MEDLIFE works by partnering with local communities and listening to their needs. That’s how we became involved in the construction of our first-ever potable water project, which will provide a community of 400 people with safe access to clean water for years to come.
UniÃ³n Santa FÃ© is a settlement located high in the hills of Pamplona, in the outskirts of Lima, Peru. For several months, since January of 2012, MEDLIFE has been working with residents to construct staircases and a Wawa Wasi daycare center in their community. Yet as we visited the site and spoke to local leaders, it became clear that the school project alone would not be enough; the community was lacking the infrastructure to support it.
In response to these needs, MEDLIFE Director of Peru Carlos Benavides gathered community support and began the process of constructing both a road and a system to transport potable water. Building there was challenging, because it meant navigating both the difficult terrain of the work sites as well as a complicated bureaucracy.
To ensure sustainability, MEDLIFE works with existing government programs to make sure our projects will be utilized and properly maintained. In this case, we are partnering with a group called “Agua para Todos” (“Water for All”), a state initiative with the goal of improving access to potable water, particularly in poor communities. In order to benefit from this program, a settlement first has to be legally recognized by the district government. Then they must present a formal application to the water company, SEDAPAL, with plans drawn up by professional engineers. MEDLIFE helped the community of UniÃ³n Santa FÃ© along the way, with the entire process taking about 6 months.
In addition to covering 50% of the building costs, MEDLIFE played an important role in organizing community meetings and coordinating with the different entities involved in the project. Now the pipes and basins that will distribute water have already been constructed and installed; all that’s left to get the system up and running is a final inspection and approval from SEDAPAL. We look forward to completing this project within the next few months!
See a slideshow of photos from our progress on the project here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/medlife/sets/72157631747754638/show/