Mexico’s Government and Lazos de Agua aligned on water and sanitation strategy

Conagua, CEAG and the Guanajuato Project established a work route for 2021 and 2022, which foresees the consolidation of social attention processes with elements of the Social Art for Behaviour ChangeTM approach.

During the virtual meeting held on February 12 with the participation of the integration table composed of executives from the National Water Commission (Conagua), the Guanajuato State Water Commission (CEAG) and the Guanajuato Project -represented by its executing partner, Living Water International, and the One Drop™ Foundation- issues concerning the sustainability of water and sanitation services in rural communities in the state of Guanajuato were discussed.

This integration roundtable, formed in May 2020 to consolidate strategies and progress of the Guanajuato Project, established the work path to be followed during 2021 and 2022 with a view to strengthening communities and the consequent sustainability in the provision of water and sanitation services in rural communities.

This collaboration between state, federal and international water and sanitation agencies, sets innovative precedents in terms of service user care.

"It is important to highlight the involvement and interest of the Federal and State Governments in this coordination strategy because, although they already had working methodologies to strengthen the sustainability of drinking water and sanitation services in rural communities, they have found in this joint work a great added value by strengthening social participation and promoting behavioural changes in a more committed and effective way," said Edgar Abelleyra, country director of Living Water International Mexico Office.

Thanks to this initiative, it was agreed that the immediate step will be to articulate the intervention plan in the communities, which considers the participation of all the actors that make up the working group. To this end, the Guanajuato Project -part of the Lazos de Agua Program-, personnel from operating agencies and rural promoters of the municipality are working on the consolidation of social attention processes with the Social Art for Behaviour Change (SABC) approach of the One Drop Foundation. This consolidation will take place in different ways, simultaneously integrating the virtues of the Project and the existing governmental programs and interventions.

"El Bandido Escurridizo", a play that promotes hand washing at key moments. Presentation at the First Artistic Fair, in May 2019.

Through innovation, the Government outlines the way forward with the Guanajuato Project

At the conclusion of the meeting, the working group agreed on actions to provide efficient support, as well as to advise and train rural communities in water and sanitation services management. This, together with the incorporation of SABC tools in social care activities related to awareness-raising, promotion of participation and training, will contribute to the sustainability of the services.

With all of the above in mind, the following objectives were proposed, which will be developed through different strategies throughout 2021 and 2022:

  • Strengthen alliances among all the participants in the roundtable, who have the operational capacity to integrate the annual social assistance program of the state of Guanajuato.
  • Encourage community participation and organization, prior to the start of the social assistance process, to support the formalization, integration or ratification of water committees.
  • Motivate community participation through awareness-raising, promotion and training processes, using SABC tools and the "Cultura del Agua" program.
  • Strengthen the capacities of rural water committees in administrative, accounting and organizational issues, as well as in the operation and maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems, with a social focus.
  • Strengthen the capacities of the state and municipalities, in their areas of attention to rural communities, to ensure follow-up, accompaniment and support to the communities.

Juan Gabriel Segovia, General Director of Social Management, Guanajuato State Water Commission, addressing water, sanitation and hygiene project implementers at the One Drop Lab for Change 2019 event, special edition of Lazos de Agua. Photo credit: One Drop Foundation / Reco Films.

Juan Gabriel Segovia, CEAG's General Director of Social Management, commented: "It is impressive to see the percentage of progress we have achieved. We must highlight the importance of assigning responsibilities, in a clearer manner, to the people who will follow up on these advances, as this will ensure everyone's participation and we can continue to join efforts in this integration strategy".

The Guanajuato Project has been implemented since 2017 by Living Water International, in collaboration with CEAG and Conagua. These government entities are in charge of the execution of WASH infrastructure works, as the Access Component (A) of the project is integrated into the multi-million rural water and sanitation program of the state of Guanajuato.

As partners, interacting through components A (Access), B (Behaviour Change) and C (Capital) of the Guanajuato Project, these entities and other actors of Lazos de Agua Program have maintained a close collaboration that seeks the sustainability of water and sanitation services, supporting the state strategy of social care, innovative and comprehensive and replicable at the national level.

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