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2023 UN International Women’s Day

Women Leaving a Legacy of Clean, Safe Water

Water Mission is proud to celebrate the UN’s International Women’s Day, recognizing the achievements and contributions of women that make our world a better place.  

The women who work with Water Mission’s safe water project in San Martin de Letira, Peru, embody what this day seeks to honor. Their leadership, collaboration, and community-building efforts help ensure their San Martin de Letira has access to clean, safe water. Through their example they are modeling how women can make a difference in the world. 

Prior to 2013, the people of San Martin de Letira lacked access to safe water. The health and well-being of their community were transformed when Water Mission completed a safe water project, providing more than 1,400 people with access to clean, safe water. As part of the implementation process, the community held elections and formed a Safe Water Committee to oversee the water system long-term.  

Uniquely, the safe water project in San Martin de Letira has had strong female leadership from the very beginning. Now, 10 years later, women hold almost every role on the safe water committee, including the presidential position, as well as the technical and operations roles. 

Led by Miriam (third from left at the table), the Safe Water Committee meets regularly to discuss the needs of the community and the best way to steward the safe water project.

Maria, the community’s safe water system operator for the past 10 years, said, “I feel proud to be able to contribute to my community by doing this work through the teamwork of the committee.” 

Leading Through Adversity
When the local municipality threatened to close the water plant based on false assumptions about the water’s safety, Miriam, the Safe Water Committee president rose to the occasion. She worked closely with the committee and the community to provide evidence that successfully proved the system provided safe, treated, quality water. The community continues to have access to clean, safe water because of her leadership.  

Achieving Personal Growth 

Cecilia’s technical responsibilities are preparing her for future opportunities.

The opportunities with the safe water committee have also allowed Cecilia to use her skills to give back to the community. As she has assumed responsibility for the chlorine dosing and backwash components of the water system, Cecilia says she has learned a lot about organization, teamwork, and the technical aspects of making water safe. She feels this role has equipped her for future responsibilities and has given her a sense of personal improvement.  

María has been the system operator for more than 10 years. She says this role has helped her grow personally because she only had the opportunity to go to school through fourth grade and now she has been able to learn new things to help serve her community.

Equipping the Next Generation
Beyond their personal growth, the women in this community embody the spirit celebrated on International Women’s Day by passing on what they’ve learned. Maria Ellen seeks to teach her daughters and other girls in the community how to grow up to be strong women. As Maria Ellen collects water for her family, she brings her daughters along to show them the opportunities available for women to participate in things like the safe water committee.  

Strong female leadership on the Safe Water Committee exemplifies the meaning of International Women’s Day, and provides Maria Ellen’s daughters, Fabiola and Carla, with role models for their future.

Are you interested in learning more about the global water crisis and how Water Mission team serves our global neighbors? Visit watermission.org/get-involved/ or follow us on social media at @water_mission on Twitter and Instagram or @WaterMissions on Facebook.  



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