Clean Water Project Update (formerly dry/composting toilets)

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Prior to the arrival of Engineers without Borders in August of 2011, the water committee of El Pital approached Un Mundo to discuss and make a formal solicitation to us to help achieve an improved and more sustainable potable water project.  Among the recommendations given to the water committee by Un Mundo was the need to meet with the community to first inform them of the idea of the new project, and assure that the entire community was willing to participate and commit their time to this project. In order to gauge the community’s interest, the water committee first held two community meetings to explain their ideas and interest.

After these two meetings, the second of which was highly attended and received positive approval from the community, the water committee put together an agreement requesting the participation and contribution of each household in the community.  Upon completion of this agreement, the water committee members visited all the households in El Pital and explained the project and requested the participation of each household.  Those that were in favor, signed and agreed to donate their time and ideas to the project as well pay a monthly quota for water service.

In efforts to improve water maintenance in El Pital, the water committee recently decided to increase the current quota of L4 to L10 as of 2012 and will continue to increase the quota by L5 each year until reaching L50.  Once L50 has been established, the quota will be evaluated every three years. To date, 48 households have agreed to their participation in the project and there are still a number of households who have not been.

This project idea spawned during the initial evaluation visit by Engineers Without Borders in 2010.  However, the tri-union of the community and water committee of El PItal, Un Mundo and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) was formed during this second EWB visit, which took place in August of 2011.  During the second visit EWB conducted evaluations and various analysis’s of the current water system in El Pital and the water quality in the El Pital and from the source. Additionally they evaluated the water source in the prospective water sources (Puerto Barrio and Luncinda) to analyze the capacity and water quality.  Finally, in regards to access of the Puerto Barrio source, they also evaluated the potential and impact of constructing a canasta (basket) or a bridge.

Taking advantage of us all being together during the month of August, a strategic planning session was conducted with Engineers Without Borders and the water committee, Un Mundo facilitating a SWOT analysis, mapping of the water sources, a timeline of the history of water issues, writing books with everyone’s visions of the community in 20 years and problems trees to identify the priorities and needs for the project.  Due to the EWB visit being so short, we were not able to complete all of the planning, however with the information that we have, we were able to create a short-term timeline to forward the investigation and foundation building stage over the next few months and delegated out the distinct roles of Un Mundo, EWB and the water committee over the next year.  We hope to have the initial planning complete by the end of 2011.  All three organizations will continue evaluation and investigation of the potential and feasibility of this project over the next year.  We hope to have solid decision about whether or not to go forward with this project by Summer of 2012.

One of the primary challenges and concerns that Un Mundo has is that the current water committee needs significant support to be able to manage a potential project, such as better organizing themselves and involving new members in the committee, people who perhaps are not already involved in other large projects. Presently there only 6 strong members involved in the water committee and the vice-president is not active: Pedro Crisolago (President), Durkis Acosta (Secretary), Carmindo Banegas (Treasurer), Adalid Banegas (Fiscal), Antonio Fúnez y Alba Lobo (Vocales).

Due to the apathy of the community and a number of members on the water committee regarding meeting attendance and project development, an agreement was created between the water committee and Un Mundo to ensure attendance and participation to all the planning meetings.

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