According to the most recent Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) Report by UNICEF and WHO, 85% of people in Nicaragua have access to improved water sources and 52% have improved sanitation facilities. However, there is a large disparity between rural and urban areas, and in rural areas only 68% of people have access to safe drinking water and 37% have improved sanitation. Based on this need, Water For People–Nicaragua is focusing its efforts on rural and remote communities, schools, and health clinics.
In 2008, Water For People’s Board of Directors voted to expand programming into Nicaragua. Building on successful programs in neighboring Honduras, Water For People is working in alliance with the nongovernmental organization (NGO) El Porvenir in the municipality of Wiwilí. In 2010, Water For People received legal status as an NGO in Nicaragua and in 2011 hired a country director and staff to lead the program. Water for People-Nicaragua is now developing local partnerships and in addition to Wiwili, concentrating its efforts in the municipalities of San Rafael del Norte and La Concordia.
Everyone Forever in Nicaragua
Everyone Forever is a unique programmatic effort to provide water and sanitation to Everyone in targeted districts and municipalities, Forever. It means these districts and communities never again need another international water agency to address their water challenges. And it provides a model for greater replication, leading to a push for full water and sanitation coverage. Water For People-Nicaragua is focusing its Everyone Forever programming in the mostly rural municipalities of San Rafael del Norte and La Concordia.
Water For People–Nicaragua has established programming in the region of Wiwilí and has expanded programming into two additional municipalities in the department of Jinotega: San Rafael del Norte and La Concordia. Wiwilí is one of the largest municipalities in Nicaragua, covering approximately 2,444 square kilometers, and is home to about 75,000 residents. The Coco River flows through much of the municipality and water coverage is estimated at approximately 30%.
Also in north-central Nicaragua, the municipalities of San Rafael del Norte and La Concordia are home to mostly rural residents who make a living off of subsistence agriculture, the sale of cash crops, and raising livestock. San Rafael del Norte has a population of about 18,000, while La Concordia is home to almost 6,500. Though a majority of communities in these municipalities have improved water systems, most of the systems do not provide sufficient water to meet the daily needs of the people.
Water For People believes long-lasting water and sanitation solutions can be achieved when key local role-players—the private sector, civil society, and local government—are supported in a way that enables them to understand and act upon their areas of responsibility and to support community water supply and sanitation development. Water For People convenes, partners, and builds the skills of the stakeholders such as: the Municipality of Wiwilí, San Rafael del Norte, and La Concordia, the Ministry of Education, and various Nongovernmental Organizations.
Work in 2012
In 2012, Water For People–Nicaragua is continuing to work together with El Porvenir in the construction of a Gravity-fed Mini Aqueduct (MAG) system that will supply drinking water to six communities in Wiwilí. The households in these communities will also receive access to sanitation facilities and hygiene education. This project began in 2011 and is set to finish by the end of 2012.
In the municipalities of San Rafael del Norte and La Concordia, Water For People-Nicaragua is building its programming and partnerships around Everyone Forever. In 2012, five communities will receive improved access to safe drinking water and three schools will benefit from improved sanitation and hand-washing facilities. In addition, sanitation programming will take place in 11 communities across the municipalities. Significant time will also be devoted to hygiene education as well as training residents to operate, maintain, finance, and repair their water systems.