Update from La Guajira

Rosalba Gonzalez, 34, with her four kids at their house in Wayuuma'ana, Maicao, La Guajira, Colombia. March 2017.
Sep 29, 2016

We are now in the seventh month since Aguayuda became part of the WaterAid family. We are confident our work will grow and strengthen under the leadership and guidance of the international WaterAid team.

The sun and heat continue to hold sway over La Guajira, broken only by a few scattered rainstorms that temporarily fill shallow rainwater catchment ponds – the traditional source of water for the rural Wayúu.

Along desert roads, scrub trees have changed from their normal dusty brown to a timid green as returning leaves provide much needed sustenance to wandering herds of goats. A family’s goat herd is crucial to their wellbeing during times of drought.

The effects of climate change make it hard to predict weather patterns these days and we remain attentive to reports from weather authorities as talk circulates around increased impact from the weather phenomena, “La Niña” and “El Niño” , at the end of this and the beginning of next year.

  • We are currently working with teachers in La Gloria school in preparation for a major improvement to the potable water facilities in benefit of the close to 500 Wayúu children attending there.
  • In the municipality of Maicao, we will soon launch an initiative to expand an existing water source to two new communities and over 90 additional families.
  • Next month, we will hold a forum with key water and sanitation stakeholders of the region, exploring ways to better evaluate the impact of our interventions and improve our work with indigenous populations.

A potential donor recently asked me how we guarantee the sustainability of our projects, and while speaking of the time and energy we invest in building specific elements of the project, I realized that what we do best is earn the trust of community members through the assurance that we will be there for them beyond the life of the project.

In addition to providing life-giving water and sanitation, we are also providing advice to help our local partners overcome any challenges they might encounter along the way while developing valuable relationships with the community members – a reminder that we are, in effect, friends.

Read more about our work in Colombia.