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Across the region, homes, schools and health clinics have since been reconstructed, yet access to safe drinking water and toilets continues to remain out of reach for many of those hit by the category five hurricane [Hurricane Felix].Regional Representative, Latin America and Caribbean (LAC)
WaterAid announced today that construction is set to begin on the first of 56 household rainwater collection systems that will vastly improve the quality of life for families living in extreme poverty in a village in the remote Caribbean region of Nicaragua.
The community of Kwakwil was virtually wiped out by Hurricane Felix in 2007,” remarked WaterAid Nicaragua Country Manager, Joshua Briemberg. “Across the region, homes, schools and health clinics have since been reconstructed, yet access to safe drinking water and toilets continues to remain out of reach for many of those hit by the category five hurricane”.
WaterAid has teamed up with the Catalan Development Cooperation Fund (Fons Català), the Municipal Government of Puerto Cabezas, the Indigenous Territorial Government and the Kwakwil village chief to address these needs by rolling out a new initiative that will help families in one of Nicaragua’s poorest, most marginalized areas lead healthier, more dignified lives—starting by collecting rainwater.
“The community has really rallied around the idea of using rainwater collection systems as an easy, cost-effective way of accessing water that is safe to drink, close to home and unlikely to cause water-related illnesses,” said Briemberg.
“The generous support provided by Fons Català not only gives women and girls their time back, it also opens up new skilled employment opportunities to the 16 villagers, both men and women, who are being specifically trained in the construction and maintenance of these rainwater catchment systems”.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean. While the country has abundant sources of freshwater, little of it is safe to drink or readily accessible. In both rural and urban areas of Puerto Cabezas , as much as 80% of the population lives without access to clean drinking water. Rainwater can provide some of the cleanest naturally occurring water anywhere. When collected in specially designed catchment tanks, and especially when treated using simple clay pot filters, rainwater provides a safe and steady supply of drinking water close to homes, schools and health clinics.
“Clean water is critical to ending poverty, but so, too, is giving people the skills and know-how they need to be able to meet their own needs,” notes Briemberg. “By training local residents to build and maintain simple systems for catching and purifying rainwater themselves, we can be sure that this is an initiative that will have a big impact on the Kwakwil community for many years to come”.