Aqua Clara has been working in Nicaragua since 2009. Its functions were incorporated as AcquaNic in 2011. Mario Benevides, Aqua Clara’s Nicaragua Director, and his staff have been responsible for the construction and placement of over 3,000 ACI filters, providing direct benefit to about 30,000 people and indirect benefit to another 15,000 extended family members and neighbors.
Most families currently rely on contaminated surface water as their main water source. Deep wells exist in these areas, however they are typically located at a distance that makes it difficult for people in the rural areas to access them easily, and the water they produce usually requires cleaning for safe drinking and cooking purposes. Many of the people in these area suffer from recurring diarrhea and intestinal diseases that could be eased with clean water; in several village areas where the water is contaminated with arsenic the average life expectancy is about 46 years.
An important element of our program is our collaboration with other local NGO’s. In each country where we have a presence, we have sought out “partners” to both facilitate and consolidate our outreach, reducing expenses while at the same time reinforcing each other’s work.
Our on-ground partner El Porvenir has found that there is ground water contaminated with arsenic, while we have developed an inexpensive but highly effective technology to capture arsenic and cause it to become inert. Our first two arsenic filters were installed in early November, 2010, in the Camoapa region, but many more families need such filters in order to have safe water to ingest.
Another collaboration is with CEPAD a Christian organization that facilitates strengthening the capacity and self-advocacy of thirty-three organized communities, 206 Peace Commissions, and 120 pastoral groups throughout Nicaragua, using social promotion and organization. Its reputation places it among the most highly respected organizations in the country.
AMOS is also a Christian Nicaraguan organization, which practices and teaches Public Health. It is run by two highly qualified physicicans, Dr. David Parajon who is an internist and has a Masters Degree in Public Health, and Dr. Laura Parajon, a family practice physician skilled in health education. Several communities assisted AMOS comprise the focus of a significant clean water initiative undertaken with ACI, responsible for the placement of hundreds of ACI filters in individual homes. A partnered supervision of our filters with AMOS was done in the Summer of 2012 and the description can be read here.