Children celebrate with rainwater system costumes
Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,
With our first update of the new year, we are thrilled to share with you our single most significant accomplishment to date: the successful conclusion of our “Agua y Salud” (Water & Health) project. This 3-year endeavor, largely funded by the Río Arronte Foundation, was the most ambitious in our history. Despite the support from the Foundation, every dollar invested in this project needed to be matched. So, it simply would not have been possible, for so many reasons, without the support of our incredible community of individual donors, like all of you here at GlobalGiving.
Together, with our core community and organizational partners – including INANA, A.C., CUVAPAS, SECOPA, and the San Cayetano Community Center – we've persistently expanded access to clean water through rainwater harvesting, sanitation, and water filtration solutions for those most affected by our region's water crisis. Over the course of three years in our collaborative project, "Agua y Salud,” we have collectively worked across a total of 76 communities – constructing an astounding 780 large-scale Rainwater Harvesting Systems, which can produce more than 290 million liters of clean water storage over their lifetime.
The profound trust vested in Caminos and our collaborators by the Río Arronte Foundation for executing this pivotal project have been both an immense honor and a massive responsibility. Recognizing the urgent need for serious investments in our region, this prestigious Foundation's commitment sparked additional support among other organizations and government agencies dedicated to addressing the water crisis in our region. For Caminos, this support meant stepping up to a new level in order to expand clean water access to thousands; it has also translated into a substantial increase in our impact, elevating our organization in terms of visibility within Mexico's environmental community and beyond.
The original goal of the project was aimed at facilitating access to clean water in just 30 communities within the Upper Laja River Basin who were facing severe groundwater contamination and scarcity. However, utilizing the financial commitment of the Río Arronte Foundation, we were able to leverage support from other actors like the Municipal Government of San Diego de la Unión, Rotoplas, several smaller foundations, and individual donors – like those in GlobalGiving – to provide additional support and expand the scope of the project. In fact, through this coalition of collaborators, we were able to more than double the number of rainwater harvesting system installations and communities we worked in over the course of the project.
The project's achievements can be summarized as follows:
- A 3-year process fortified the working alliance between Inana, A.C. and Caminos de Agua, which allowed us to engage with, and secure additional commitment from, new actors from the private, governmental, and social sectors.
- Expanded clean water access to more than double the initially committed communities with 37 dry toilets, 780 Rainwater Harvesting Systems, and an equal number of ceramic water filters, significantly increasing access to safe drinking water.
- Monitored 22 wells in collaboration with grassroots organizations CUVAPAS and SECOPA to update our understanding of regional water quality while developing a new, interactive “Educational Water Monitoring” Program.
- Held quarterly regional workshops in our “Water Learning Communities” Program that brought together dozens of actors from communities and organizations throughout our watershed, and from around the country, to foster skills, collective identity, organizational strengthening, and community leadership.
- Strengthened grassroots organizations for sustained social impact, acknowledging the clear need for generational succession.
- Implemented a massive internal Monitoring and Evaluation Program of our work, visiting more than 500 families to measure the impact of our intervention.
- Recieved an external evaluation of this project with experts and observers from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
This project underscored the extensive collaborative effort that dozens of rural communities, grassroots partners, other NGOs, institutions, government, and even the private sector can have on water security in a region facing serious water quality and scarcity challenges. Over three years of unwavering dedication through extensive meetings, community gatherings, workshops, and longer technical trainings, this coalition of actors has made a significant imprint on our shared region – the Alto Río Laja Watershed.
But our work is far from complete with the close of the “Agua y Salud” Project.
Today, after a nearly 6-month extensive and meticulous review process, we are thrilled to announce the approval of an extension of our collaborative partnership with the Río Arronte Foundation for a new phase from 2024-2026! Over the next three years, we plan to substantially amplify our influence and impact, greatly surpassing the achievements of our current efforts. The Río Arronte Foundation has more than doubled their commitment and allowed us to expand our scope to include a critical public health study and new technologies, like our Groundwater Treatment System. Through this new project, we will be increasing the work of our Rainwater Harvesting Program to build twice as many systems in the next three years. We are eager to update you on this ongoing journey of our Agua y Salud initiative, as it continues to foster a lasting and transformative impact in the months and years ahead. All of this work is made possible by a continuously growing community of collaborators who have proven we can work successfully together for the greater good.
With all that we’ve been able to do with the Río Arronte Foundation, and other institutional partners, the fact remains that they require a 1-1 match for every dollar they provide. That means that literally none of the work described above would have been possible without the dedication of our incredible network of donors, which includes all of you in GlobalGiving! So, on behalf of the entire Caminos de Agua Team, we sincerely thank you for believing in our mission and supporting our work.
With the new year, we have hit the ground running with our new project. We are organizing our teams, partners, and beneficiary communities and look forward to building new systems as soon as possible to take advantage of the upcoming rainy season. If you are interested in continuing to support this work, please consider a contribution today! Your donation, no matter the size, will make a significant difference.
We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for all you do and warmest wishes from the entire Caminos de Agua Team for the new year!
Women "branding" a new rainwater system
Caminos staff giving a technical workshop
A mother and her child in a water filter workshop
Testing a water filter in a monitoring/evaluation
Celebrating working together