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Weʼre raising £63,750 to Bolivia Community Champions Project

Oxford, England, United Kingdom
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I received an Oxford Brookes Social Entrepreneur Award for Amazon research in May 2016 and worked with the Brazilian NGO NAPRA napra.org.br. I identified an imminent Bolivian dam disaster as potentially the most terrible and at the same time the most preventable! I now have a small team, a Bolivian forest guide, an English photo journalist, a Brazilian biologist, and help and advice from the various universities and NGOs.

The Bolivian government and international corporations are now illegally going forward with a mega dam project in the protected area of highest biodiversity in the Amazon in Madidi National Park area on the Beni river. To stop the dam and support local peoples, we are setting up “Native Community Champions”. These native forest guides/campaigners will have a triple role of 1) uniting the ethnic groups, 2) bringing advice and support and 3) guarding the forest/collecting data on human and environmental abuses. A riverboat we are planning to buy will bring native groups to the city to access welfare and advocacy.

If the Bala dam goes ahead, the eco-tourist centre of Rurrenbaque with its sustainable economy will be destroyed, at least 5,000 indigenous protectors of the forest will be driven out, and 150 miles of planned highways bringing industrial populations will make irreversible changes to the region, but there is still time to prevent it. We have until the end of 2017 when building is due to start to stop the dam construction (geological testing started in August 2016) and put in place a safety net for 5500 native ‘dam peoples’.

Recently, in August 2016, Chilean energy company Endesa announced the scrapping of plans for six dams in Chile due to strong local opposition. We will be starting this project in Bolivia from 6 December 2016, and will keep posting our progress for you. Follow ‘Dam Peoples Amazon’ on Facebook. Come and volunteer with us as your next holiday in this important cause!

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      IAN PAUL

      IAN PAUL

      Oxford, England, United Kingdom

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