“I feel motivated to continue working to improve the water in my community thanks to Self-Help.”

By Orlando Montiel Salas – Clean Water Program Officer

 

Arle, CAPS President

47-year-old Arle has lived in the community of Las Bellezas, Nicaragua for more than 25 years. He and his wife have two sons and a daughter. He is currently the president of the Water and Sanitation Committee (CAPS) in his community. Self-Help Clean Water Program staff interviewed him during a 2019 trip to his community, and he expressed his motivation to continue working on improving water for his community. Read the interview below!

 

 

What was the main problem for your community?

In 2014, our city hall and community worked together on a water project to bring water into families’ homes, but the water didn’t was still untreated. It wasn’t safe to drink.

How did you learn about Self-Help International’s Clean Water Program?

We heard about an organization that was installing chlorinators to improve water. We wanted to contact them so that we could have a chlorinator that would disinfect the water in our community.  

What motivated you and your community to install the chlorinator?

We were motivated by the idea of a chlorinator in the community because the water we had was poor quality. We were drinking piped water that was not suitable for consumption. Plus, there were outbreaks of diarrheal diseases which greatly impacted our children. There were 97 registered cases of diarrhea in children from ages 0-5, and 8 cases of stomach bacteria. The Ministry of Health (MINSA) informed us that our community was one of the worst affected by diarrheal diseases due to our unsafe water.

How did the community come together and agree on installing a chlorinator?

Las Bellezas community members

The six-person CAPS board met, then it held an open community meeting to debate the installation of a chlorinator. Orlando, Self-Help’s Clean Water Program Officer, attended this meeting to explain the installation of the chlorinator and how it would disinfect the water. He explained how it would work on our community’s aqueduct.

Did you have any cases of illness in your family due to the poor water quality?

In 2014, my wife had a bacterial infection in her stomach. I took her to the medical center in Juigalpa and then to the capital city, Managua. A bacteriologist tested her and told us that the unchlorinated water was to blame for her infection. She spent six months being treated for it.

What happened after the chlorinator installation?

When the chlorinator was put in, the number of cases of diarrheal diseases dropped by 98%. Community members noticed that they were healthier and realized how important the chlorinator was. Today the population of the community is extremely grateful – to God, and to the organization that installed the chlorinator and has supported us in every way possible.

How do you feel, as the president of the CAPS in your community, about the Self-Help Clean Water Program?

I am sincerely telling you that I feel totally grateful, as does my community. Improving water quality is a process every day. We have seen the importance of water being sanitized and of always having safe, good quality water. Personally, I am very grateful for the support Self-Help has given me as a leader of the CAPS and the community. I feel motivated to continue working on this project that is having a great impact on my community.

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