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.