In order to ensure that the established water solutions continue to benefit the given community, Aguayuda organizes a water committee for each community. The water committee typically consists of three to five residents who are chosen by the Aguayuda staff and the community’s leaders. The water committee is then educated about the installation, maintenance, and operation of the chosen water solution. Therefore, after the Aguayuda team has completed the project implementation, the water committee has the skills and education to assume the responsibility of sustaining the water solution for the community.
Aguayuda believes that educating the community is a crucial aspect of achieving the necessary changes in the community’s habits to make the project successful, sustainable and effective. Clean water is an essential component that affects all areas of daily life. Once a community has clean water, it is important that they understand how to use, conserve and preserve it.
In order to make education in the community sustainable, an education committee will be established. This committee will consist of teachers and community leaders who are interested in providing workshops not only for the present community, but also for future community members. Just like the water committee, the education committee needs to have the respect of the community as well as exhibit responsibility, intelligence and an acceptable work ethic so as to maintain the respect of the community. Aguayuda provides the following workshops to the community on water education:
- Water-related diseases
- Proper hygiene practices
- Water sanitation
- Conservation of water
- Storage of water
Depending on the community’s needs, Aguayuda may also offer the following additional topics:
- Waste Management
- HIV/AIDS Education
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse
- Household Water and Sanitation Solutions (2013)
- Small Business Development (2013)
- Microfinance (2013)
- Sustainable Agriculture (2013)
Each education committee member will receive a manual on how to teach the workshops on the topics mentioned above. The manuals consist of a step by step lesson plans for each topic. Detailed exercises and posters are included in order to make teaching easier and to make learning more fun.
Aguayuda believes hands-on training is one of the best ways to learn. As part of this learning process, Aguayuda first teaches the education committee and then the education committee teaches the adults and children of the community. During the team’s time in the community, Aguayuda will support this teaching process to make sure the material is taught and understood properly. After the team’s return, our staff continues contact with the education committee to assure that the community has access to training and information.
Monitoring and Evaluation
An important component to any Aguayuda project is the evaluation and monitoring of the project after the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Aguayuda stays in close contact with the community through monthly site visits by our Colombian team.
During the site visits, Aguayuda evaluates the water and education committees and makes assessments of the water, health and economic situation. The assessment results are compared to the initial assessment to determine the impact of the project. If there are issues, the community’s water committee and Aguayuda’s team resolve the problem together.
Properly evaluating and monitoring the projects assures a sustainable and successful project for years to come.