America, East Africa, Southern Africa and South Asia, with particular concentration on Peru, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Until 2005, it was known as the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG).

In these countries, Practical Action works with poor communities to develop appropriate technologies in food production, agroprocessing, energy, transport, small enterprise development, water and sanitation, shelter and disaster mitigation. Lessons from Practical Action’s grassroots experience are spread through consultancy services, publishing activities, education, advocacy and an international technical enquiries service.

In 1965, radical economist and philosopher E. F. Schumacher had an article published in the Observer, pointing out the limitations of aid based on the transfer of large-scale technologies to developing countries which did not have the resources to accommodate them. He argued that there should be a shift in emphasis towards intermediate technologies based on the needs and skills possessed by the people of developing countries.

Encouraged by the response, Schumacher and a few of his associates decided to create an 'advisory centre' to promote the use of efficient labour-intensive techniques and in 1966 the Intermediate Technology Development Group was born.

From its origins as a technical enquiry service, ITDG began to take a greater direct involvement in local projects. Following initial successes in farming, it developed working groups on energy, building materials and rural health, and soon grew to become an international organisation. The group now has seven overseas offices, working on over 70 projects around the world in food production, agroprocessing, energy, transport, ICTs, small enterprise development, water and sanitation, shelter and disaster mitigation.

In July 2005, ITDG changed its working name to Practical Action.

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