Sasakawa Prize Winners (2008)
Summary of Environmental Achievements
Practical Action, founded in 1966, is working in Peru's eastern Andes where 68 percent of the population- around 5 million people- do not have access to electricty. The project makes use of the region's vast potential for hydroelectricity: to date, 47 micro-hydro schemes have been installed in the area through Practical Action, bringing clean power to about 30,000 people.
Through this project, Pratical Action is also boosting local industry, as most of the turbines are manufactured by small companies in Peru to Practical Action designs- with each company making three or four turbine a year. Pratical Action says it sees local manufacturer as a key step towards widespread use of renewable energy.
The electricity supply is boosting the development of the remote communities. Previously, people moved away to start business in places where the infrastructure was better, but the electricity from the micro-hydro schemes has brought them back. Some villages have doubled in size, with peole returning and others starting or expanding businesses including restaurants, bakeries, furniture makers, welders and internet cafes.