By Andreina Febres, Project Manager – Clorox Safe Water Project
My 10th visit to Peru on behalf of the Clorox Safe Water Project will be the first of its kind.
Over the last 5 years, I’ve visited our 21 communities in Northern Peru several times and provided support to our local NGO, Prisma, which works on the ground year-round with each Safe Water Project community.
Through educational sessions, we’ve taught people the importance of water disinfection, the correct use of our bleach dispensers and the proper way to store bleach and water. We’ve stressed the importance of using cleaned and disinfected containers to carry safe water. We’ve performed water tests in all communities and taught residents how to measure residual chlorine so they can know when they need to treat the water they receive from water trucks.
We’ve met with local government authorities to voice these communities’ needs. And we’ve helped each community form a water committee so it has a formal process for engaging municipal leaders around water issues.
Our ultimate goal has always been to empower each community to continue the Safe Water project on its own. We’ve laid essential groundwork to ensure the ongoing success and sustainability of the Clorox Safe Water Project.
And now, on my 10th visit to Northern Peru, I will see five of our communities graduate.
What does it mean for a Safe Water Project community to graduate?
When we embarked on the Safe Water Project journey in 2012, we not only committed to deliver bleach to each community, but to share the tools and information they needed to improve their quality of life and be able to take care of their loved ones.
The communities now graduating are prepared to continue the project on their own, working directly with municipal leaders. We’ve seen community members grow into leadership roles, training other families on how to use the dispensers, clean their containers, the importance of disinfection and more. We’ve given them tools to share with future generations so they can continue to improve their living conditions and overall health.
I am so proud to have given hundreds of families access to Safe Water and the tools they need to continue to make decisions that support their families’ health every day. The relationships I’ve created with many of these families have changed my life in profound ways.
After graduation, The Clorox Company will continue to deliver bleach to each Safe Water Project community with the hope that the local water distribution system will improve and safe, piped water replaces the need for bleach dispensers in the area. And we plan to check in with them periodically, to make sure all is still going well. But we believe they are now ready to take charge of their water disinfection needs and more.
On Water World Day, Clorox celebrates the tremendous impact we’ve had on hundreds of families in Northern Peru. We’ve committed our time and passion to improve people’s health and lives.
And our work is not yet done. There are more communities that need continued support and additional training to reach their own graduations. Clorox is also exploring opportunities to bring our bleach technology to a good use in other parts of the world.