The diploma course was held within the framework of capacity building and in partnership with the Pan American Development Foundation - PADF and the University of Cauca: "Sustainable Management of Rural Water and Sanitation. The diploma course took place between January 17 and April 15, 2020 with a total of 72 participants from local, community and institutional organizations, from different municipalities such as: Popayán, Cali, Caloto, Santander de Quilichao and Corinto.
In rural areas of Colombia, given the challenges in serving water, communities have organized collectively to found what we know today as community aqueducts. These processes are led by community leaders who work for the well-being of their communities, providing water in their homes in an autonomous and artisanal manner.
This practice, which is extremely important for the territorial development of Colombia's municipalities, motivated the Swiss Embassy - Humanitarian Aid and Development (COSUDE) to initiate a process of diagnosis and design of the ASIR-SABA model, with the aim of contributing to the construction of peace in the country, supporting community water management.
This is how ASIR-SABA encompasses strategic lines that seek to contribute to the improvement of community water management processes. As a result, the diploma course is part of the effort to provide participants with knowledge and socio-technical tools to strengthen community water and rural sanitation management processes in municipalities with complex dynamics and territorial control by armed actors. The aim is to create spaces that allow for the exchange of knowledge regardless of the levels of schooling, positions and much less the perceptions of each and every one of them about the world.
On the contrary, there are "institutions and communities on the same level, listening to others, receiving community experiences and recognizing that they have knowledge that the institution often does not know, and in the same way, the community understands the institutional norms that are always aimed at contributing to the quality of life of the men and women who live in rural areas," said participant Marlene de Jesús Ángulo, Secretary of Infrastructure for the Mayor's Office of Caloto.
This diploma course broadened the knowledge of the participants in
Weaving new knowledge about community water management together
During this time of learning, participants learned about the experience of the Mondomo and San Pedro de Santander community aqueducts in Quilichao, Cauca, learned about types of treatment systems, exchanged knowledge about various forms of sanitation and modifications that can be made to septic tanks. They also recognized the importance of recycling, proper use of water and care for the environment.
In this way the graduate enriched their experience so that this knowledge can be replicated in their community and institutional processes. Since everyone considers it important for the communities.
Eliasib Quiguapumbo, leader of the Paéz indigenous people and water manager, says that "through the improvement of the supply system, education on the rights of access to water, the organization of community aqueducts and the approach to new technologies, the quality of life of rural families is improved".
Thus, the diploma course Sustainable Management of Water and Rural Sanitation builds peace because it is designed collectively so that together they contribute to community water management from daily actions in the spaces and places where communities live, understanding that all people need water to live.
It also allows community aqueducts and institutions to organize themselves and offer a quality service to people living in the Colombian countryside.