The Piura Project aims to improve the living conditions of the communities affected by the “El Niño Costero” phenomenon in 2017.
“El Niño Costero” is a climatic phenomenon that triggers heavy rains causing overflows, floods and downpours in certain places. In 2017 it heavily affected many communities in Peru,
especially in the Piura region.
The official reports of Indeci (National Institute of Civil Defense) indicate that the phenomenon caused a total of 101 deaths, 353 injured, 19 people missing, 141,000 victims and almost one million affected nationwide from December 2016 to March 2017.
The Piura region was one of the hardest hit by “El Niño Costero”: intense rainfall and river floods damaged sanitation services (water and drainage), road infrastructure, schools and
health centers among others.
Our mission is to support these affected communities so that they can not only improve their living conditions but are also able to find the necessary strength and hope to work on a common project.
The selected communities for the project belong to the districts of La Arena and La Union: San Martín de Létira, Miguel Seminario and Los Almendros.
The communities were selected due to their particular geographic isolation in the area as well as the fact that they face a several lack of basic services, such as: non-existent essential infrastructures such as roads, sanitation systems, educational infrastructures and health services. All of this has led to large numbers of the population becoming extremely vulnerable.
This project will directly benefit approximately 1300 people and its implementation will improve, not only the living conditions in their communities, but it will also create a sense of resilience and organizational capacity that will promote their future development possibilities.
At GROWTH we believe that in order to make it possible for communities to grow, the involvement of its members is a necessity, this includes involvement in the processes of planning, monitoring and in the realization of the project. One of the key principles of any project is that the community is intimately involved in the process of analysis, decisionmaking and in the execution of the project, this includes: access to information, community education, inquiries, strengthening of the initiative as well as in the decision-making and management of all phases of the project.
The final design of a project is a product of the feedback and responses received from communities during advisory dialogues and community engagements. This process is organic and leads to direct participation as communities share authority and true power throughout the development cycle, from policy decisions, the identification of projects as well as to the final evaluation.
It is based on this organic and community-centred model that communities are no longer simply the goal or target of development, but they are also active subjects in the process.
The Piura Project has three areas of intervention: the construction of sanitation systems, the construction of educational infrastructure and the rehabilitation of community spaces.
1st Workstream: Sanitation
Access to sanitation services is a fundamental human right for the dignity and health of people. People with adequate sanitation services will significantly improve their health conditions, which is why this right is considered an essential factor when trying to alleviate poverty.
The conditions of adequate sanitation mitigate or eliminate the risks of transmission of infectious and parasitic diseases, as well as guarantee a healthy living environment and greater physical, mental and social well-being of the population.
According to the WHO, in the Piura region, 48% of the population lacks adequate sanitation facilities, especially in rural areas, where community members relieve themselves in the open.
In addition, although many have sanitation facilities, they do not use it properly due to the lack of good hygiene practices and environmental awareness.
The communities that lack adequate sanitation conditions, are exposed to greater problems such as water pollution and inadequate management of organic waste, which becomes a trigger factor in the emergence of diseases and worsens the health of the population.
At GROWTH, we seek to contribute to the promotion of new forms of management of rural sanitation, without water consumption and without the generation of sewage. To this end, we initiate an intervention in the community of Miguel Seminario based on the Ecological Sanitation approach, using Dry Ecological Toilets as an alternative in rural areas.
Dry Ecological Toilets
This is an alternative to traditional wastewater disposal: it is a system that recovers nutrients from faeces and urine for agricultural purposes, helping to preserve soil fertility,
minimizing water contamination and recovering bioenergy.
This system, in addition to satisfying the sanitation needs of these communities, has been proven to have a positive impact on public health, since it mitigates environmental and social problems such as infectious diseases, environmental degradation or the shortage of water.
Ecological sanitation systems offer great advantages for families, among which the following stand out:
– Eliminates pathogens, minimizing the possibility of diarrheal diseases;
– Does not contaminate of the environment;
– Produces fertilizer periodically;
– The construction does not require skilled labour and families themselves, with technical assistance, are able to carry out the project;
– The construction is economical and is adapted to the conditions of rural housing, since they can be constructed with materials from the area;
– Its use is suitable for flood areas or with high groundwater levels
– Can be located very close to or inside the house, because it does not emit odors, it looks good and it is very hygienic;
– Excreta are inaccessible to animals;
– Does not represent a danger to young children;
– Does not need water for its use.
This new approach also seeks to make communities aware of their health and environmental challenges and based on these, they can plan their activities accordingly.
The project will build upon community-based approaches, through which their members will participate fully in the planning, decision-making and local management of the new system that has been introduced. This will not only ensure that the population have access to sanitation services, but will also provide awareness on the development process.
