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Safe Water Committees: Love, Excellence, and Integrity

Amor, excelencia, integridad. 

These three words—love, excellence, integrity—are painted on each family’s Healthy Latrine in the rural community of Santa Elena, Peru. These are Water Mission’s core values, the principles that underlie all our efforts.

In 2016, Water Mission implemented a safe water system in Santa Elena, followed by the installation of nearly 120 Healthy Latrines in 2017 and 175 more this year. This work would not have been possible without our partners’ generosity. One partner, Rotary International, has collaborated on over 70% of Water Mission’s projects in Peru. Another, Kohler, is a long-time partner of Water Mission and donated all the pour-flush toilets used in Santa Elena’s Healthy Latrines.

a woman shows a mother and child a Water Mission Healthy Latrine.
A family learns how to care for their new Water Mission Healthy Latrine.

At the foundation of every Water Mission project is the community’s Safe Water Committee (SWC). The SWC is comprised of dedicated community leaders who partner to manage the water project’s day-to-day and long-term operations.

Santa Elena’s SWC beautifully demonstrates the core values of love, excellence, and integrity. The leaders teach critically needed healthy hygiene behaviors to their neighbors and take great pride in ensuring the safe water system and the community’s latrines are in pristine condition.

“I will work so that the community will keep their latrines perfect,” said Manuel Vilchez, a beloved community leader and SWC president. “I promise to visit each family to check on them and make sure they know how to properly clean the latrine.”

Water Mission’s holistic approach to safe water and sanitation solutions blends our technical expertise with empowering communities. By driving improvements in health, education, and economic growth, communities begin to thrive. SWCs like the one in Santa Elena are key to long-term success. They carry forward our core values of love, excellence, and integrity in their communities, allowing the solutions we develop to endure for years to come.

“We thank God for…making this dream a reality,” Manuel said. “The community has hope that will endure. The history book of Santa Elena will have written what you are doing for us.”