In many parts of the world, climate change is just another contentious political debate playing out between political parties. But for the people of Salales and many other communities whose livelihood and daily lives are deeply impacted by its disruption of normal weather patterns, it is a sad and pressing reality. With this winter rainy season shaping up to be as dry as the last two drought-plagued years in Nicaragua, solutions to address water scarcity are community priorities for those living in Salales and elsewhere. Fortunately for Salales, there is some relief in sight thanks to a coalition of Rotary Clubs led by Victor-Farmington’s local Club.
Victor-Farmington Rotary has previously worked in the municipality of El Sauce, financing the solar panels in Ocotal that have helped transform the lives of its community members. Shortly after its completion in 2013, visiting Rotarian Karen Parkhurst was inspired by the sight of a solar panel equipped well to explore the potential for a water project in the area. A meeting with Water Commissioner Yuri Garcia produced two potential sites, the larger of which was Salales. And thus the Rotary Water Project was born!
The financing of the project is a collaboration of 14 U.S. Rotary Clubs and another from Istanbul, Turkey with additional money coming from outside donations and a Rotary Foundation grant. In total almost $52,000 USD was raised that will go towards the pump, chlorinator, holding tank, and other materials including piping necessary to complete the project. In order to manage the project, Rotary has contracted Enlace Project to monitor the project locally and guide it. We are proud to once again be partnering with Rotary on a project aimed at improving the lives of the people of Nicaragua.
Last Tuesday, we visited the community as the project began to get underway. A team of almost 40 volunteers, armed with shovels, picks, and machetes greeted us warmly and were eager to begin the digging of trenches to accommodate new pipelines, despite the sun. Meanwhile, other members of the team continued to take measurements for future piping throughout the community. During a break in activity community members listened intently as project coordinators discussed the importance of the project, its funding, and the role the community was being asked to play. Such communication is a hallmark of how Enlace Project works with communities and is vital to building a partnership instead of a donor-recipient relationship.
In Salales the project represents an important step toward stability amid the instability of climate change. The new system will reduce the scarcity of water that has brought so much uncertainty at times to the community and ensure its safety via chlorination. Basic activities like cooking and cleaning will be made far easier as a result. Quite simply, the water project represents a brighter future for Salales.
Enlace Project will continue to provide updates here and on Facebook.