Cáritas América Latina y Caribe | Historias - Agua, un bien común para la vida y la paz

Water, a common good for life and peace

In the framework of World Water Day 2024, it is highlighted the crucial role of water as an agent of peace and stability on our planet. As Saint Francis of Assisi, patron of ecology, teaches us, water is more than a natural resource; It is our "sister water", a vital element that deserves our respect and care.

Pope Francis, through his encyclical "Laudato Si'", reminds us that water should not be treated as a merchandise subject to the laws of the market, but as a common good essential for human life and the balance of our ecosystem. In this sense, it is imperative that countries manage water in a fair and equitable manner, placing water cooperation at the center of their political agendas.

Access to safe and drinkable water is a right fundamental human resource, and its scarcity or contamination can generate tensions and conflicts between communities and countries. For this reason, it is necessary to unite as Cáritas and the communities in the territories around the fair and sustainable use of water, working at the parish, diocesan, national, regional and global levels.

In this context, the The motto of World Water Day 2024, "Water for Peace", takes on special relevance. Cooperation on water can create a positive cascading effect, promoting harmony, prosperity, community and resilience in the face of the common challenges we face as a global society.

However, it still remains to be seen. We face significant challenges regarding access to water. More than 2.2 billion people in the world lack safely managed drinking water, and approximately half of the world's population suffers from severe water shortages for part of the year. It is crucial that at Caritas we work together to overcome these barriers and ensure that we all have access to this vital resource, especially the most vulnerable communities.

This World Water Day should give us at Caritas the opportunity to reflect on the importance of water for peace and sustainable development. By uniting around the care and equitable management of water, we can lay the foundations for a more stable, prosperous future in harmony with God and our common home.

We invite you to learn about the following experiences that work Caritas in the region around water care.

Mexico

Cáritas Querétaro

This water harvesting project using ferrocement cisterns, promoted by Cáritas in the Sierra Gorda of the States of Querétaro and Guanajuato, seeks to ensure access to water for families in vulnerable situations. Through the construction of family and community cisterns, families are given the capacity to store up to 15 thousand liters of water, allowing them to meet their daily needs and contribute to their food security.

The Engineer José Castro Orvañanos, a Cáritas volunteer, mentions that he has been fundamental in the promotion of the ferrocement technique and the preparation of a construction manual. Since 2015, more than 320 cisterns have been built, storing more than 4,800,000 liters of water and benefiting hundreds of families in the region. This project goes beyond guaranteeing access to water, it also promotes food self-sufficiency through the establishment of family gardens and the raising of backyard animals.

The active participation of families in The construction of the cisterns strengthens community ties and fosters empowerment. Women, in particular, play a crucial role in this process, working to build the cisterns and ensuring the availability of water for their homes and gardens. Furthermore, the testimony of beneficiaries like Norberta and Laura demonstrates the positive impact that this project has had on the quality of life of families, providing them with constant access to water and the possibility of enjoying a variety of fresh and nutritious foods.

Ecuador

Cáritas Ecuador

The project "Strengthening the enforceability of rights in communities affected by extractive practices in Orellana and Sucumbíos, Ecuador " arises in response to the serious consequences of the oil spill that occurred on April 7, 2020, affecting indigenous Kichwa communities on the banks of the Coca River. This project, led by the Social Pastoral Cáritas Ecuador, has as its main objective to address the urgent needs of these communities, including access to safe water, food security and comprehensive repair of the damages suffered.

A Through three lines of strategic intervention, the project has implemented actions aimed at understanding and providing solutions to the needs of the affected communities. These actions include carrying out diagnostic studies, training processes, water supply systems for emergencies and legal support. As a result, two pilot systems for access to water for human consumption have been implemented in the communities of Amarumesa (Orellana) and San Francisco (Sucumbíos), benefiting about 150 families and returning tangible results through a public event to make the work visible. carried out.

The project has been fundamental to strengthen the incidence and comprehensive vision of the context and the affected communities. Support has been provided in ecological restoration, capacity building, monitoring of water and soil quality, as well as in the preparation of documentation necessary to achieve comprehensive restoration. Ultimately, this project not only provides essential resources, but also builds a path towards justice and resilience in communities affected by extractivist practices.

Paraguay

Pastoral Diocesan Social of Benjamín Aceval

The project "Construction of Cisterns for Water Collection" arises in response to the growing needs for access to water in the rural communities of the Paraguayan Bajo Chaco, led by the Diocesan Social Pastoral of Benjamín Aceval and with the support of Adveniat. The construction of 25 cisterns with a capacity of 15,000 liters each is planned, benefiting peasant and indigenous communities in the department of Presidente Hayes, who face difficulties during prolonged droughts.

Through the active participation of the inhabitants of These communities in the construction of the cisterns foster a sense of community and cooperation. In the peasant community, the cisterns are for family use, while in the indigenous communities they are intended for community use, benefiting a total of 150 families and training about 70 people in their preparation.

The project includes training in masonry, cistern maintenance and water management, providing crucial knowledge for the conservation, purification and quantification of the resource. This comprehensive approach not only guarantees greater availability of safe water, but also alleviates the workload of women and promotes the construction of a sustainable and resilient future for these communities in the Paraguayan Bajo Chaco.

Care of the common home and Holistic Human Development, Democracy, human rights and peace building

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