The PRACTICA Foundation aims to facilitate research, development and commercial application of technology in the field of water and energy in developing countries. The choice for water and energy-related technology comes from an assessment that these are often prime movers in rural livelihoods and the conviction that there is still considerable scope to reduce cost and improve the quality of technologies in use.
Such technologies and services can have a large impact on many aspects of the livelihoods of the poor, provided they are made available much more widely and in some cases their efficiency and reliability are improved. The preference is to achieve this by engaging the local private sector and follow the principle of ‘poverty alleviation as a business’. This strategy requires a catalyst role.
The process of introducing low-cost technology to private manufacturers / workshops and end-users is labour-intensive. Even if in a region a particular technology ultimately catches on, it takes a relatively high investment to get to a ‘critical mass‘. PRACTICA aims to accelerate this process by taking care of the ‘introductory and dissemination process‘. At the same time PRACTICA has a general role as a clearing house, advocate and source of practical knowledge on promising new affordable technologies and services in the water and energy sector.
For PRACTICA the commercial promotion is as important, if not more important, as the development of technology. Towards this end PRACTICA works with a network of partner organisations that produce, promote and sell improved rural products.
The values of PRACTICA are focus on the poor, use of proven solutions and innovations, adoption to the local context and engagement of the private sector.
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. PRACTICA then helps develop the initiatives further; with technical assistance, linking proposals with financial resources and marketing opportunities and making sure that there is clear agreement on the rights to the technology. It functions as a clearinghouse for funding the dissemination and commercial application of promising technologies.