Q & A with Candida Escalante

In 2003, we introduced the Change for Children community to Candida, a resident of Santa Teresa, Nicaragua and the leader of her community water committee. A water well in Santa Teresa in 2004 changed the lives of women and children most profoundly and she started a women’s baseball league with their newly gained leisure time. Candida represented the Nicaragua Water Project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — leaving home for the first time — to accept the UN Equator Prize in 2012.

We recently caught up with Candida in her village of Santa Teresa.

Q: How has the Nicaragua Water Project changed your life?

A: The water project helped me to claim my rightful place as a community leader here. Once I understood that we all had a right to clean water and a duty to realize it, not only for ourselves but for our children and for future generations, we all began to work together to make it a reality. We formed a water committee, we got legal recognition for our committee and community title for the land on which the well and the tank were built and we lobbied the local municipality to cost share for the project with Change for Children.

Q: With the water well so close to your home, how has your life been different?

A: We as women and girls have more time — more time for work, more time for play, more time to help our kids with their homework, more time to care for our elders — because we are not spending so much time walking miles every day looking for water.

Q: How has clean water changed the community of Santa Teresa?

A: Clean water – exactly. The water we were getting from local lakes and rivers was not clean. Our kids were getting sick. They would miss school and parents would miss work. Now that we have a water well and we have access to clean water, we are healthy. And we can dedicate our time to realizing our other rights.

In The Field Nicaragua Water