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Right to Water, Women's Rights


ico acqua internaesamor 1Access to water and sanitation: empowerment of women and social inclusion in the micro-region Norte Morazàn, El Salvador



El Salvador, Department of Morazán



From February 1, 2015 until January 31, 2018




El Salvador has a very high poverty rate, especially in rural areas, a situation that prevents the local population from accessing basic services, including adequate sanitation. Only 25% of land in El Salvador is covered by a sewer system. The Department of Morazán is located in a very isolated area, and only 64% of the population has access to potable water. This basic need has prompted an association of municipalities to give priority to the sustainable management of water resources. ACRA, in collaboration with these municipalities, with the local NGO SABES and together with other national and international institutions started an integrated project to augment the access to water and sanitation, a project that will have tangible impacts on more levels: community management of water services, social inclusion, women's empowerment in decision-making.



General Objectives:

  • To contribute to equitable and sustainable development through the efficient management of water resources and through the democratic governance of water;
  • To help improve the hygienic conditions of the population, especially women and children;
  • To help eradicate extreme poverty and improve the quality of life, food security and nutrition, in line with the priorities of the National Development Plan.

More specifically:

  • To increase access to water and improved sanitation in five municipalities in the micro-region of North Morazàn (El Salvador), with a strong focus on women's rights and those of vulnerable groups.




  • Development and implementation of an inter-institutional and inter-municipal action plan to overcome the discrimination of women and vulnerable groups in critical areas: drafting of a manual, implementation of training sessions aimed at technicians (men and women) of municipalities and Water and Sanitation Committees on issues of equality, inclusion, fairness, and the environment; drafting of a communication plan on the same issues aimed at the general population and at the organizations responsible for water management and sanitation.
  • Participation in events organized as part of Expo 2015 and Expo dei Popoli in Milan, also with the participation of a delegation of women from El Salvador.
  • Execution of a study on the technical, financial and management feasibility of priority infrastructure.
  • Implementation and supervision of works, with the help of the community.
  • Technical training of members (women and men) of the Committees on the maintenance of the systems.
  • Training of the Water Committees of the five municipalities on organizational and administrative management systems, which included the presence of women and vulnerable groups.
  • Technical assistance regarding the design, implementation and functioning of the systems by a public water services company.
    Participatory implementation of the existing Municipal Action Plans (PAM) approved by COMIGIA (Microregional Committee on Integrated Water Management): water assessment studies, protection of water sources, water safety plans for the developed systems.
  • Participatory implementation of the Municipal Action Plans for the Conservation of Water Sources: reforestation, soil protection, drainage, and processing proposals for municipal decrees.
  • Inventory of the requirements for small households and municipal works, to improve the hygienic conditions of the population.
    Design and implementation of the Sanitation Plan based on the methodology ESCASAL (Escuela y Casa Saludable) approved at the municipal level: training “house to house”, implementation of small activities to improve family hygiene (supply of filters, mosquito nets, litter boxes, elimination of wetlands, improvement of roofs and latrines etc.).
  • Realization of small sanitation projects which are considered a priority in schools, health centers and other public places.



Direct beneficiaries:

  • The 11,068 inhabitants of the municipalities of Arambala, El Rosario, Perquín, Torola and San Fernando, located in a remote and marginal area. 52% are women and 87,81% lives in rural areas, and only 64% has access to potable water, while 18,46% lacks access to basic sanitation.

Indirect beneficiaries:

  • The 261,261 inhabitants of the Cuenca del Río Torola, of which 52% are women. The latter will have access to a less polluted river and will have a better access to water over time.




The essence of the project is to involve, at all levels of implementation, the municipal authorities and institutions of the region, and to render executive a municipal and inter-municipal action plan on human rights and access to water and sanitation, to ensure the social-political sustainability of the intervention. At the social level the systematic involvement of beneficiaries will be ensured through the mechanisms of public participation: municipal assemblies, Committees of Water and Sanitation, committees of women, etc. Financial sustainability will be guaranteed by the introduction of a tariff system based on consumption, processed and approved by the users in a participatory way. Municipal technicians will be integrated within the project’s team in order to ensure ownership of the process and to promote the continuity and replicability of the initiatives undertaken.



Total value:
1,590,629 €


Principal funder:


mae Ministero degli Affari Esteri - Cooperazione Italiana


SABES - Association for Basic Sanitation, Health Education and Alternative Energies
AMNM - Association of Municipalities of North Morazán


Other agencies involved:

  • EUSKAL Fondoa
  • City of Bilbao
  • Alianza por el Agua
  • Fons Catala
  • MARN - Ministry of the Environment (El Salvador)
  • MINSA - Ministry of Health (El Salvador)
  • MINED - Ministry of Education (El Salvador)