"Women's Involvement Matters"

Karen Alexandra Laguna Torres
Age: 26 years old
Community: El Cristalito, El Jicaral
Water Committee Secretary

“I studied a professional career. I have a degree in Business Administration, but in the moment, I do not work in that career. I work at home; I take care of my family and housework.

The truth is, I never imagined being on this committee. I actually attended the assembly meeting to find out what the process would be to establish a community’s own water service system. It took me by surprise when several people proposed me for the position of secretary, and so I said to myself, “wow! they took me into account.”

I accepted, mostly as a challenge, because this is a challenge trying to serve on the Committee. Although it seems easy, it is somewhat difficult. You are representing an entire community, and I do not want to disappoint the trust they have placed in me.

Previously, I participated a lot in other community activities: I coordinated events on behalf of the Catholic Church, leading youth groups for youth ministry and some spiritual retreats. As I have interacted with many people, for me every event is a challenge, because it is based on the trust people place in me. It makes you grow as a person, both professionally and spiritually.”

It is always important to promote the presence of women in all informative or planned assemblies to decide important issues. Women’s involvement matters when deciding the type and design of water systems, how many meters of ditches contributed per family, the location, and the type and number of water intakes that are needed.

As CAPS members, we explained the procedures to build the water system and the contributions needed from the community to complete the investment. We arranged with SIMAS, representing funds coming from CFCA Canada, other funders, the community, and the mayor of El Jicaral.

We made known the number of meters of trenching each water user was required to contribute. Some (20%) expressed that they did not have economic resources to pay for someone else to do this, and so they would do the excavations themselves. The majority (80%) agreed to give financial contributions to cover their part. Everyone signed the agreement in the minutes of the CAPS meeting confirming these contributions. We already have more than 90% progress on compliance.

The change in my life is the greater integration I have had with the community. I am not a person who usually goes out a lot. More than anything else, I am more of a homebody. Now I share more experiences and I see the needs of my community.

I have been interacting more with people outside my community. In addition to the training sessions I have received, I have had the opportunity to interact with other CAPS leaders in surrounding communities, such as La Montañita, Las Pilas, and El Carrizal where I had no idea that CAPS existed.”

In The Field Central America and the Caribbean Nicaragua Water