Water For People

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Ecuador is bordered by Colombia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean. The majority of people are indigenous Amerindian and mestizos (a mixture of indigenous Amerindian and European). While Ecuadorians were once heavily concentrated in the mountainous central highland region, the population today is divided about equally between that area and the coastal lowlands, with the urban population steadily growing. The Ecuadorian economy is largely based on the export of petroleum, manufacturing for the domestic market, and agricultural production.

According to the most recent Joint Monitoring Program Report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, 92% of people in Ecuador have access to improved water sources and 93% have improved sanitation facilities. While these numbers seem impressive, they do not provide an accurate picture of water and sanitation access in the country. Although many improved systems exist, only 13% are considered sustainable. Especially in rural and peri-urban areas, water and sanitation services struggle to meet the growing demand of communities and are often below government standards for quality and/or quantity.

In 2008, Water For People’s Board of Directors decided to expand programming into Ecuador. At the time, Water For People had been providing support to a nongovernmental organization (NGO) implementing water and sanitation projects in Ecuador, but had no staff or office presence. In 2010, two years after Water For People began the process to obtain legal status as an NGO, Water For People–Ecuador was officially granted its registration and began operations.


Rural access to improved water:
Rural access to improved sanitation:
Per capita income:
Life expectancy (M/F):
Under-five mortality rate:
7/1,000 live births

Source: World Health Organization


Water For People–Ecuador is in the process of identifying the regions where it will target its efforts. In 2012, it narrowed down the regions where it will likely begin programming to two districts: Echeandía, a district in the province of Bolívar, and Cuenca, a district in the province of Azuay. Final decisions on this will be made in 2013 based on analysis of a market study completed in 2012. Using Akvo FLOW, Water For People–Ecuador plans to complete a baseline assessment of the district where it plans to start programming at the beginning of fiscal year 2014 (October 2013) to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the current water and sanitation situation to inform programming decisions.


Lasting water and sanitation solutions can only be achieved when key players—the private sector, civil society, and local government—are strengthened and supported. With this in mind, Water For People–Ecuador is dedicated to building relationships with local governments, nongovernment organizations, and other key sector actors. Among the key relationships that Water For People–Ecuador has developed to this point are with the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Education, the National Secretariat of Water (SENAGUA), the municipal and provincial governments of regions being considered for programming, UN-Habitat, Water and Sanitation Management Boards (JAAPs), and the well-respected utility of Cuenca (ETAPA).

Current Work

Water For People–Ecuador will decide in which districts to start programming. It is likely that this will be Echeandía in the province of Bolívar for programming, with the possibility of Sanitation as a Business or other complementary programming in Cuenca in the province of Azuay. Depending on the market analysis and budget permitting, Water For People–Ecuador may also begin implementing its first sustainable sanitation projects at a small scale this year.


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