Multi-sectoral cooperation brings water filters to isolated areas

Cooperation Colombian and Canadian organizations plus local leadership are all important as the picture below exemplifies. The project presented below was a pilot project funded by CAPD, Rotary clubs and the Catholic Christian Institute for Farmer Promotion for approximately 60 filters this year.

You will recognize Bob from CAPD. On his left is Elver Vargas from the Department of Health of Santander who came along to learn more about the safe water initiative. Ivan Castro, FRPG project implementer, stands next to Luis Antonio Durán, President of the Water Board for the village of Mérida and community representative to the Board of ICPROC or Christian Institute for Farmer Promotion. On the far right are Alirio Medina, filter installer, and his wife, Doña María, who has a filter in her home.

Some of the houses with filters were very remote requiring a walk in mountainous and forested areas.

Bob comments that running a filter project in the mountains makes filter installation and follow-up that much more difficult. In fact, some of the terrain was so mountainous that the best way to deliver filters was through a cable as seen in the video below.

Elver, as his role in the Secretariat of Health for Santander, is keenly interested in these filters and listens intently to Ivan’s explanations. Ivan would like to link the Secretariat in the second phase of the project to do water testing as part of the implementation of Colombia’s rural water policy.

Personal testimony of the impact of the filter on family life is provided by Doña María.
Yasmin and Sergio, homeowners of a filter, talk about using unfiltered water before and the difference the filter has made. Elver speaks about the importance involving multi-sector organizations such as churches, Community Action Boards, Aqueduct Boards, Rotary Clubs and FRPG, among others.

There is a plan afoot to to expand the number of beneficiaries, implementing 30 additional filters in other villages of the municipality of San Vicente de Chucurí and 45 more in the rural area of the municipality of Carmen de Chucurí. To this end, a meeting with the Bishop of the Diocese of Barrancabermeja and Father Jairo Alberto Rave, the Director of ICPROC, was held.

The team poses at the end of the meeting. From left to right they are, María Isabel (Community Coordinator and ICPROC official), Iván Castro (FRPG Co-Director and Project Coordinator), Elver Vargas (Representative Departmental Secretary of Health of Santander), Marlene Wiens (CAPD Representative), Father Jairo Alberto Rave (Director of ICPROC), Bob Wiens (CAPD Representative and Calgary Stampede Rotary Club  Park), and Luis Antonio Durán (President of the JAC and Representative of the community on the ICPROC Board of Directors).