Ococona is a community of approximately 800 people in rural Nicaragua. Families collect water from several communal tanks in the center of the town every 8 hours on average. However, the available water supply often does not meet the demand of the Ococona population. This leaves families without water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing. Ococona communicated that lack of water is one of their biggest barriers to having a healthy community.
Members of the Ococana collectively joined forces with the local government and the Nueva Segovia branch of the National Union of Farmers and Cattle Ranchers (UNAG), an NGO that has an close relationship with the people of Ococona. Together, they sought out a partnership with EWB Pitt. The goal of this partnership is to provide the community of Ococona with a sustainable water system that the residents can use and easily maintain for many years to come. In order to meet this goal, our chapter is committed to a 5-year partnership with the community of Ococana. This will ensure that the new water system meets the community’s wants and needs, and will equip Ococana’s residents with the necessary knowledge to maintain the system. We are currently in the first stage of this partnership, the assessment phase, which requires our chapter to travel to Ococona to meet with residents, map the topography of the area, and gather the necessary information to begin an official alternatives analysis.
Due to a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as existing international travel restrictions from the U.S. state department, travel to the community was impossible for several years. During this time period the community found another NGO to come in and implement a solution to their community need. While we were not able to help in the regard originally planned, we are grateful for the experience and especially that someone was able to help the people of Ococona meet their water distribution needs leading to an improved quality of life. This project has officially been closed out by EWB-USA headquarters.