Business & Economy

Access to water improves quality of life for women in Latin America

Puerto Morelos (Mexico), Nov 30 (EFE).- Giving women dignity and improving their quality of life in Latin America is one of the main contributions of the Lazos de Agua initiative, a program that has brought drinking water to 200,000 people in the region, says Andrea Mota, Sustainability & Stakeholders Engagement Director at Coca-Cola Company Latin America.

Improving the lives of these women through the program quickly extends to the families and communities in countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Paraguay, Mota said Tuesday in an interview in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.

The Caribbean port town of Puerto Morelos celebrated the completion of the first phase of the Lazos de Agua project with representatives of all the public and private organizations that participated in the initiative, during which Mota stressed “the change of life” among the female population.

One of the cases that she said struck her the most and that enabled her to see the problem from a different angle, was that of a woman who explained what she had to go through to bring water to her house.

“A lady who seemed very old to me, with a face of suffering, told me about the change in her life by not having to walk so many kilometers carrying the weight of water, of her children who could not go to school because the water was contaminated and when he told me her age I couldn’t believe it, she was much younger than me,” Mota said.

In rural communities, she explained, it is the woman’s job to provide water for the family and that task involves working up to six hours a day, which causes great physical and emotional drain.

Mota indicated that close to 60% of the population impacted by programs such as Lazos de Agua are women.

“A woman who receives this support, this training, is not looking back, she does not retreat once she advances, she sees the changes in her life and they are definitive,” she pointed out.

Mota said that the program has “a model that is proven, that works, that is good, that generates results” and for phase two we want to make it even stronger or more relevant and clear, we want to bring in other investors and scale and potentiate even more in other countries, other communities, I think this would be most relevant at this time.”

On this point, Ernenek Duran, senior director of programs for Latin America at the One Drop Foundation, recalled that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number six relating to universal access to water is far from being reached.

“There are people who have access to water three times a week or one day, there are others who have continuity, but do not have quality. I would say that in the sector we are late to achieve the SDG by 2030, we have to accelerate the pace and we have to do it together,” he said.

The pandemic, Ernenek Duran told EFE, showed that we are not prepared and that the gaps are enormous.

“The messages of wash your hands exploded everywhere, the campaigns at the national level in countries, at the regional level in states, or in the different territories, but how do you ask that of someone who does not have access to water?” Duran said.

“We have to think in a more systemic way, collaborate more between sectors, between the same organizations and I think that it is something that Lazos de Agua is promoting, the four partners that we bet on six years ago tested a model that does work and now we are clear that we have to go faster,” he said. EFE



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