• Written by Jo Pratt
    5 March 2014

Water For People is an international organisation headquartered in the US with operations in India, Africa (Rwanda, Malawi and Uganda) and Latin America (Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador). It helps people improve their quality of life by developing locally sustainable drinking water resources, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education programmes. 

Water For People’s work in northern Peru is supervised by the Water For People-Peru office, located in Trujillo (see team members pictured above). The South America Regional Office, located in Arequipa, facilitates sustainable sanitation programming in southern Peru in Majes and peri-urban Arequipa.

Above (left to right): Gary Atencio, Ana María Esparza, Daniela Navarro y Miguel Rentería of Water For People-Peru, in the city of Cascas, Peru, 30 January 2014. Photo by Jhordan Avalos.

What and where?
Water For People’s approach is to examine entire districts and regions rather than purely households and villages and to build programmes that last. To this end, it created FLOW in 2010 to improve the monitoring of water and sanitation infrastructure and thereby greatly reduce failure. In 2012 we joined forces and Akvo took over FLOW’s ongoing development and support. Water For People continues to be a leading user of Akvo FLOW, assisting in the testing and deployment of the latest versions in its programmes. 

Water For People’s Everyone Forever initiative is a programme to provide water and sanitation to everyone in targeted districts and municipalities, forever. That means these districts and communities never again need another international water agency to address their water challenges. It also provides a model for greater replication, leading to a push for national full water and sanitation coverage. Akvo FLOW helps Water For People understand where things are in terms of water and sanitation coverage, as well as the likelihood for that coverage to be sustained over time.

With a population of over 29 million, Peru is the fourth most populous country in South America. Although the poverty rate has declined greatly over the past decade, thanks largely to rapid economic growth, it is estimated that 28% of Peruvians currently live in poverty and 5% live in extreme poverty. In rural areas, only two thirds of people have access to improved water sources, compared to 91% in urban areas. Sanitation is worse: only 38% of rural residents have access to improved sanitation facilities versus 81% of urban residents.

Water For People began its programme in Peru in 2008, selecting three rural municipalities: Cascas and Tumbaden in northern Peru and Majes in the south. Water For People–Peru later incorporated sustainable sanitation work in peri-urban Arequipa. Currently Everyone Forever programming is taking place in two districts: Cascas, in the Region of La Libertad, and (since 2013) Asunción in the Region of Cajamarca. 

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Above: Akvo FLOW map of water points mapped by Water For People-Peru with place names and overlay map of Peru added showing location of Cascas where the photo shoot took place. (Click on the map to view Water For People’s interactive Akvo FLOW map for all countries.)

In Cascas, Water For People-Peru works closely with the municipal government to complete water systems and build the capacity of water committees in four communities. Since work began here in 2011, great progress has been made, including convincing the municipal government to hire a dedicated water and sanitation engineer. In schools, Water For People-Peru is helping to propagate a water, sanitation, hygiene and water resources management curriculum with plans to scale this programme to schools in the entire district.

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Above (left to right): engineer Angel Zárate in discussion with Daniela Navarro of Water For People-Peru, Cascas, Peru, 30 January 2014. Photo by Jhordan Avalos
Below (left to right): Gary Atencio, Ana María Esparza, Daniela Navarro y Miguel Rentería of Water For People-Peru, Comunidad de Pampa Larga, Peru, 30 January 2014. Photo by Jhordan Avalos.

In 2013 Water For People-Peru signed an agreement with the Regional Government of Cajamarca as well as the district government of Asuncion to work towards reaching Everyone Forever status in this district and mapped the area using Akvo-FLOW. Working with its local partners, it will initiate its first community water project and bring hygiene education to two schools. In a campaign to build demand for toilets, Water For People–Peru is also working with households to increase hygiene awareness, with local finance institutions to make loans available for toilets and with private sector partners to design sanitation options that are affordable and attractive to the rural poor.

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Jo Pratt is communications manager at Akvo, based in the UK.

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