Tuesday, October 18, 2005

THE PRACTICA FOUNDATION : Recognizing The Importance Of Technology

The Practica Foundation was established in 2001 in Delft in The Netherlands to address the problem that the huge need for the development and promotion of technology for the rural poor is much underresourced. Practica recognizes that technology is an important driving force for social and economic change in both the richer parts of the world and in the world's poor areas.

In order to address this problem, Practica aims to facilitate research, development and commercial application of technology in the field of water and energy in developing countries.

In the first year of its existence, Practica won the shared first prize in the International Competition for Innovative Irrigation Rechnologies for Small Farmers. This award was organized by World Bank, IDE and Winrock International.

Practica receives requests from developing countries and looks at their implementing ability, financial aspects, and their relevance in terms of market potential, social and environmental desirability. Once it has done this, Practica continues to help develop the initiatives through technical assistance and by linking proposals with financial resources and marketing opportunities. In order to help ensure the success of the initiative, Prctica makes sure that the agreements on the rights to the technology are clear. In this way, this innovative organization functions as both a clearinghouse for funding as an entity that helps with the dissemination and commercial application of promising technologies.
One unique aspect of Practica is that it makes it very clear that commercial promotion is as important, if not more important, as the development of technology.

The aim of the Practica Foundation is to facilitate research, development and commercial application of technology in the field of water and energy in developing countries. Water and energy-related technology were chosen because of the understanding that these are often "prime movers" in rural livelihoods. And even though they are the prime movers there is still much to be done in order to reduce the cost and improve the quality of the technologies in use.

Because Practica believes that the commercial promotion is as important, if not more important, as the development of technology even though it is supported by private donors, foundations, Water Authorities and organizations, it works with a network of numerous partner organizations that engage in the business of producing, promoting and selling improved rural products.

Because it deals very much with engineering and such practical matters as that, Practica has a leadership team that is heavily weighted towards engineering. Frank van Steenbergen PhD, the Chairman of the board us a Social geographer, 20 years experience and specializes in water policy change. Wout Snijders MSc is Secretary and treasurer of the board. Snijders has been a Civil and environmental engineer for 25 years. The list of Board Members is quite long, but they include, among other professions, Land and water management engineers, Mechanical engineers, a (Geo)hydrological researcher, a Sanitary engineer, Agronomist, a Sociologist who is also a ceramist and an Irrigation expert

Some of the Technologies with which Practica is involved are:

The Volanta pump, which is a flywheel operated deep well piston pump driven by hand or engine

The micro diesel, which is a simple and small size engine expected to be available to farmers at an affordable price.

Practica has developed a Manual well drilling package consisting of the Rota-sludge and Stone-hammer

Motorize Rope Pump that can be used for pumping water from deeper wells than is possible with motorized pumping using suction pumps powered by a diesel or gasoline engines.

The Ceramic water filter is the same water filter made by Potters For Peace mentioned in the article of October 17, 2005.

I am going to stop listing technologies here, but you can read about the rest at: Practica Technologies

Practica has several Ongoing Projects as well, such as:

The Solar Thermal Motor

The Volanta ultra pump deepset

The Motorised ropepump

The Micro Diesel Engine and

The Stonehammer drilling method

All of these ongoing projects can be viewed at: Ongoing Projects

In additions to the listings of their Technologies and Ongoing Projects, Practica has a

LIBRARY SECTION and a section called, SMART WATER SOLUTIONS where they deal with water technologies.

Three is a lot to see at Practica. I was told about it by Ron Rivera of Potters For Peace ; and whether you like to see what is coming at you from over the technological horizon, or just like to browse through page after page of thoughtful solutions to some of the world's problems, Practica's web site is a Great place to visit. PRACTICA

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