A Sanitation Committee will also be established, consisting of members from the community, which will be active in all phases of the project and will be responsible for the management and maintenance of the facilities once the project has been completed.
2nd Workstream: Pre-school education
Pre-school education is considered to be a critical stage for the education of children, it is one of the most important phases for the development of young minds in which the foundations of social life are built.
Childhood education is one of the most profitable and efficient investments to embark upon a path of lifelong learning, as well as to ensure that all children have a fair chance to develop their potential, guaranteeing equality for all. It offers children who are marginalized by poverty, ethnicity, disability, gender or the place where they live, the boost they need to devote themselves completely to their education.
A quality early learning program helps children unlock their development potential and receive the knowledge and skills they require to thrive at school: for these reasons, GROWTH defends the idea that if in some community the necessary conditions are not guaranteed for the development of preschool children, we have to intervene, in collaboration with the communities, in order to solve this challenge.
We include this area of intervention as the community of Los Almendros does not have appropriate early childhood development facilities and the rest of the primary schools in the area are crowded and cannot accommodate everybody. Both the local authorities and the parents want schooling for the children, but they do not have the means to build the school.
With a new school, educational facilities in the area will be significantly improved and the beneficiary children will be equipped with the necessary level to progress on to primary education. The aim is to guarantee a quality education for all children that will create an atmosphere that encourages early childhood development.
Moreover, in this case, the actors of the educational community (families, educational institution, community) will be the protagonists in all aspects and cycles of the project.
3rd Workstream: Community spaces
The third workstream is developed around the construction of community spaces that can enhance relations between members of the community. The ideal of this workstream to is to establish communal spaces that foster support, help, opportunities, exchange and social and community relationships, thus favouring the creative process of social cohesion.
Our projects are oriented and developed to improve the quality of life of the community, facilitating an active and social process of participation and empowerment of the members of each community, as any community development project begins, above all, with the unity of its inhabitants.
We therefore seek to build spaces that facilitate the development of multiple bonds. Spaces of identity, a platform for community meetings, exchange of proposals, learning, transformation and collective support from a transformative and emancipatory perspective.
Such spaces will be specified to each community, such as the construction of a community room in the community of San Martín de Létira and in the design and installation of outdoor community areas in the communities of Los Almendros and Miguel Seminario.
Furthermore, community spaces provide a necessary platform that encourages members of the community to establish tools for the design and participatory management of projects. And finally, we will work on raising awareness in the community by providing information, advice and education on various issues of importance in order to improve the lives of its inhabitants.
In these spaces, both in its temporal and spatial dimensions, experiences, events and traditions can be practiced. These experiences that occur on a daily basis build a sense of community.
Monitoring and Evaluation
In the development of projects, GROWTH implements participatory monitoring and evaluation mechanisms based on operational planning to achieve the objectives.
Responsibilities are delegated and in the process, information is collected that enables progress towards the fulfillment of the proposed objectives, facilitating decision-making before eventual changes and complying with the processes of rendering accounts.
Periodic monitoring, observation, measurement and continuous physical and financial evaluation of all the interventions are carried out through participatory monitoring plans. These mechanisms are applied based on traditional criteria (relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability) with a specific emphasis on the results and on the community participation process.
For us, it is a learning opportunity as it helps us develop the necessary improvements that are required, it provides the opportunity to adjust the focus if needs be as well as adapt the implementation strategies based on the condtions in the community, it also provides space for flexibility in relation to deciding on conditional alternatives.
Moreover, the evaluations help us ensure that our projects support, and are aligned with, the SDGs and the corporate, national and global priorities: we assume the responsibility of providing evidence that links the received contributions to the achievement of development results in the beneficiary communities of the project.
By providing these objective and independent evaluations, we ensure precise accountability by the organization to its Board of Directors, donors, partners, collaborating companies, national and international governments and beneficiaries.
Along with the other aspects of the project, it is the community that, with our assistance, develops the action-plan that will be implemented. Identified leaders, chosen by the community, are responsible for coordinating human, material and logistical resources.
It is these leaders (representatives of the community) that have an intimate knowledge of the environment and conditions in which they live, and they coordinate tasks and responsibilities related to engagements with local suppliers and sourcing the skilled labour necessary to carry out the projects.
In addition to this, unskilled labour is also an essential component of executing the project’s action-plan. These workers are from the communities themselves who, voluntarily coordinate the project’s design by setting up work shifts and shaping the objectives of the project together.
At GROWTH it is fundamental that all of the benefits derived from our projects to return to the communities in which we work or, to be transferred to nearby communities. That is why, whenever possible, we try to obtain all the materials and machinery necessary for our projects in the areas where we work.