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Community Partners Lead Sustainability and Rainwater Harvesting Projects in Mexico

Community-led approaches to development—using methods that involve local people in selecting, planning and implementing water and sanitation programs where they perceive themselves as the owner of the project and its success—has been critical to improving water and sanitation in in our program areas in Mexico.

Indeed, In the second half of 2016, community partners in Mexico marked several accomplishments in their efforts to improve water and sanitation. The Hunger Project-Mexico supports community-driven projects such as the construction of eco-stoves and eco-toilets, sustainable housing and rainwater harvesting. A community-led approach has been critical to the success of the programs.

For example, the active and well-organized participation of community partners in the Southwestern state of Oaxaca, Mexico, has been a key factor in creating the vision of each community for self-reliance and sustainable development. A pilot project to construct four sustainable housing buildings, which were inaugurated on February and March 2017, and catalysts and local committees oversaw the installation of 30 new rainwater harvesting systems, impacting the lives of 120 individuals across 30 families.

Community partners were introduced to a new generation of rainwater harvesting systems in the latter half of 2016. These systems are easier to install and include filters and gutters that are adjusted to the roof of each house.

To learn how to install the new systems, community partners attended a workshop directed by Isla Urbana our technical partner since 2013. In another workshop directed by the cultural manager of The Chihuahua Institute of Culture, Marianela Castro, partners were asked to paint murals on water cisterns to capture their ideas and emotions relating to water. The creative workshop promoted exercising the right to water, and encouraged partners to appropriate the rainwater harvesting systems as their own.

By leading the installation of the project with the assistance of The Hunger Project-Mexico, community partners obtained a total appropriation of the process and techniques and developed leadership skills.

Our community partners’ achievements in Oaxaca show that mobilizing communities towards collective action and empowering them is central to the sustainability of development programs and interventions.

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