of Colombia's rural population doesn't have access to sanitation facilities.

Only 75% of those living in rural areas in Colombia have access to an improved water supply

30% of the population La Guajira lives in extreme poverty

Despite Colombia's economic growth over the past decade, there is inequality in access to water, sanitation and hygiene, particularly in rural areas.

Decades of armed conflict, drug-trafficking, widespread corruption, internal displacement, and weak government institutions have marred progress and established disparities in access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene services (WASH).

In Colombia, national averages indicate that 97% of the population has access to improved drinking water and 85% has improved sanitation, but a closer look at the rural population reveals a different story; only 68% use improved sanitation facilities and only 75% have access to an improved water supply.

With the goal of reaching the poorest and most marginalized populations with access to WASH, WaterAid is focusing on the Department of La Guajira. WaterAid’s program builds on the foundation of Aguayuda, a small international NGO with significant expertise in the region-specific challenges and WASH solutions.

Our approach

WaterAid is helping to improve and expand access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services in La Guajira by building and strengthening local capacity to operate and maintain sustainable and resilient WASH services. In Colombia, WaterAid will:

1. Train local people to adopt, install and maintain water supply systems based on windmill, hand, and solar-driven pumps, and water storage tanks. Training is adapted to local culture and provided in both Spanish and the indigenous Wayúunaiki language.

2. Implement and experiment with technologies, methodologies and practices that have proven to be successful in similar conditions in other countries where WaterAid works.

3. Organize a water committee for each community to ensure the sustainability of WASH solutions. Water committees are trained to install, maintain, and operate waterpoints. 

4. Strengthen coordination and promote opportunities to improve service provision by engaging established actors and networks at the local, national and regional level in joint efforts. 

5. Address the effects of climate change on water security. WaterAid encourages communities to conserve their environment and ensure resilient water sources.