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By Andreina Febres, Safe Water Project manager
I’m writing this post as I sit at the airport after another unforgettable visit to the rural communities our Safe Water Project serves in the Tambogrande District in Piura, Peru. What began as a pilot about three years ago and has since provided 3,000 individuals with access to safe water, is now taking the next step and expanding the program to serve 25,000 rural Peruvians in 2015.
We chose to expand the program after seeing just how effective and sustainable the bleach dispenser model has been. Placing the bleach dispensers next to the community water source has contributed significantly to a 60 percent adoption rate, and these three communities have reported a drop in incidents of intestinal illnesses.
Our expansion will be done in two waves. This latest trip to Peru was to inaugurate the project in 10 additional communities, which will serve about 10,000 more people. We’ll expand this to another 12,000 people by July 2015.
We’re focusing on communities in the rural area of Tambogrande where families live hours away from urban areas and don’t have access to safe water infrastructure. Here, the word is spreading about the Safe Water Project, and communities are very interested in taking part.
In addition to installing bleach dispensers and providing bleach supplies to each community, we also partner with PRISMA to provide educational sessions about the important role safe water and good health and hygiene practices play when it comes to their families’ health.
How can you help?
For every tweet between now and March 15, 2015, that includes #safewaterproject or #proyectoaguasegura, Clorox will donate $1 to the Safe Water Project, up to $20,000. Your tweet will provide safe water to one Peruvian for almost four months, so please help us spread the word.
I’ve been with the project since August 2013, and I didn’t know a job could be so rewarding. This was my third visit to the Peruvian communities we serve, and each time I have been reminded of how fortunate I am to live in a place where having safe water for my family is not an issue.
With each visit, I have tried to connect with people in these communities and talk with those who want to share a little bit of their life with me. Every time, I’ve been so touched by what I hear, and I wish I could help them more. The good news is that by teaching them about their health and their family’s health, showing them how they can treat their water and spreading the word beyond their rural communities, we really can begin to make a positive difference in their lives.