8 practical 'how-tos' for the development professional

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 17 May 2016

A new mobile app hopes to enhance knowledge sharing for seasoned aid workers, volunteers or those just starting out their careers in international development. Photo by: International Labour Organization / CC BY-NC-ND

More than 2,000 “how-to” guides across 17 development themes — including in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene, agriculture, energy and disaster risk reduction — are now available on a mobile phone app.

Amid the rise of smartphone usage and greater mobile connectivity, as well as a stronger call than ever for knowledge sharing in development, tech-focused British charity Practical Action has started experimenting with the “Practical Answers” app.

Practical Action has been sharing technical know-how on a number of development subjects in more than 15 countries in South Asia, Latin America and Africa for over two decades through their website, where user downloads average 1.5 million annually, according to Sachin Sapkota, digital manager at the NGO. 

But the app — available in both iOS and Google Play — will act as an alternative channel for knowledge sharing and transfer, he told Devex, a perception that a number of charities have adopted over the past few years. The American Red Cross created an app called “First Aid,” which gives users a step-by-step guide on what to do in case of medical emergencies. Charity Navigator has also developed an app that makes it easier for donors to assess their favorite or potential charities’ performance.

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.

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