Agua SALud: Partner Organizations
Engineers for a Sustainable World - Berkeley is an organization at the University of California at Berkeley interested in engineering issues surrounding appropriate technologies in development. To that end, ESW-B has three primary goals:
The National Council for the Promotion of Education (Consejo Nacional de Fomento Educativo, CONAFE) is the organization in charge of elementary education at small rural communities in Mexico. In the state of Baja California Sur, CONAFE has a cadre of 15 Supervisors and 160 Community Educators. These educators teach a total number of 1,000 preprimary and elementary students who live in 150 communities located in places of difficult access or with migrant population.
The Community Educators, who are responsible for the pre-primary and primary education at the CONAFE schools, are students who have finished high school and who are doing a social-service of 2 years. This social-service will qualify them to receive a scholarship from CONAFE that will give them the opportunity to carry through with their studies.
Apart from fulfilling its educational goals, CONAFE has often been a driver of community-development programs such as PV rural electrification. In these programs, CONAFE has assisted development agencies by serving as the community’s voice and by introducing educational kits that promote sustainable paths.
Currently, with funds from the Inter-American Development Bank, CONAFE plans to introduce sanitary facilities, latrines and solar panels to its educational facilities that require so. Again, these efforts will be reinforced with educational packages discussing the importance of sustainability and proper health practices in the community.
CONAFE has reported the lack of access to potable water suffered by the instructors and students of most of the communities where it operates. Water contaminated with microorganisms is one of the leading causes of instructors’ and children’s absentee in rural schools. Water with high salinity levels may produce chronic health effects that reduce the individuals’ future quality of life. The access to microorganism-free and low salinity water both have potential to increase the time-in-school of instructors and students, and the quality of life of CONAFE communities.
The main role of CONAFE in the project is to promote, via educational programs especially targeted to children, the basic sanitation practices and the importance of drinking water from adequate sources. CONAFE instructors also play a key role in the dialogue between the community members and the Agua SALud team.
The National Water Commission (Comisión Nacional del Agua, CNA) goal is to: Manage and preserve the national water assets with the participation of society in order to achieve their sustainable use.
The Agua SALud team worked with the staff from CNA’s Water Quality Lab (Laboratorio de Calidad del Agua). The lab provided space and equipment necessary to run the Sodium analysis; as well as sample bottles, distilled water and an incubator needed for the microbial analysis. The staff’s experience was of extreme importance for the optimal development of the project.
Niparajá is a non-profit organization, established in 1991 in La Paz, Baja California Sur, that is focused on conserving the natural capital of Southern Baja California through collaborative, science-based actions for the present and future benefit of local communities.
Future website: www.niparaja.org/