Standing at just over five feet tall, Luisa Barahona is a petite tour de force. As the President of El Negrito’s Water Board Association in Honduras, she is on a quest to make sure Everyone across the municipality has access to safe water Forever. Over the past six years we’ve watched Doña Luisa’s influence spread from her neighbors and friends to communities across the region.
When she first started as the secretary of the Gonzalo Maldonado Water Committee, Doña Luisa convinced households in her community to install water meters and establish a system where households only pay for the water they use, a model that now helps the community fix and maintain their water system.
“The meters are like teachers,” she says. “They teach the community how to take care of their water system.”
As the water board’s president she introduced sanitation loans (a first for Honduras) to help 16 families in the Las Crucitas community build pour-flush toilets. The loans, which the board distributes to the committees, are paid back through the user’s monthly bills.
“I do what I can to support my community,” Doña Luisa explains. “I give my time. I don’t like to say no. I feel happy helping people.”