Posted by: norapillard | January 4, 2010

Working together through our partnerships

By Nora Pillard, Vice President of Water for Waslala

One thing that characterizes Water for Waslala is our partnerships- both in Nicaragua and in the United States. Through our partnerships we gain trust with the Waslalan communities, access to local Waslalan resources and expertise, and technical knowledge related to water system design and public health.

In Waslala, we work with la Parroquia Inmaculada and the municipal government.

Father Nelson and Father Vanderlei of la Parroquia Inmaculada

  • La Parroquia Inmaculada- The Catholic parish of Waslala, la Parroquia Inmaculada, which was founded in 1980. Since its inception, it has worked on issues of health, education, women’s rights, and the environment.In 2009, WfW set up a new project management office through the parish of Waslala. The parish has hired two full-time staff to help WfW better manage the life cycle of each project we support. The parish has developed deep trust with the rural communities in Waslala so our partnership with the parish enables us to build relationships with the community members.
  • Municipal government- WfW communicates frequently with the municipal government about our watersystem projects. Although the government does implement some water projects in the municipality, they do not serve the rural communities where WfW focuses our work. We do work closely with them to ensure that there is no duplication of work and they are able to grant us access to various local technical resources and expertise.

In this country, we depend on our partnerships with the Augustinian Volunteers and Villanova University.

  • Augustinian Volunteers- Formed in 2000, the Augustinian Volunteers (AV) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for recent college graduates to serve the poor and marginalized around the world. Water for Waslala was incorporated under the Augustinian Volunteers, based in Philadelphia, PA in 2004 and worked under that umbrella until we secured our own 501(c)(3) status in September 2009. Matt Nespoli first began WfW in 2004 working as an Augustinian Volunteer. JustinKnabb and Brian Strassburger, two other members of the board of directors, expanded our reach as Augustinian Volunteers in San Diego, CA in 2005 and New York, NY in 2006.

    Villanova engineers and community members in Waslala

  • Villanova University- The College of Engineering, College of Nursing and the School of Business provide technical knowledge and expertise on topics of water system design, public health and economic opportunities in the region.WfW and the College of Engineering initiated this partnership after a visit with Father Nelson and Father Cleto from the Parroquia Inmaculada in 2003.

WfW gains a great deal through these partnerships and we believe that our partners find benefits through these relationships as well. Working to bring potable water to communities requires us all to work together and utilize our skills and knowledge to work towards this common goal.


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