Queñuani Bajo Bathroom Project – Peru

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

Queñuani Bajo, Pucará District, Lampa Region, Puno, Peru

Community Description
Queñuani Bajo is a typical altiplano community spread out over the plains of the Pucará district at an elevation of 3,930 m (12,894 ft) above sea level. The community relies almost entirely on cattle husbandry and milk production as their source of income. It is a very dispersed community spread over a large area that is scattered with fields of alfalfa, oats, potatoes, and grazing animals. The local authorities of the community are very motivated to improve the economy and way of life in the community and the community members have been working hard to find ways to improve milk production in their cattle.

Problem Addressed
There is currently two gravity-fed water system in place that provides drinking water to the various sectors of Queñuani Bajo. During the dry season, the water supply drastically decreases and the community does not always have a secure supply of water throughout the entire day. A lack of a secure supply of water 24 hours a day presents many challenges including a lack of water for the community’s sanitation and hygiene needs.

In addition to water supply challenges, the community also has no source of hot water. The climate of the high elevation communities of the altiplano can be very harsh and cold throughout the entire year and taking a cold shower is very unpleasant. A lack of a secure supply of water 24 hours a day in addition to a complete lack of warm water has a major impact on the hygiene and quality of life in the community.

Project Description
This project will improve the bathroom facilities of 10 interested families by installing a 150 L solar water heater and a 600 L plastic storage tank to ensure both a secure supply of water 24 hours a day as well as a supply of hot water. The plastic storage tanks will act as a backup water supply when there is no water in the community water distribution system.

Water Charity funds will be used to buy solar water heaters and plastic storage tanks. The installation of the water heaters is included in the price, so the company will be in charge of transporting and installing the water heaters in the community.

In order to function properly, the plastic storage tank needs to be installed at least 1.50 meters above the base of the water heater. Benefiting community members will be responsible for building a platform to elevate their storage tank to the correct height and installing and connecting the storage tanks to the incoming community water supply. In addition, they will be responsible for installing the necessary piping and accessories to connect both the cold and hot water supplies to their bathrooms and to the rest of the house.

An important value of the Chijnaya Foundation, the NGO administering this project, is that community development should come from the community and simply giving money can be unsustainable in the long run, so the Chijnaya Foundation implements rotating loan funds in their network of communities to fund projects. Rotating loan funds are similar to a regular loan in that the community has to pay back the money. However, the funds they pay back will remain in the community as a source of funding for future community projects. Any time funds are used they must be paid back and interest rates are applied. These funds provide communities with a way to self-sustainable implement projects.

Because this project involves providing materials to individuals and not building a system to benefit the entire community, rotating loan funds will be applied, meaning that each family benefiting from the project will pay back half of the cost of the system and this money will be put in the rotating loan fund of the community to be used for future projects.

Project Impact
62 people will benefit from the project.

Project Administration
The project will be administered by Ralph Bolton, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru,’62-’65), and founder and director of The Chijnaya Foundation. Work will be done under the direction of Chijnaya’s operational arm, Asociación Pro-DIA, a legally-constituted Peruvian counterpart.

On-the-ground work is being managed by Kimmy Mazza, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru,’16-’18).

Monitoring and Maintenance
The community members will be trained on the operation and maintenance of the solar water heaters and elevated plastic storage tanks and they will collect funds sufficient to maintain the system, conduct repairs, and perform replacements when necessary.

Project Funding
Please contribute to the project by clicking on the Donate button. Funds raised in excess of the project amount will be allocated to other projects in Peru.