Letter: Building bridges with stone walls

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The Independent Online
From Dr. Patrick Brazier

Sir: Your feature on dry stone walling in the Cotswolds ("Wall's end?", 8 July) emphasises not only their national importance as part of Britain's rural heritage, but touches on their impact on community involvement and self-help. The use of traditional environmentally friendly techniques can be used to bring people together and make them more environmentally aware.

That is why in Swaziland, as part of a "food for work" programme, the British Council supported the visit of Richard Tufnell of the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain to conduct practical workshops for local trainers and workers in dry stone walling techniques. During the workshops, a classroom, to be used as a creche facility for local families, and two bridges were constructed at no cost to the community, using freely available materials that had been previously considered merely as hazards in their fields.

These skills and others like them can and are being exported, and in many cases simply reintroduced, to the developing world, where such intermediate technology, combined with community involvement, is central to addressing the problems associated with rural poverty.

Yours faithfully,

Patrick Brazier


British Council Swaziland



11 July