Join SuNica and Dynamic Water as they host the Turn On The Water crowdfunding campaign to fund a full-scal
Turn On The Water: a crowd-funding campaign
Not just a well:
It’s of primary importance to understand that this is not just any old well, but a full on water system that will include a deep water borehole, a heavy duty pump, a large tank, and a system of pipes to distribute clean abundant drinking water to 110 families in a rural community in Nicaragua called El Porvenir.
Our water model is different in that the focus is not as much on THE solution to the problem, but
rather THE METHOD by which the solution is conceived and executed. From the very beginning of our relationship with a community, we must calculate our steps in such a way that a solution is coaxed out of rather than imposed upon the folks we are trying to serve. That 1st real interaction that we have with a community is called a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA).
The PRA begins with the men and women being separated into 2 groups. Women in Nicaragua will often not express their views in front of their husbands, especially if their opinion is different from his.
The second piece is community mapping. We ask the community to draw a map on the ground or on a table using sticks, matches, rocks, or anything else lying around. The townsfolk truly enjoy sharing their knowledge of their own community. Even someone who can’t read or write can map out the community on the ground. This exercise loosens everyone up and leads to a lot of talking.
We then introduce a box of nails. In Nicaragua, a problem is referred to as “un clavo”, which is Spanish for nail. The community members begin to pinpoint problems in their community. This leads to a tremendous amount of information that provides us a better understanding of what the community perceives as its biggest issues.
The last part of the process involves asking them to pretend that the community has collectively won the lottery, "Now that you can address your problems, in what order would you fix them?"
Boom! Now we have a ranked list of all of the community's problems, and we never had to tell them about what SuNica actually focuses on. This is how we get a really clear picture without leading the conversation too much.
From the outset, the PRA produces a conversation that is mostly led by the villagers and fosters the sense that the community itself is in charge if its own destiny. We score two major wins from the outset. #1 We have a better understanding of the community’s problems. #2 Our relationship moving forward feels less paternal which promotes a sense of pride that ultimately fosters ownership of any solutions that may arise from the PRA.
El Porvenir and it’s Water
What we discovered in the PRA was that the people of El Porvenir get most of their drinking water fromshallow wells of 30' or less. In the dry season, most of those wells dry up completely or come to a slow trickle. We also learned that this village, like many others was plagued with a high level of men who are sick with Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown origins (CKDU).
Now that we knew that water was a big issue in El Porvenir, and that the community our next meeting was all about helping them create a solution. That solution absolutely requires a CAPS (Water & Sanitation Committee) We then helped El Porvenir to call a community meeting where they elected 5 people to this CAPS which would become their 1st ever mode of government within their town.
Our testing of El Porvenir's existing wells showed a measurement of 300 colony-forming units (CUs) of fecal contamination per 100 ml of water. That is the scientific way of saying that there are traces of human poop in their water. For a reference, many recreational lakes or swimming areas in the US would get shut down for anything over 200 CUs per 100ml. The folks in El Porvenir are drinking water that we wouldn't even be allowed to swim in.
At this point, the community has it's CAPS. SuNica's Water Project Coordinator, Mario Moraga is charged with guiding them as gently as possible. Important Point: Mario is not a Water Project guru, but rather a sociologist. He's a people guru. We don't feel like having the technological expertise is something we need to focus on. There are plenty of local outfits that can be hired to physically execute a water project. The more of this we can hire out, the better for Nicaragua’s economy. SuNica wants to be good at is the social front-end of the project because we believe that this IS the key to sustainability. If the CAPS believes in their heart that they are carrying this thing out and that the project is in fact THEIRS, that is what is going to provide the community buy-in that equals a mentality where THEY will own and fix problems once we step away.
Sustainability is the buzz word that we're getting at here.
A community ready
We've reached the point now where the community is stoked about this project. The CAPS has pitched the idea to the community that they would pay for 10% of the project and that the men of the town would provide all of the labor necessary. They're in the process of getting the system designed and it's getting close to SuNica having to do it's part, which is to raise the 90% to make it happen.
This fundraising campaign is going to have 4 Phases:
1. The Drilling Phase
2. The Pump Phase
3. The Tank Phase
4. The Pipeworks / Distribution Phase:
Total project cost: $52k (current estimate)
Our ask to you is:
Do you have a database of emails and would you consider promoting this (ie: at least at the outset of each of the 4 Phases of the campaign) to all or a certain segment of your followers? This is probably going to be a 4 week campaign, so we're looking to reach out to the same people once a week for 4 weeks.
Target date for the launch is October 14th, 2014.