According to the most recent Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) Report by UNICEF and WHO, 95% of people in Ecuador have access to improved water sources and 84% have improved sanitation facilities. While these numbers seem impressive, they do not provide an accurate picture of water and sanitation access in the country. Though many improved systems exist, several of them are old and in partial or complete failure. 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. Water For People–Ecuador plans to address these issues and identify ways to establish sustainable water and sanitation systems.
Water For People in Ecuador
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 could begin operating. A Country Director was hired in 2011 and has since begun identifying the geographical regions and institutional partnerships that will define Water For People–Ecuador’s work in the coming years.
Water For People–Ecuador is still in the process of identifying the regions where it will target its efforts. Once regions are identified in collaboration with the government and local partners, Water For People–Ecuador will complete a FLOW baseline assessment to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the water and sanitation situation, which will inform its programming decisions. As in our other country programs, Water For People–Ecuador will work with key stakeholders to reach everyone—every family, every clinic, every school—in the regions it targets.
Water For People believes long-lasting water and sanitation solutions can be achieved when key local role-players—the local private sector, civil society, and local government—are supported in a way which enables them to understand and act upon their areas of responsibility and support community water supply and sanitation development. As such, Water For People-Ecuador is in the process of meeting important sector actors to learn what partnership opportunities exist. By the end of the year, Water For People–Ecuador plans to have established strategic relationships with key stakeholders.
Work in 2012
With a Country Director on board, Water For People–Ecuador is preparing a situational diagnosis of the water and sanitation sector in Ecuador and approaching other organizations in the sector to better understand their roles and programmatic approaches. This will help Water For People–Ecuador determine potential partnerships, its own role within the sector, and where the greatest water and sanitation needs exist. Based on these findings, Water For People–Ecuador will develop an operational plan and country strategy to inform its future programming. In addition, Water For People-Ecuador sees great potential for FLOW and has plans to advocate for its use at both the local and national levels.