Jenna Saldaña, who presented at the International Services February Lunch and Learn, has worked with water-related causes for 12 years, primarily with El Porvenir, a Nicaragua-based non-profit organization. In a nation where only 37% of the population has access to sanitation facilities, El Porvenir coordinates work trips to Nicaragua for North Americans, to support local workers on projects that provide health education, access to clean drinking water, and sanitation facilities. Saldaña is currently the director of El Porvenir’s US operations. She says the trips, and the universal human need for access to water, help North American travelers understand the commonalities between themselves and the communities they work with.
“There’s so much we have in common, globally,” she said. “When people travel to Nicaragua, they really begin to see that the people [in Nicaragua] are really like them, they have kids, they want their kids to get a good education, they just don’t want to spend five hours a day walking to get water.”
The International Federation of the Red Cross (the IFRC) has also worked extensively in projects attending to world water needs, from addressing the water-related causes of cholera outbreaks to providing water access in disaster areas. The IFRC’s Global Initiative on Water and Sanitation has grown to include more than 300 water-related projects, with 20 Red Cross societies and partners working in 56 host nations. The Initiative is projected to serve the water and sanitation needs of 30 million people by 2025.
For more information on El Porvenir, visit their Web site. For a full listing of global World Water Day events, visit the UN’s World Water Day site.