On World Water Day, four communities celebrate a new water system in Nicaragua

on
19 March 2020
In
Individuals, Schools and teachers, Nicaragua, Water, Health, Technology
Construction of a water storage unit in Leymus Kukalaya Community. Pablo Valle, 2019 WaterAid

This project provides schools, health centers and homes with reliable access to safe water.

Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua (March 19, 2020)—A new gravity-fed safe water system serving four indigenous communities in Nicaragua’s North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region will be unveiled on World Water Day (March 22). The new water system is a project of Nicaragua Rural, part of the regional program Lazos de Agua, a multi-stakeholder partnership of One Drop (TM), the Inter-American Development Bank, The Coca-Cola Foundation and Fundación FEMSA. Nicaragua Rural is implemented by WaterAid, which also receives generous financial support from Latter-day Saint Charities and Medicor Foundation.

The new water supply system, benefitting the communities of  Sukuas Abajo, Leymus Kukalaya, Siska and Bocana de Greytown, in the municipality of Puerto Cabezas, includes a water intake and 
treatment system, two water storage tanks and 30 miles of pipe,
providing safe water in households to more than 1000 people 24 hours a day, year-round. 

The water system also provides safe water to four area primary schools.  The intervention in schools and the nearby San Pablo Health Center, also includes toilets and handwashing stations, which were designed to accommodate people with disabilities. 

Robin Centeno, a nurse at the health center, says these services make a huge difference. “I do my best to give dignified care to my patients. The biggest problem was the lack of latrines, which are essential in a health center. We now have a decent flush toilet with a shower.” 

Robin Cris Centeno Castro, a nurse at San Pablo Health Center in Tasba Pri, Nicaragua, stands in front of the clinic's new bathrooms. (WaterAid - Eduardo Rodriguez)
(WaterAid/ Eduardo Rodriguez)
Robin Cris Centeno Castro, a nurse at San Pablo Health Center in Tasba Pri, Nicaragua, stands in front of the clinic's new bathrooms.

Now that infrastructure is in place, local water and sanitation 
committees have been trained in governance, water resource management, operation and maintenance. The communities also have 18 new hygiene promoters, who regularly visit households to teach proper water storage as well as handwashing and hygiene habits. As part of Nicaragua Rural's Social Art for Behaviour Change (TM) interventions, community theater addresses the healthy practices of fee payment and household drinking water treatment and safe storage. In turn, local sanitation entrepreneurs provide their services to install flush toilets for the community, all of which contribute to the sustainability of the new water system.  

“One of our priorities is to equip people with the resources they need to maintain their own water systems over the long-term,” says Germana Fajardo, Country Manager, WaterAid. “By working with local people and the regional government, we can help reduce the exclusion of these indigenous communities in Nicaragua.”  

In Nicaragua, more than one million people do not have access to safe water. The North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region has one of the highest rates of poverty in the country: almost 68% of the rural population lives on less than US$1 per day. One of the main barriers to progress is the inadequate access to safe water and sanitation. Women and children are often most affected, because they are responsible for collecting water several times a day, often walking long distances. 

About the Lazos de Agua Program and the Nicaragua Rural project 
The Lazos de Agua Program, a multi-stakeholder partnership of One Drop, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), The Coca-Cola Foundation and Fundación FEMSA, seeks to provide sustainable access to safe water and improved sanitation and hygiene services to around 200 000 people in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Paraguay by 2022. Lazos de Agua, an innovative program in the WASH sector, is implemented through the A·B·C for SustainabilityTM model and the Social Art for Behaviour Change (SABC) approach. Its project "Moving towards universal access to WASH in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCN), Nicaragua" (or "Nicaragua Rural"), implemented by WaterAid, will provide sustainable access to safe water and improved sanitation and hygiene services to 17 460 people in the municipalities of Waslala, Waspam and Puerto Cabezas. www.lazosdeagua-en.org 

About WaterAid 
WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 27 million people with clean water and 27 million people with decent toilets. 

Statistics

  • 785 million people in the world – one in nine – do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 2 billion people in the world – almost one in three – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's over 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]
  • Every $1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of $4 in increased productivity.[4]
  • Just $24 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

Resources

[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] washwatch.org

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage

[5] www.wateraid.org

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