Fuentes de Vida Community Water Project

by FundaciĆ³n Grupo Puntacana
Vetted

The Grupo Puntacana Foundation, along with its project partners in the Fuentes de Vida coalition, received a third party's final report to identify potential challenges as well as positive opportunities for the construction of the potable water system and continued management of the waste water treatment system that is already in operation. Based off of the results of this report, the FDV Coalition decided to hire Agroforsa, SRL, a specialized organization dedicated to imparting the necessary training and capacity building with the community leaders and residents so that they can effectively manage, maintain and reinforce the potable and waste water treatment systems.

 Agroforsa, SRL, is a consulting firm that helps people and institutions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to sustainably manage their country's watersheds and other natural resources to enhance well-being and economic development. Agroforsa brings relevant expertise and experience in citizen participation, water resources management, watershed management, small-scale agro-enterprise initiatives, among other related disciplines.

Previously, Agroforsa implemented a Community Social Action Plan (Plan de Gestion Social Comunitario, PGSC) for the San Juan Province in the Dominican Republic (in partnership with MUDE & Alianza ONG), for the Dominican Government’s Department of Water & Sewers ("INAPA" - Instituto de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado). The Plan included a baseline study of the communities in the San Juan area; the formation of local water comities ("ASOCAR" - Asociación Comunitarios de Aqueductos Rurales, in Spanish); establishing the payment, collection and management of regular fees so their systems may become self-sustaining; training in health and sanitation practices; mitigating risks management; maintenance and operation in the community and ASOCAR level; and gender issues in community water systems. Agroforsa also strengthened 15 community's organizational structures that are dependent on INAPA’S water supply. Where sewer systems were constructed in three urban areas, Agroforsa also gave community workshops on proper care and use of their sewer systems.

In the Fuentes de Vida project, Agroforsa will form a local legally established water comity (ASOCAR) in Domingo Maiz so that members can administer their own water and sewer systems by paying tariffs, understanding the importance of water management, and maintaining the water and sewer system using the collected funds. The FDV Coaltion expects to see substantial improvements in the administration of the sewer system and to have a fully operating water comity before begginig construction of the potable water system in Domingo Maiz. FDV hopes to see behavior changes in the proper use of water, cleanliness, and hygiene. By legalizing the water comity FDV hopes to empower the community to solve their own water and sanitation issues which will hopefully transcend into proper solid waste management practices in the future.

 Thus far, Agroforsa's initial efforts have shown promising results. The President of the Domingo Maiz Neighborhood Association (“Junta de Vecinos”) was in attendance and helped facilitate key transitions of leadership/authorities to the ASOCAR. Most importantly, new leaders are emerging within the community and asserting themselves in the stewardship of the community's sanitation systems. Although its a new concept for the community of Domingo Maiz, the community members seem to be effectively adopting the protocols and procedures of the ASOCAR.

On behalf of the Fuentes de Vida Coalition we would like to sincerely thank all of you who have donated to the project to date. Moving forward we hope we can count on your continued support for this pioneering project and hope you share this Global Giving Page with anyone you think may be interested in learning about this project. 

Mr. Jake Kheel receiving the Sur Futuro award
Mr. Jake Kheel receiving the Sur Futuro award

The Puntacana Ecological Foundation and the Fuentes de Vida coalition have hired a community development consultant to analize the best method for community engagement for the management of the potable water system. The consultant has submitted a summary report and our project partners are reviewing various proposals to implement the reports findings.

In November, the Sur Futuro foundation in the Dominican Republic awarded the Ecological Foundation a prize for the Fuentes de Vida project. The award recognized five total projects that contribute to water conservation, the preservation of their quality and the rational use through reforestation, forestry, sustainable agricultural practices, forest conservation and education activities and awareness on the efficient management of the water.

During the last month the Fuentes de Vida team has submitted several grant proposals to fund educational awareness programs and for the potable water system. The potable water phase of the Fuentes de Vida project involves several ambitious objectives both in terms of community organization as well as system functionality. As for this Global Giving page we ask that any and all potential donors continue to consider this project for their donations as we still need your help in raising the necessary funds for the potable water.

Constructed wetland in Domingo Maiz
Constructed wetland in Domingo Maiz

Almost a year and a half after its completion, the Fuentes de Vida constructed wetlands treatment system is successfully treating the waste water from the community of Domingo Maiz. Water purification rates continue to improve as bacteria have had an extended period to grow on the rocks and roots in the treatment system. The Puntacana Ecological Foundation along with their partners from the Fuentes de Vida Coalition continue to supervise the performance of the system in coordination with the communities’ leaders.

During the month of October, 2015, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) conducted a medical mission in Domingo Maiz in collaboration with Fuentes de Vida leaders. Their assessment collected valuable public health data on a wide range of health issues currently affecting the community of Domingo Maiz. This information will serve to inform the community programs and aid in tailoring the educational campaigns to specific communal practices and resulting physical ailments.

In total, VCOM brought 36 Dominican and North American physicians from a variety of medical disciplines. Most data collected seemed to emphasize high rates of dermatological ailments, gastrointestinal infections, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

During last three month the Fuentes de Vida has submitted several proposals to nationally sponsored grants, seeking further investment in the FDV project to extend the educational awareness programs, and extend the infrastructure to other communities.

