Why We Work in Nicaragua and Zambia
Safe Water to Drink Nicaragua and Zambia
Nicaragua and Zambia are located a world apart, separated by approximately 7,940 miles. Desipite the distance in miles and differences in culture, the commonalities are remarkable. Although resource rich, Zambia and Nicaragua's people are the poorest in their respective hemispheres. A majority of the population live at the poverty level; which the United Nations has determined to be an income of $1.00 per day. Many live on less (see notes below).
In both countries, contaminated water is the single largest contributor to infant mortality - greater than AIDS/HIV and malaria put together. A child dies every 10 minutes from disease attributable to dirty water.
In both countries, contaminated surface water supplies are frequently the only water available for domestic use.
Classrooms without Books - Environmental Education
In both Nicaragua and Zambia, children do not have access to school books in their classrooms or homes. We bring education to the children by using the environment all around them as a classroom. The children may not have books, but our water education curriculum provides teachers with tools to teach by using the nature all around them as an outdoor classroom for science education, creative writing and observation. Our school yard farms are natural learning laboratories. Our water test kits allow children to experience the wonders chemistry and microbiology. All these low cost and interactive projects support learning, build awareness of the environment and about the hazards in contaminated water.
Subsistence Economies and Survival
In both Nicaragua and Zambia, subsistence farming is practiced by the majority of the population. In subsistence economies, people meet all or most of their daily needs directly from nature and the cycles of rain that allow cultivation of food for personal consumption. 85% of the Zambian population and 76% of the Nicaraguan population are engaged in subsistence agriculture. The dual aspects the water crisis which are 1) the lack of access to clean water for domestic use and 2) the failure of natural rain cycles to support agricultural production - lock families in a cycle of poverty and increasingly, chronic hunger.
Both Nicaragua and Zambia depend on natural rain cycles for water collection, on livestock to prepare the soil for cultivation and on livestock manure to fertilize the land. Climate changes to the rain cycle make water collection problematic. Unseasonable or absent rains damage crops, increase erosion and delay planting. Water scarcity and disease burden families who must devote more time to seeking-out water for domestic use. These water issues have also devastated livestock in large areas of both countries - causing farmers to resort to hand-tilling the soil. Ultimately their crops are insufficient to meet their needs and families are chronically food insecure.
In both Nicaragua and Zambia economic development is held back by lack of access to irrigation water, reliable rainfall, soil inputs and basic governmental services such as road infrastructure, transport, markets and other social infrastructure. With surface water contamination and changes to rain cycles brought about by climate change, people in both countries find themselves facing challenges that are a threat to their very survival.
Water for Life and Livelihoods
A simple borehole well seems a low cost solution to a life-threatening situation. With provision of a borehole well or water filter system providing clean reliable water, the quality of life for the people in Zambia and Nicaragua is profoundly improved and lives are saved. That is the motivation for our work.
International PEACE Projects Builds Water Infrastructure and Environmental Awareness In Nicaragua and Zambia
Both Nicaragua and Zambia have large NGO communities. We recognize that 50% of water infrastructure and community development projects that NGO's build, fail due to lack of community involvement. For that reason, community involvement is an integral part of every International PEACE Project initiative; 100% of our project initiatives are operative today!
International PEACE Projects grow from within communities in Zambia and Nicaragua; that is the key to the sustainability of our projects (sustainability, in the sense of continued delivery and uptake of services in the long term).
The groundwork for our projects is carried out by professional community workers and volunteers who work with regional Chiefs and village headmen/women to help villages organize.
With the approval of the Chief, the village headmen/women and villagers are invested in our projects in a profound way. There is honor and community/familial pride associated with every aspect of project planning and implementation. The extent to which community members go to secure water for their villages is humbling. They will trek many miles through dangerous bush country to meet with us. They will create assessment districts for project maintenance to fund spare parts, maintain the wells and keep the pumps in good repair. Community members may create brick, stick or concrete barricades to encircle and safeguard new borehole pumps. They work communally to build trenches to divert borehole water to farm plots or they may initiate clean-up campaigns in arroyos or on school campuses to teach how clean water benefits families, food supplies and the environment.
Quick Facts Nicaragua
Nicaragua is considered the poorest country in the Americas
Capital Ciy: Managua
Population: 5.8 million
Area in Squre miles: 49,998
Median Age: 23.7 (source CIA World Factbook)
Life Expectancy: 73 years
Number of people in rural areas without safe drinking water: 81%
Number of people in rural areas without sanitary services: 63%
Infant mortality rate: 22/1000* (world rank 77 of 188 countries)
Maternal mortality rate: 100 per 100,000 live births
Percent of people living at the poverty level: 45% (on < $1.00 per day)
Of the 45% living at the poverty level, 20% of those live in extreme poverty, meanaing that if they were able to devote all their time to the search for food, they would still not be able to meet their minimum nutritional needs.
Quick Facts Zambia
Zambia is ranked among the top ten poorest countries in the world
Capital City: Lusaka
Popiation: 14.8 million (2012)
Area in square miles: 290,587
Median age: 17.3 years
Life Expectancy: 52.03 years
Number of people in rural areas without access to safe drinking water: 63%
Number of people in rural areas without access to saniary services: 87%
Maternal mortality rate: 591 per 100,000 live births
Infant mortality rate: 68.58/145000* (world rank #37 of 188 countries)
Perentage of people living at the poverty level: 75% (on <$1.00 per day)
Of the 75% living below the poverty level or earning less than $1.00 per day, more than 50% of them are extremely poor and unable to meet their minimum nutritional needs.
*this entry gives the number of deahs of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year. The rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a counry. (Source CIA World Factbook)