CAPD is mobilizing local Colombian financial support for the Safe Water program amongst municipal governments by emphasizing the BioSand filters longevity (30 years) and zero ongoing cost with nothing to replace. Municipal mayors have a legal responsibility to provide potable water and basic sanitation to their residents but have struggled to carry out this responsibility in a lasting and economic fashion, given the isolation of rural populations. In 2013, three mayors provided an example of how to meet this responsibility by subsidizing safe water systems for 1100 families. Phase 2 has just been successfully finished and the adjacent photo shows the mayor handing over the final cheque to the Rotary Club’s legal representative.
Our local implementing partner, the Rotary Club of Monteria 2, is now in the midst of a publicity campaign to mayors around the state promoting this sustainable solution to help the mayors carry out this mandate. During Bob’s visit in November, the Rotary Club organized a number of promotional visits with local mayors – because the last quarter of the calendar year is the budgeting period for 2015. The response has been very encouraging but time will tell if this infrastructure investment will win out over the many other competing priorities that confront municipal mayors.
In one situation, the mayor had invited his consejales (councillors) to hear about the program. They were even more enthusiastic.
The Rotarians also organized an important publicity initiative to encourage municipal leaders to support the Safe Water program. Rafael Chica, host of the program Le Pone El Alma (Caracol national television) together with his cameraman and 10 Rotarians visited the village of Martenica where families have been using the filter for 2-3 years. A number of families and Rotarians were interviewed on camera. Bob was also interviewed on camera but hopefully they correct his bad grammar with judicious editing. The families with filters continue to praise the safe water initiative and believe strongly that their family health is better.
Village youth cool off while filling Jerry cans. This water is only used for cleaning and laundry. Normally rainwater is filtered during he ‘winter” (rainy season) and water from a pond is used during the “summer”.
TanyLuz Padilla, past president of the Rotary Club, interviews the abuela (grandmother). Lacho, another Rotarian, listens in.
Jerry Cans are practical. Even though the family has a 500 liter plastic tank for catching rainwater, they still use the Jerry Cans for fetching water from the canio (drainage canal) or the represa (pond).
The “kiosko” is the centre of family life during the day. Here we are taking over the kiosko for an interview.
This blog gives you a taste of village life and the importance of promoting safe water systems. Our strategy is to continue to promote the systems to Municipal Mayors as a solution to their mandate, and in this way, supplement funding from Canada.