Advantage Austria Show navigation

Austrian Energy Globe Award awarded to House of the Children for Manu Rainforest Expansion Project

May 3, 2013

Access to Clean Water for Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon Region

Mrs. Nancy Santullo, founder of House of the Children, was awarded the 2013 Energy Globe Award for Peru. The small ceremony took place on May 2nd, 2013 at the Austrian Trade Commission in Los Angeles in the presence of Mrs. Nancy Santullo, her Peruvian partner Mr. Caleb Matos Chávez (Casa de los Niños Indígenas), the Consul General of Peru Mrs. Liliana Cino, the Consul General of Austria Mrs. Karin Proidl and the Austrian Trade Commissioner Rudolf Thaler.

“House of the Children” (HOTC) is a non-profit organization that together with its Peruvian partner “Casa de los Niños Indigenas” provides clean water and sanitation infrastructure to indigenous peoples living in the Manú National Park in the southeast of the Peruvian Amazon region. The Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and with its 19,000 square kilometres one of the largest tropical reserves in the world. The community of Yomybato is the third village to benefit from the programme, which is scheduled to assist altogether nine villages over a period of twelve years. The founder and executive director of HOTC, Nancy Santullo, recognised the urgent need for infrastructure to assure the long-term provision of clean water in the remote, protected regions of the indigenous cultures when she learned about the death of 13 persons (of which eight were babies) from a harmful water-borne virus in the Manú National Park a few years ago. This incident proved to be the impetus for her fight against the causes of the deaths.

Nancy is originally a professional photographer, but now she manages the development and implementation of the project and is responsible for its sustainability. So far, 700 people in the rainforest, (among them 1/3 are children under the age of 15) have received not just access to clean water and hygienic sanitary installations but also a basic health education. Low-tech bathrooms and water systems with sand filters are built in schools and in private households, killing 99.99% of all bacteria. The indigenous population receives moreover technical and professional training for the water connection and sanitary installations. This makes the project self-sustaining, because the experts apply their knowledge within the community thus passing it on.

The biggest challenge for the implementation of this project were physical exertions: Yomybato village is very remote and all necessary materials had to be transported for one day by land, four days by boat along a river and then for another stretch on the villagers’ backs. Despite this, an environmentally friendly water system that delivers clean water to 23 tap stands at individual village homes have already been installed. But much remains to be done in the next couple of years. HOTC engaged itself to build sanitation infrastructure at the village school and provide additional health and technical education in Yomybato for four more years. The project is financed by a foundation, subsidies and private donors.

Filtered drinking water in the rainforest
Environmentally friendly bathrooms for the village school and private homes
Health and hygiene education for indigenous inhabitants
Technical training for the population
Know-how transfer means the project becomes self-sustaining

Indigenous peoples in the Peruvian Amazon region receive low-tech water systems and sanitary installations as well as health and hygiene education without experiencing restrictions in their traditional way of life.

Nancy Santullo: “I always say that what I do is disguised as water and sanitation, but what it’s really about is awakening the hopes and desires of the people.”

Links:
http://www.houseofthechildren.org
http://www.energyglobe.info/en/award/about-the-award/

print
©©ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA