Warwick Franklin

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Recommended reading: http://www.practicalaction.org.uk

Posts by Warwick

  • Lights in Bolivia

    June 1st, 2014

    Last Monday, at the community of Amaguaya in Bolivia, I took part in the inauguration of their new micro-hydro project. Amaguaya, comprising 90 families, is nearly 5,000 metres above sea level and, to reach there, our group of Practical Action staff, officials and Press/TV, set off from La Paz at the crack of dawn.

    AmaguayaThe sky was cloudless and the sun shone but we still had to use pick-axes to break through ice on the mountain road (track!) before reaching the village on schedule after 5 hours.

    Serenaded by the Amaguaya brass band and Bolivian pipes, we were officially welcomed by all the community and Municipal Mayor. Speeches and gifts were exchanged, and the project (funded by the Swedish Postcode Foundation, the Municipality and the community) was declared officially opened after 2 years of construction in the most challenging of environments.

    It was highly emotional to see already the impact on the people’s lives and livelihoods of having electricity for the first time: households were free of the evil-smelling and unhealthy kerosene lamps, the clinic now had a sterilisation cabinet, the dentist electric drills and the school a working computer. Else, the head of a women’s group, was also able proudly to demonstrate her electric-powered weaving machine for alpaca wool.

    We returned to La Paz long after dark, knowing that we had seen a great example of Practical Action’s collaborative work with a poor community, and a reminder of why we do what we do.

    I hope that Fritz Schumacher would have been pleased!

     

     

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  • Hat to Hat!

    February 27th, 2014

    How great it is to see Ravelina in Innocent’s video!

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    I met her last September when taking a group of Practical Action donors to visit some of our projects in Peru and Bolivia. She was rightly very proud of what had been achieved on the Allimpaq (‘to be well’) project where she has been trained in animal care and insisted that I wear her wide-brimmed hat (the same that she has on in the video!) whilst being shown around so as to avoid the sun.

    We were delighted to have her as our dinner guest and (with her self-possession, sparkling eyes and teasing sense of humour) she was one of the most memorable people that we met on our trip.

    As we were saying goodbye, she presented me with a ball of alpaca wool that she herself had spun and my wife is now busy knitting this into a hat. I will ‘model’ the outcome!

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