In 2004, Living Water International began operating in Mexico as a nonprofit civil association in the state of Nuevo Leon, with operations in Puebla, Chiapas, and Tamaulipas. Work was primarily through missionary partners implementing small water projects and sharing the gospel. Operations in Tamaulipas were suspended in 2010 due to a security situation, while activities in Puebla and Chiapas continued under the same approach until 2013 when Living Water International began a three-year partnership with FEMSA/Coca-Cola in coordination with the Millennium Water Alliance called “Lazos de Agua.” In that year, operations shifted to more comprehensive programs including activities such as hygiene and sanitation education, community mobilization and development, and gospel proclamation.
Since then, Living Water Mexico has accumulated experience in the implementation of water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects in vulnerable communities in the states of Oaxaca and Puebla, developed leadership skills, coordinated with local authorities, formed strategic alliances, established and trained community water committees, and trained and empowered volunteers in primary health for positive hygiene and sanitation behavior changes. In addition, we have coordinated efforts with federal programs, which has given the Living Water Mexico program a competitive advantage in terms of strategic data access and strategic planning for operational implementation of WASH projects.
Our program aims to be recognized as a trustworthy, highly qualified Christian organization that partners with communities and stakeholders to facilitate access to water, hygiene, and sanitation in the neediest rural communities in the southeast region of Mexico. The impact of the programs in the beneficiary communities will be reflected through sustainable projects, and transformational change to the lives of the needy by bringing living water and proclaiming our integral mission of water and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Living Water Mexico is currently working in rural communities within the state of Oaxaca until 2022, with plans to add an additional focus area in the future.
Living Water Mexico implements small and complex water systems in order to reach a large number of beneficiaries, as water projects vary according to community context and need. These projects include pipeline installations, elevated storage tanks, cisterns, distribution infrastructure, and spring catchments.
Living Water Mexico implements water systems in the most vulnerable municipalities in order to increase coverage for those families that lack safe water. In addition to the water system, there are training workshops for water committees on sustainability issues for the maintenance and operation of the water point with topics such as national water legislation, quality regulations, the water committee’s role, tariff analysis, water quality testing, and chlorination systems. They are also given a water system operation and maintenance manual. Training activities are developed for community care groups (volunteer men and women) in issues related to appropriate handwashing, diarrhea prevention and oral rehydration salts (ORS) preparation, tippy tap demonstration, proper disposal of feces and deworming, improving water sources and water purification, safe and adequate food storage, and acute respiratory infection danger signals.
Living Water Mexico implements hygiene promotion in order to reduce diseases due to harmful hygiene and sanitation behaviors. To reach this goal, we utilize the Community Care Group (CCG) approach in smaller communities. This approach empowers community volunteers, both male and female, who meet with a Living Water hygiene promoter on a bi-monthly basis to learn hygiene and sanitation lessons and practices, which they then teach to a designated number of their neighbors.
Each volunteer is assigned up to 10 homes in the community where they are responsible for teaching the new lesson and practicing each month. At the end of the month, the volunteer returns to the homes with a follow-up visit to encourage and monitor the newly learned practices. Each meeting with the Living Water hygiene promoter encourages the volunteers to actively participate in the new lesson, express concerns, share challenges from previous lessons and build community among their group.
In addition, a series of six WASH lessons are provided to all primary and secondary schools in the targeted communities with pre- and post-tests done to assess the students’ progress. In communities with greater than 2,000 people, the hygiene team partners with the local health clinics to strengthen the government health program, PROSPERA.
The involvement of the local churches in our WASH program is crucial in terms of Christian witness. Additionally, churches have the potential of promoting an ethical perspective of development as part of a new community identity. Living Water Mexico attempts to mobilize local churches to carry out integral mission by focusing on proclaiming the gospel and the ethical platform of community development in the following areas:
•Increasing operational effectiveness through local church involvement
•Strengthening strategic alliances to increase staff skills as they manage the strategic partnership within the overall framework of our work
•The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ through Bible storytelling and the JESUS film
•Training church leaders in Bible storytelling (orality)
•Connecting church leaders with the WASH approach by having a better understanding of the living water offered by God. Given that this methodology includes hygiene and sanitation messages for communities of faith, we are also fostering the adoption of lasting healthy behavior in aspects related to primary health care
To learn more about supporting our work here—such as equipment, water projects, or our entire program area, please contact your local Living Water Representative.
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