powerful information: empowering local people to tackle social injustice and build a better future

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Mike talking with villagers in the Volta Region of Ghana about sustainable agriculture and our project with NETRICE to provide training in integrated pest management.

What we’ve achieved

In the early years Powerful Information helped stock 100 local resource centres with more than 6,000 carefully selected publications. But with the development of ICT and the internet we have focused our attention on helping empower local people with the skills and confidence to locate, evaluate and make effective use of information. Since 1995 we have, with and through our partners:

  • developed and resourced 125 grassroots projects in low-income countries, and helped build the capacity and operational effectiveness of 100+ civil society organisations;
  • organised and run dozens of workshops to improve information management, communication and advocacy skills — topics have ranged from good governance and financial accountability, to sustainable agriculture, understanding the environment, and using social media;
  • provided non-formal basic education/functional literacy for nearly 4,000 women and teenage girls in Sierra Leone, and education and skills-training for over 100 blind men and women;
  • empowered almost 500 subsistence farmers in Ghana with an understanding of sustainable agriculture and how to increase yields and improve crop quality (through integrated pest management);
  • set up and supported several dozen local projects in communities in Albania, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine, including advising local mayors on changes in environmental legislation, training several hundred teachers and supporting over 70 practical school environmental projects — 12 projects in Romania went on to win national prizes.
  • Of course, we would achieve very little without the skills, knowledge and experience of our partners who supervise and manage projects on the ground. They understand the culture and politics, speak local languages, and know how to get things done; they also have the contacts and are known and trusted by local people. We think this form of collaboration is highly effective and enables us to get to the parts that many much larger organisations fail to reach. And being a part of an active network of committed non-governmental organisations enables us to share ideas and information and enhance the reach and impact of our work.

    Our plans for the future

    We are proud of what we have achieved in two decades of operation, but we are also acutely aware how much more there is to do. We are currently conducting a detailed assessment of the impact of different aspects of our work. This will help us to improve future programmes of support whilst continuing to provide good value for money. More specifically we aim to:
  • West Africa — improve food security and increase the number of women and people with disabilities who are able to read, write and count and support themselves and their families;
  • Involvement — build a stronger supporter base enabling more people to become personally involved in grassroots international development.
  • We will of course continue to keep funders informed of what is being achieved through regular project reports and updates on our website. You can read what people say about us; and if you'd like to help change people's lives, press the button below. Thank you!

    Please Note, we were forced to suspend our work in Eastern Europe in 2014 when we were unable to raise the necessary resources. The need is no less today than it was in 1991 when we started our work in the region, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is especially so in rural areas, which is where we focused our efforts.

    Photos: 1) Mike talking with villagers in the Volta Region of Ghana about sustainable agriculture and our project with NETRICE to provide training in integrated pest management; 2) Safi, who runs Progressive Women with Disabilities in Makeni, Sierra Leone, trying out a Braillekey; 3) Women's Learning Circle in Gbenekovo Village in Koinadugu, Sierra Leone, one of six circles set up by villagers and requesting our help. We are supporting nine learning circles in the area but don't currently have the resources to support any more.