You might recognize this couple, Ivan and Rocio, from previous blogs on the Safe Water Program. They are founders of FRPG – Fundación Red Proyecto Gente, or a network for people projects. Bob and I came to know them in 2014 when they took a chance, as well as a 4-hour bus ride, to meet Bob to talk about water and the BioSand filter. They were keenly interested in the topic of Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS) and Ivan had some experience in this area. They wanted to somehow get involved and collaborate with the CAPD Safe Water Program.

A seed was planted that day that grew into a fruitful relationship, that eventually grew into a formal partnership with CAPD.  How did that come to be? It seems to me that it started with that conversation, grew under Bob’s mentorship, and gained strength through CAPD financial support for small HWTS projects.  An essential component, however, was their deep-seated desire to serve rural communities.

Skip to today, 2021:  FRPG has formal agreements with CAPD, implementing small projects, and with CAWST, providing training to the wider international network of CAWST clientele.  And when needed, provides training to Rotary funded HWTS project teams.  Presently, Ivan and Rocio are wrapping up a 6-weekly virtual webinar on RAM pumps and HWTS for rural areas sponsored by CAWST, RELX, a European NGO and AIDFI, a Philippine NGO.  CAPD is participating by sponsoring the professional time of Ivan and Rocio.  The webinar participants, numbering between 80 and 100 per session, are from Canada, Colombia, Honduras and Spain.  My oh my, how things have changed since our first meeting in 2014.

Ivan and Rocio, having had experience in implementing BioSand water filtration systems in communities through CAPD, are recognized by CAWST as experts in rural water systems and are helping to raise awareness of Colombian policies on rural water regulation. Having previously developed training modules for virtual forums, they are responsible for a large part of the webinar content. Their didactic materials are developed by CAWST (Calgary) who also serves as the host of the webinars.

The webinars are but a stepping-stone to their next initiative. They are currently developing a course on TANDAS (household water treatment and safe storage) for 3 Universities in Bolivia and exploring doing the same for universities and government entities in Colombia. 

I find this very exciting because it provides such a marvellous example of community development. One never knows where a conversation might lead.

CAPD would like to acknowledge and thank ALL its program and project leaders for their dedicated service to their respective communities. The majority have been with us for quite a long time. For them, it is not a job; it is their mission. They are indeed a treasure to be prized by both Colombians and Canadians.