A few years ago, Mano a Mano received designated funding to purchase a 323D CAT excavator, our most-needed piece of heavy machinery at the time for the major digging, dredging, and earth-moving tasks that must be completed day after day in order to build road and water retention infrastructure. Both road and water projects are essential to improving food security in Bolivia’s high Andean subsistence farming communities. After months of searching for just the right machine at the right price, Mano a Mano personnel found exactly what we were looking for. It was delivered to Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo’s machine shop in February of 2021.

Mano a Mano’s Partnership Model

Mano a Mano’s mission is: “Partnering together – Hand in Hand – to transform the health and well-being of Bolivian communities in need.” Every Mano a Mano project is a partnership between the community; their Municipal Government (and the Bolivian National Government for health clinics and some other select projects); Mano a Mano in the US & Bolivia; and funders. Without everybody working together and doing their part, none of these projects can become a reality.

A huge component of what Mano a Mano brings to the table on these projects is having the professional staff and equipment needed in Bolivia (including heavy machinery) for infrastructure projects. Having our own equipment and skilled staff allows us to keep costs down – commercial bids tend to be at least 20-30% more expensive than Mano a Mano’s project costs, and are often a LOT more than that; their bids are regularly 2-3 times more expensive, and in some cases they have been 5-10 times more. Sometimes the project is so isolated and rural that other organizations will not even consider the project under any circumstances.

Excavator Arriving at Mano a Mano Warehouse in Cochabamba, Bolivia – February 2021

This machine has become the workhorse for Mano a Mano’s largest project in Bolivia over the next few years: a major expansion of our largest water reservoir and the building of a nearby runway for a new regional airport.

Mano a Mano heavy equipment working on the expansion of our water reservoir in Laguna Sulti – part of the Punata Regional Complex – in mid-2021.

323D Excavator Working on Water Project in Islas Malvinas, Bolivia – August 2022

Celebrating the Expansion of Laguna Sulti Water Reservoir & Beginning of Punata Regional Complex

The Difference Upgraded Heavy Equipment Can Make

The 323D CAT excavator has led to a substantial increase in the amount of work that can be tackled in one day. Comparing this 323D machine to our other CAT 320D excavator, our personnel have shown that the 320D fills 30 dump truck loads in one day. The CAT 323D has a much larger scoop and fills 50 truckloads in one day. Because of its size, it does more work with the same number of back and forth moves, with less wear and tear on the machine. Nearly all of our machines break down at least once during a major project; this one has stayed in operation since we acquired it.

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