In the village of El Bálsamo, Nicaragua, in December, community members held a celebration to inaugurate their new solar-powered clean water pump and distribution system. Villagers invited local government representatives, peers from neighboring villages and staff from Vibrant Village partner nonprofits, Green Empowerment and Asofenix.
The project is the culmination of two years of work, planning, training and then conducting community-led groups to complete the formidable task of bringing clean water to the 56 households in the small mountain village.
The venture is part of a three-year partnership between El Bálsamo, Nicaraguan nonprofit, Asofenix, and Portland-based Green Empowerment. Vibrant Village Foundation finances the program with a $95,000 grant, which, in addition to the clean-water system, includes fuel-efficient cook-stoves, reforestation actions, latrine construction and home garden trainings.
Completed with community-donated labor from all 56 families, the water project includes the pump, storage tower, pipes, taps and meters to each household in the community. Families pay about forty cents a month to go towards maintenance and a small stipend for the professionally trained mechanic.
“This project has been a great benefit to the community, especially women,” Eusebia Campos, a local leader, at a recent community assembly. “Before we were the ones hauling water and firewood, and how we don’t have to. Now we have patio gardens to grow onions, tomatoes, peppers. We eat better and save money. Hygiene and health has improved for our families. As a woman in this community, I feel very blessed by this project.”