It’s a sad paradox: the communities living along the Aguarico River cannot use the water because it is contaminated. However, it’s a fortunate coincidence that the private sector has committed to supporting the reduction of child malnutrition. This is happening right now.
What has happened for the Siekopai in these communities is very significant and is a small-scale example of what can be done for the entire country. Toyota in Ecuador has taken the lead in the #AguaSegura (Safe Water) initiative.
It is evident that one of the most urgent problems in Ecuador is child malnutrition. And it is equally evident that quality water is a determining factor in the good nutrition of Ecuadorian children.
The Japanese company understood this reality and took advantage of the legal option to use a 150% deductibility in the calculation of the taxable base of the Income Tax in exchange for effectively supporting the fight against child malnutrition.
“The Raíz Foundation” is the executor of the #AguaSegura project, which will provide water for human use and consumption to nine indigenous communities located on the banks of the Aguarico River.
Yanalpa, Yamajeet, Sekoya Remolino, Bellavista, Abokewira, Taikua, Charap, Nueva Esperanza y Pucapeña are the communities that will receive this benefit; they are integrated into the Shushufindi canton.
For over 50 years, oil exploration and exploitation activities, along with the constant extraction and refining of palm oil, have been contaminating water sources. The daily task of obtaining water, incredibly, consumes a significant portion of women’s energy.
Contaminated water causes diseases, including increased mortality, chronic child malnutrition, and cancer. This fact is not very noticeable because the population is scattered in small settlements of 5 to 15 families, in remote areas with only river access.
In this regard, water suitable for human consumption is defined as water used for drinking, preparing and cooking food, or other domestic uses, regardless of its origin and supply, with physical, chemical, and microbiological characteristics that ensure its safety and acceptability for human consumption.
In each community, metal towers supporting 2,500-liter water tanks are being constructed. They also have a filter and a chlorinator. From here, pipes are laid to supply each household in the community.
Additionally, a well is drilled to reach the water source. Then, the liquid is pumped to the tanks with solar-powered submersible pumps, in a clear commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
For the proper functioning of the system in the intervention area, the comprehensive plan includes 9 wells, 6 towers, and 10 pumping systems. In each community, two people are being trained to take charge of the operation and maintenance. Additionally, four systems have been rehabilitated.
In total, 560 people will benefit, of whom 307 are children.
The President of Toyota, Hiroshi Kitahara, traveled to the Secoya Remolino community. Colón Piaguaje was his guide, serving as the project coordinator in the territory. Juan Fernando Serrano, from “The Raíz Foundation”, has overseen all the project details. The result of this positive encounter has been a positive outcome in the fight against child malnutrition. Diego Falconí, Technical Secretary of “Ecuador Grows Without Child Malnutrition”, verified this and also certified that this project is an effective method for the national fight against malnutrition.
#AguaSegura is a relevant example of how private companies can benefit from tax deductibility and, at the same time, benefit poor communities in desperate need of everything.