Homeless people in LEDCs often build makeshift shelters in shanty towns. These are often built on land not fit for development such as steep slopes or marshland which is vulnerable to floods and landslides.
Practical Action is a charity which helps communities to learn the skills they need to build better quality housing using their own labour, local resources and traditional techniques.
Practical Action has succeeded in changing government policy on housing in Kenya. Now, local authorities recognise houses that have been made from inexpensive materials as proper dwellings.
Practical Action also aim to improve basic services and infrastructure. As local people have been consulted from the outset, they can apply their skills in continuing to improve their surroundings. Their involvement has also given them a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Practical Action also has shelter programmes in other countries including Zimbabwe and Peru.
Their work is an example of sustainable development - a development which minimises damage to the environment or local resources.