Our Journey in Chullunkani, Bolivia
Chullunkani Water Project
Did you know that the average distance that women in rural communities of Africa, Asia and South America walk to collect water is 6 kilometers (almost 4 miles)? That is the equivalent of 40+ minutes that Adeleida from Chullunkani in Bolivia had to walk every day since she was a child, to collect water just to survive. The misery resulting from living without water nearby has been a reality too long for Adeleida and other residents of Chullunkani. It was in response to this very basic need that QBL’s members and staff supported this community and together inaugurated the Chullunkani Water Project in January of 2015. Understandably, the villagers were thrilled by the prospect of help from QBL! The need we have been addressing is basic, but so essential to human survival that the village residents were willing to invest their own funds, time and effort alongside with QBL in securing a badly needed solution.
Just one year later, construction of 20 wells and 20 pumps (one for each family) has been completed. This achievement is the product of philanthropic investment, local empowerment, and much hard work. The families involved are rightfully proud of their own work and appreciative of the support of QBL’s staff and financial support. The project not only established life-sustaining sources of clean water, but it also left a village feeling empowered, because its residents were partners in working toward the achievement of this magnificent outcome. With help from QBL, the residents realized their dreams for a more sustainable village and indigenous lifestyle. This experience was more than a means to an end. The established water source is critical to survival, but the village’s empowerment in the process can also catalyze further initiative toward other enhancements in the quality of life of these wonderful people.
We were honored to be welcomed by members of this Community and to hear their testimonials. Now having a sufficient quantity and quality of safe water at a short distance from their homes has changed the lives of Adeleida and all the villagers of Chullunkani. Today, the time saved is obviously reallocated to other activities like agriculture, raising their llamas and weaving of native products at their community center. These are proud people who now are free to follow their hearts, passions, and culture because they no longer need to labor merely for water.
The project has been extended to include service for toilets and water troughs for the sheep and llamas. A drainage system has been planned and developed so that gray water can be reused for irrigation purposes. Water supply and sanitation projects like this one have significant impacts on people’s lives, extending far beyond expected improvements to health and reduction in time spent collecting water. They empower people to live their lives consistent with their rich traditions.
Many rural communities in Bolivia like Chullunkani have sparse populations living in abject poverty, experience inadequate access to sanitation; and struggle to access water in rural areas. The quantity and quality of water in these areas has declined significantly due to climate change. As of 2015, only 76% have access to improved water sources. That is why QBL needs people like you. Your support and contributions give these communities that basic human right that we sometimes give it for granted.