Increasing Access to Water in Guayacondo, Peru


By: Jeff Hoover, Field Coordinator, CARE USA

As a relatively new member of CARE's Citizen Advocacy team, I recently took part in my first trip to visit CARE programs.I have been overseas a number of times, including a prior trip to Peru. This trip promised to be considerably different from my past experiences considering my first visit to Peru was in tourist areas around Machu Pichu.

The trip was to the Ayacucho region in Peru. Ayacucho was one of the hardest hit and most devastated regions of Peru following the war with the Shining Path guerrillas. Our first visit was to a town called Guayacondo, which is located about 30 km from Ayacucho city. Our first day focused on water and sanitation projects that have been functioning since2002. The people of Guayacondo had been getting their water from sources up to 20km away for nearly 400 years. Given the generational scarcity it's not surprising that they take the availability of water very seriously. When we arrived we were met by Hérnan, the leader of the local Water and Sanitation (WASH) project. This is an association designed to monitor and promote the sanitation and hygiene standards learned from CARE.

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The results of the project had benefits in addition to bringing water for people to drink. Hérnan showed us that the availability of water helped diversify the local economy. Prior to the completion of the project, virtually all economic activity focused on brick making. As water became available, production diversified to include more lucrative agriculture such as grapes. As a result, income and health standards rose.

This proved more significant for the communities we visited later in the day. Many of these communities had not even existed prior to the CARE project due to the lack of water. With the expansion of the irrigation system, new communities were formed and many people were afforded the opportunity to move to a new area with improved sanitation, health and economic prospects.

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CARE hasn't been active in Guayacondo and the surrounding regions since 2006. This is noteworthy because it clearly illustrates how much influence CARE had and the long-lasting impact of this type of intervention.

To learn more about Jeff's work as a member of CARE's Citizen Advocacy team visit The CARE Action Network's webpage.