Program Updates

Community Collaboration Impacted by Many Factors

Posted Dec 9, 2013

After having implemented two CLTS (Community Led Total Sanitation) workshops with the communities in Kasiche I, Kasiche II, La Parcela and Wayúumana; enthusiasm and collaboration from the communities has slowed down considerably. The last two meetings Aguayuda planned with the community leaders, traditional authorities and committees (water and health education) had just a handful of people in attendance.

There are many reasons for the lack of collaboration.

Delay in the well:
The biggest factor for the lack of support by the communities is the major delay in the well. The major component of the “Ideas for Change” project is to construct a new 150m well where a solar pump, flexible tank and water station will be installed. The well is supposed to be constructed by Corpoguajira, a local government entity. However, there have been countless delays. The project was supposed to begin in January of 2013. As of December, 2013 it is still not clear when the construction of the well will begin. This delay is creating frustration and a lack of hope by the communities. They are starting to worry that the well will not be constructed. This is a precarious moment in the project. Unfortunately, Aguayuda has little control over the situation. We need to concentrate on our responsibilities, but sadly this delay is affecting the effectiveness of our components to the project too.

Local government program:
The local government also has a program with many of the families in the four communities where they provide money for food. There is no fixed schedule to when the government comes and sometimes they coincide with our meetings. No matter how interesting our meetings are; if there is an entity providing money, they will win every time.

Illness:
When people become ill, they have to go to the nearest clinic which is 20 minutes by car. Depending on the severity of the illness, this can take up to three days. If the ill person happens to be a leader, it is possible that the community is without a leader for a few days. Therefore, important information like times of meetings is not shared with the community. Also if the community leader is not present, the community members will normally not attend the meetings.

Lack of communication between leaders and community:
The lack of communication between the leaders and community members is one of the biggest factors of why people do not attend the meetings. Aguayuda arranges the meetings with the various community leaders and committees; however, the purpose of the meetings, location and time is often not shared with the other members of the communities.


Holidays:
In December, there are many holidays including cultural events that take place, which makes scheduling a meeting more challenging. Also, when there is a holiday, sadly it is common that many of the adults become inebriated, which affects their productivity the next day.

Potential solutions:
A potential solution for the lack of communication between the community leaders and community is to post the latest meeting information at a local meeting point. Though the four communities are dispersed, we are working on creating a small bulletin board where information can be posted on a weekly basis. The location most commonly used by all four communities is the windmill in Wayuumana.

Another potential solution is to focus on helping the people who regularly attend the meetings. Therefore, with the important topic of constructing the housing for the composting latrines, Aguayuda is delivering the materials to the people who attended the meetings first.

Collaboration by the communities is essential to having a sustainable WASH project. However, it is also one of the biggest challenges due to the many factors listed above.

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