Ecuador: Testimony of Luis Tavara

The Social Program Director for the NGO “Hogar de Cristo<sup>1”</sup> established at the heart of Monte Sinaí when the “Agua del Sinaí” project was created, he remains in touch with the district’s population today.

“Agua del Sinaí’s success lies in community involvement based on a relationship of trust. After outlining the beginnings of the project, Frédéric Certain contacted “Hogar de Cristo” to meet the residents. Participatory meetings were organized in their homes to design the program together. This way of humbly and unpretentiously approaching the population of a neighborhood with a dangerous reputation allowed a climate of trust to be created. It is important to state that for the highly religious (mostly Christian) population, this approach also had a spiritual dimension.

When they understood that they couldn’t be connected to the municipal network before 2025, most of the population rallied behind the truck distribution alternative. A hectare of land purchased for the supply station has been devoted to community development. Training sessions organized by Veolia staff members for residents, focused on plumbing, urban agriculture, microcredits, etc., continue to be held there. At present, each inhabitant ensures that the water distribution service runs smoothly. As well as improving access to water, thanks to its participatory approach, Agua del Sinaí’s implementation has led to a sense of empowerment2 and social cohesion. The interest shown by Veolia in inhabitants who had long been ignored by everyone does away with the stereotype of a multinational.”

1. Active in the neighborhood in the following areas: social housing (building pioneers), solidarity economy, protecting women, community development, education, health, and food safety.
2. A term that appeared in the context of social movements (such as defending women’s rights) to describe opposition to a form of imposed hierarchical authority, and encourage the social, economic and political emancipation of a community so that it can act by itself in complete independence.