|Conference:||Footbridge 2005 (Second International Congress), Venezia, 06-08 December 2005|
|Published in:||Footbridge 2005|
Bridges to Prosperity (BtP) is an International Non-Government Organization committed to building affordable pedestrian bridges in the poorest countries of the world. This group of volunteers started in 2001 with the rehabilitation of a broken masonry span over the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, and it has now completed over a dozen projects in three countries. Although the initial projects were steel truss, cableway, and wooden structures, from 2003 the organization embraced the Helvetas Nepal method of building suspended structures with masonry towers, steel cable, and steel deck panels and crossbeams. Eight of these bridges are now completed in Ethiopia, and the organization is currently starting a similar program in Peru. Some changes to the Helvetas Nepal construction technique and social approach were necessary in Ethiopia, and more changes will be made to integrate the program into the Peruvian culture. Eventually, BtP plans to further refine this system and import this technology to whatever country desires it. A study of the history and development of the program will reveal the challenges and difficulties involved with transferring technologies from one region to another, and lessons learned along the way will provide solid guidance for others attempting similar projects.