In the UK we each use about 150 litres of water a day without even thinking about it. It’s available, it’s clean, it’s safe. But not everyone is so fortunate. Less than 50% of rural Ecuadorians have access to clean drinking water, yet 90% of all infectious disease in developing countries is caused by unhealthy water.
Clean water is essential for good health. Everyday, at least 15,000 people die in developing countries due to diseases transmitted by water. Few rural Ecuadorian communities have convenient access to suitable quality drinking water.
What we do
HCJB Global Hands’ water projects facilitate communities in completing projects to improve their health. This is achieved through the installation of low cost appropriate water and sanitation infrastructure coupled with health and hygiene education programmes. We seek to employ Biblically based community development principles and we have not only a concern for physical health but also spiritual health.
How we work
In each project, the benefiting communities bear significant responsibility for the resources to obtain clean water. In Chimborazo Province for example, where community development has had a long-term presence, the communities provide over 60% of the resources necessary to build their water systems and provide significant leadership.
HCJB Global Hands staff design the community water systems and national field technicians with whom we have a long-standing relationship, supervise construction. The field technicians are primarily employed and paid by the benefiting communities they serve. Design work includes, topographic survey, hydraulic design, spring protection/development structures and design of water storage structures. Community water systems may vary in size from 25 to 500 homes. The communities provide all of the unskilled and semi-skilled labour. This arrangement allows us to promote community unity, employ community development principles and to emphasize a Biblical perspective of development at all stages of the project.
Water projects have been undertaken in collaboration with a number of organisations. These include Water for People, Lifewater, Instituto Ecuatoriano de Obras Sanitarias (IEOS) which translates as the Ecuadorian Institute of Health Construction, the Swedish International Development Agency, the Canadian International Development Agency, Jersey Aid, and MAP International. In addition to working with the organisations mentioned, concerned individuals, churches and a variety of other interested organisations also provide funding.
Where we work
Since 1980 HCJB Global Hands has been working on water projects with Ecuadorian communities in three areas of Ecuador: the highlands, the Pacific lowlands and the Ecuadorian Amazon. In the highlands most projects are gravity flow water systems. Where this is not possible in recent years simple pumped water systems have been introduced where the communities prove themselves capable of operating and maintaining these systems. In the Pacific coastal lowlands over 100 wells have been constructed and we are beginning to construct a number of gravity or basic pumped water systems.
Projects in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle began in 2003 and include digging wells and protecting springs. The jungle communities present a new range of problems that need solving as all the materials and personnel need to fit into small 5-seater airplanes operated by MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship).
Now the impact of our water projects is expanding beyond Ecuador, as we work with partners in Ghana and Haiti, to enable more communities to build their own clean water supplies.
Find out how your church can partner with us to bring clean water and the Living Water to more communities by becoming a Life Water Church.