Notes from the Field: The Water Committee
We sat in a circle under the thatched roof of a hut with the members of the local Water Committee. A view of the green rolling hills dotted with palm trees and orange flowers could be seen on all sides. The president of the committee spoke about their struggle to get a water system in his town, recounting the three months they had spent dry due to a brutal drought.
He said, “El agua no se lo niege a nadien.”
Which roughly translates to, “No one should be deprived of water.”
After suffering the drought, the town reached out to our Project Manager and requested that they would be considered to receive an aqueduct. This is the first step to getting a project. All of the communities that get a project donated by BLUE make the first move by calling our attention towards their specific need.
If the town has the natural resource capacity to keep a water system pumping, we give them the green light and start preparing them for the project.
They first have to elect a Water Committee made up of local leaders who will spear head the implementation of the project and its continued maintenance. This group of local movers and shakers is the key element in the sustainability of our work.
If we just dropped a project into a town and walked away, 3 years down the line, you would find the same town, with a dry or broken aqueduct, in the same state they were in before we came. This is the down fall for a multitude of aid agencies. Reason being: progress that does not sustain itself is not progress at all.
The Water Committee unites the community to work together towards a common goal. Once they see what they can accomplish for each other, with each other, the amount of progress they can bring to their community is unstoppable.
Most of the communities we work in are far up in the mountains and have been neglected in every facet of human needs. Their schools are subpar, they don’t have access to adequate sanitation or electricity, and medical clinics are far and few between.
For them to knock down a cross-generational barrier, such as water, with the picks and shovels they hold in their own hands is a huge turning point for their community.
The Water Committee is trained by us to continue bringing projects to their community and finding local solutions to common issues in order to pioneer higher levels of development. We plant the seed, so when we come back to visit, this town not only has a thriving water system, but has flourished and transformed itself through the power of unity.