The Puntacana Ecological Foundation along with its project partners in the Fuentes de Vida coalition has received a formal report from a third party consultant to identify potential areas to better ensure a smooth operation/adoption once construction of the potable water system is complete.

In closing, on behalf of the Puntacana Ecological Foundation and the rest of the Fuentes de Vida Coalition we would like to thank all of you who have donated to the project to date. Moving forward we hope we can count on your continued support for this pioneering project and hope you share this Global Giving Page with anyone you think may be interested in learning about this project.

July 2015 Progress Report: One year out and counting!

System update:

The Fuentes de Vida coalition is pleased to announce that over one year after the completion of the Domingo Maiz waste water treatment system, the constructed wetlands is working great. We knew the first year would be a challenge as the community continued to assume more operational control of the system, the bacteria growing the rocks and plants roots continued to propogate (and therefore sanitize the water more effectively), the macrofita plants grew, and endless troubleshooting.

In short, the Constructed Wetlands as an effective wastewater treatment system has passed its initial test, proving resilient and effective in treating the community’s wastewater. Grupo Puntacana continues to regularly test the treated water for key contamination indicators and work with the community members assigned to oversee the constructed wetlands. As the municipality’s first and only public wastewater treatment system the Fuentes de Vida project continues to serve as a model for future water projects in the area.

Community Engagement:

July 4th - 7th, Athletes from Virginia Tech University carried out a 5 days sports camp at the Puntacana Ecological Foundation for youth from the worker community of Veron. In total 50 kids from Domingo Maíz attended the camp, where they also participated in  an educational program sponsored by Deportes Para la Vida (“Sports for Life”), a local Dominican NGO dedicated to educating kids about HIV/AIDS prevention).

If you are regular follower of the Fuentes de Vida project then you already know that education is a core component of project’s mission. Sanitation and hygiene or just part of the educational scope of the initiative, aside from water related concerns, HIV/AIDS, bullying, women’s rights and environmental projects all are given particular emphasis and the Deportes para la Vida program is a particularly well received annual program by the community both the youths and the parents of Domingo Maiz.

Looking Ahead:

During the first half of July 2015, the Fuentes de Vida Coalition hired a community research expert to carry out an assessment in Domingo Maiz. This third party audit will be completed in the next month and will give a thorough assessment of the community’s adoption of the water system thus far. Armed with this information the Fuentes de Vida Coalition will then assess the possibility of carrying out Phase II of the Domingo Maiz project (installing a potable water system) or continuing to work with the community in the areas they are still lacking before making any further significant infrastructural investment into the community.

This stepwise approach ensures that we invest your generous donations wisely and allocate funds where they are needed most. That being said your continued support is still very much needed and so we ask that you please continue to donate to this project as the real work is only just beginning!

Fuentes de Vida wastewater treatment system
Fuentes de Vida wastewater treatment system

First Global Giving Report of 2015!

While maybe not as exciting as the heady construction phases of 2014, this is now the true test of the Fuentes de Vida wastewater treatment system: the test of time.

Results thus far?

The wetlands treatment system is holding up very well. When normal maintenacne issues occur, the system still operates at a high level – thanks to the water being gravitationally fed and the rocks/plants working to naturally purify the water, the system is proving to be very hardy.

No GlobalGiving report for FDV would be complete without mentioning our project partners Positive Legacy. Once again, on January 26th, concert-goers and volunteers from the Positive Legacy volunteered for a day of service in Domingo Maiz. The day’s service project was to continue painting the mural behind the wetlands system with educational murals, educational sporting activities through Deportes Para la Vida (“Sports for Life”, a local Dominican NGO dedicated to educating kids about HIV/AIDS prevention) and a community wide clean up – all done in typical Positive Legacy fashion; with a community celebration with local musicians playing typical music from the Dominican Republic. The community of Domingo Maiz showed their support by turning out in force with the youth of the community making up the majority of the workforce.

What’s next for Fuentes de Vida?

Moving forward the Ecological Foundation along with its project partners in the Fuentes de Vida coalition will work with the neighborhood association of Domingo Maiz to ensure the wastewater treatment system is operating correctly while simultaneously beginning preparations for the implementation of the potable water system in the community (Phase 2 of Fuentes de Vida). Before making the necessary investment in additional major public works project the neighborhood association of Domingo Maiz must finalize the formation of a water committee in charge of overseeing the maintenance and operation of the water systems – before beginning construction on the potable water system. The Puntacana Ecological Foundation is helping to consult and assist the neighborhood association throughout these organizational processes to better ensure a smooth operation/adoption once construction of the potable water system is complete. We will continue to keep all of you Global Giving Givers up to speed as things continue to advance - it may not be the most exciting thing to hear about incremental progress with community organization and/or a slow hand over of system maintenance to local plumbers but it’s the most important part and we have only just begun. We need your support more than ever.

Mural painting during service day
Mural painting during service day
 

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Organization Information

FundaciĆ³n Grupo Puntacana

Location: Santo Domingo, no applicable - Dominican Republic
Website: http:/​/​puntacana.org/​
Project Leader:
Jacob Kheel
Environmental Director
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
$1,080 raised of $86,200 goal
 
13 donations
$85,120 to go
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