Clean Water Program Brings Much Needed Trainings to Community Leaders

By Orlando Montiel Salas – Clean Water Program Officer

The clean water program, promoted by Self-Help International in Nicaragua, implements many different kinds of trainings for people regardless of age and gender.  Those who attend the trainings become managers and leaders of Water and Sanitation Committees (CAPS) in rural communities. The program has had a positive impact on those communities, and the citizens are very grateful for the knowledge and skills they are receiving.  A few of the attendees have taken the time to tell their stories! Take a few minutes to read some of them:

CAPS leaders attending training in Quinta Lidia.

77-year-old José has been living in Santa Isabel in the municipality of San Carlos for over 24 years. He began by saying “I’ve been working for nine years as the president of the CAPS in my community and for the community of Quinta Lidia. Our two towns share a water source, water system, and committee members.”

José continued “It’s been difficult to manage the CAPS members and activities for both communities. It’s sometimes hard to manage just one, but having the two communities work together is even more difficult. However, we have been able to manage it all because of the trainings I, and the rest of members of our committee, received from Self-Help International.

“My coworkers and I attended the trainings to become better educated and more skilled. We are now able to manage the system efficiently and provide quality water to our people. We find that printed materials work especially well because then we can continue studying in our homes even after the training session has ended,” José said.

“We’re very grateful to Self-Help because of the benefits we’ve received, and because the training center is so close to us! Sometimes, we even have our CAPS meetings at the training center when there are a lot of people coming.

“Those participating in the clean water program aren’t the only ones benefiting from the training center – the micro-credit trainings are also held there! From my whole community: thank you very much for all of your support!” José said.


Justina is one of several women who have been trained with the Clean Water Program in order to improve the management of the CAPS in their community.

“The trainings have been good for us, because there were many things we needed to know but didn’t. A good example is the issue we used to have with the rate we charged to our communities for water. We didn’t realize that we were undercharging our community members,” Justina said.

CAPS leaders at training center in Quinta Lidia.

“Orlando Montiel came to train us, and then understood that we weren’t taking into account several expenses that went into cleaning the water. Now, we know exactly how much to charge people in order to cover  all of our monthly expenses plus the maintenance of the water system. We’ve also been learning the importance of purifying the water via chlorine tablets. The tablets prevent waterborne diseases, which are transmitted when the water isn’t treated.

“I’m also a beneficiary of the micro-credit program. Self-Help gives us small loans and training to work from home in different types of small businesses. In my case, I make corn tortillas and also keep chickens for eggs,” Justina said

“I’m very grateful for the training you give us! I’ve been a CAPS supervisor in the community of Quinta Lidia and Santa Isabel for nine years, and the training sessions have taught us the necessary skills and knowledge to provide for our community long term!” Justina concluded.


The clean water program also provides training outside of Self–Help’s training center in San Carlos.  Adán is the CAPS president of the Buena Vista community of El Castillo.

Orlando, Clean Water Program Officer, working with CAPS leaders.

Adán shared, “For me, the training sessions have been very important. The most beneficial was the one where we learned how much to charge for the drinking water. That training has allowed us to charge a fair amount of money for the water that we provide the community.

“There is a man named Darío who used to claim that we were overcharging him for his water. However, after reading one of the manuals that Orlando gave us in training, Darío changed his mind! He became convinced that the work CAPS is doing is serious and is now even a member of the committee,” Adán said.

“The trainings are very beneficial.  They help the CAPS organize themselves and work better. I can now demonstrate to my community that the water is treated by showing them a water tester. I can also explain to them the difference between raw water and purified water!  All of this is thanks to the wonderful training and good advice we received from the clean water program. Thank you very much for all of your support!” Adán concluded.