By Nora Pillard Reynolds, Executive Director
On April 12, 2015, I stood in front of many of you at the Annual Walk for Water at Villanova University. As I formally assumed the role of Executive Director of Water for Waslala, I described two possible scenarios for the coming year. One year later, in April 2016 – Water for Waslala could either…
Scenario #1: Reach close to 3,000 Waslalans (this # is more than 2007-2014 combined!)
Scenario #2: Run out of funds and no longer exist
(note – we had grown to an organization that required full time focus vs. a few hours of work on nights and weekends….hence I was stepping up as ED)
So, here we are in April 2016 and we’ve hit scenario #1 out of the park! In just the last 12 months, we have:
- Completed three new community water systems in Okote Kubali, Casa Maquina, and Hierba Buena that will serve 819 Waslalans for a lifetime (for comparison, this is the same number of Waslalans we reached with gravity-based systems over three years from 2012-2015)….in just one year!
- Reached an additional 2,115 Waslalans with household filters to ensure drinking water quality in their homes.
- Sealed the deal on a partnership with the Waslalan mayor and municipal government – a critical step to ensuring sustainability.
Despite incredible progress this year, we never lose focus of the fact that we have 3,265 Waslalans waiting in our project pipeline right now. These Waslalans have organized, legalized all land rights, identified, evaluated and purchased a water source, and saved towards 5% of project cost…they have taken all the steps they can to make their community water system happen.
Our mission is to ensure access to clean drinking water for all 65,000 Waslalans and (in 2012) we set the ambitious goal to finish our mission by 2030 (which now aligns with the SDGs) – a goal that would be impossible under WfW’s current operating structure. This time last year our Board of Directors had our annual board planning retreat and decided to pursue an acquisition strategy to scale the organization in order to reach our mission by 2030. Check out Matt’s post for the inside story on why we made this decision.
One year later, we are excited to announce the “Agua Para Waslala” Program Alliance. We believe that this transition will truly complete the mission of WfW – ensure access to clean drinking water for everyone living in Waslala, Nicaragua by 2030!
“Agua Para Waslala” Program Alliance
Water for Waslala (WfW), WaterAid and El Porvenir are excited to announce the formation of an alliance aimed at achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene in the municipality of Waslala, Nicaragua by 2030.
Where we are now?
Founded in 2004, WfW has implemented 18 community water projects serving over 3,400 residents while reaching another 3,800+ residents since 2014 through a household filter micro-loan program. The last 11 years have also allowed WfW to develop a deep knowledge of the local context, a track record of success, and trust with local actors. WfW appreciates the collaboration with the Association of Integrated and Sustainable Development (ADIS), the Caja Rural Mano a Mano, The Madre Tierra Foundation (FUMAT), and the municipal government over these years. However, under WfW’s current operating structure it would be impossible to reach the goal of universal access in Waslala by 2030. Despite progress, the municipal government reports that only 35% of the 65,000 Waslalan residents currently have improved access to water supplies, 10-15% have access to safe drinking water, and 8% have access to adequately improved sanitation.
Where we are headed?
Building on the experience to date, the Agua Para Waslala Program will now bring together WaterAid’s global expertise, experience, and resources and El Porvenir’s experience implementing rural WASH projects across its municipal field offices in Nicaragua. WaterAid (WA) is a globally credible WASH-focused international NGO founded in 1981 and currently working in 32 countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Latin America and Caribbean region, with operations in Nicaragua since 2011. El Porvenir (EP) is a US/Nicaragua-based WASH focused NGO founded in 1990 currently operating out of five municipal field offices and a central operations office in the capital city of Managua.
- WA will acquire WfW’s US-based operations and enter into a Cooperation Agreement with EP in relation to the Agua para Waslala Program.
- Beginning on April 1, 2016, EP will assume all daily administrative and operational responsibilities and activities in Waslala with the support of the current WfW team.
- Through December 31, 2016, a committee formed of representatives from WfW, EP, and WA will oversee strategic planning; this Committee will ensure the continuation of WfW’s work while leveraging the experience, networks, and resources of both EP and WA.
- The Agua Para Waslala Program plans to continue working closely with the Mayor’s Office, government institutions and local organizations to achieve program goals.
The alliance will then go about the task of taking the Agua Para Waslala Program to scale with the goal of contributing to the sustainable achievement of universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene in the municipality of Waslala by 2030.