Empower families in Peru with safe water and toilets

From the sandy Pacific coastline to the windy peaks of the Andes, Peru is diverse in terrain and rich with history. Evidenced by the respect and pride of its people, Peru respects the ancient ruins that span the country and remembers the indigenous tribes that influenced its culture today. From the flavorful spices to the brightly tined alpaca wool that make up their rich food and dress, Peruvians celebrate all that their South American land has to offer. And while there is much to celebrate, the people are still in need of some of life's most basic resources.

Today, 3 million Peruvians lack access to safe water and 8 million lack access to a toilet. This is almost one-third of the entire country in need of water or toilets. While access to both has improved in recent years, significant shortfalls in both public infrastructure and household facilities remain. Throughout Peru, urban water and sanitation coverage is higher than rural coverage, and many rapidly growing peri-urban communities face limited access to these basic services. Communities like Yolanda's.

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Yolanda shares her story from her sewing room where she makes men's suits for a living.

Yolanda is a hopeful, determined woman. We know this because every day she works to provide water for her family. Her home sits above the city of Cusco in the Andes Mountain range, elevated more than 2,000 feet above the center of town. Yolanda purchases buckets of water from residents in town. At least every other morning, she makes her way down the steep, rocky road from her house to buy as much water as she can carry back up the more than one- mile vertical trek.

While we can’t move the mountains Yolanda calls home, Water.org can empower Yolanda to move the financial barrier standing between her family and safe water. Water.org is sharing our expertise and vision with municipalities and utilities in Peru. For families like Yolanda’s, we are working with utilities to ensure households even at the highest point of Cusco City are able to connect to a source of water. We work with the utilities so that they can attract the financial capital needed to expand water and sanitation services as well as to develop and offer affordable options for low-income consumers to connect.

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Liliana enjoys coffee made with water from her faucet at home in Peru.

Liliana also lives in Peru, but her home is closer to the urban capital, Lima. When she became a mom, Lilian knew she didn’t want her daughter to grow up like she had, without access to water or a toilet. So Liliana sought a solution. Recognizing millions of Peruvians just a little financial help to get access to water at home, Water.org already laid the groundwork for the solutions Liliana wanted by equipping financial partners like Caja Sullana to offer small loans to people living in poverty so those families could construct their own water taps and toilets. 

With a small, affordable loan, Liliana installed a water tap and a private bathroom. Now rather than walk to find water, Liliana is able to sell makeup to repay her loan. Liliana shared, “Water is a basic need for life...for food, cleaning, and bathing. My daughter, my husband and I…we can’t live without it.”

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Andres fills a laundry tub with water from his tap.

Like Yolanda and Liliana, a daily need for a household water connection inspired Andres in Peru to learn more about how a small loan could help him get the water he needed. After teaching more than 30 years in Lima, a retired Andres was ready to focus on his life at home - in his garden and enjoying time with family. But, the burden of the water crisis left little time for such pleasures. Until retirement Andres had access to water during the day at his school facility. Now home all day - he needed more water to do daily chores and to grow limes for a living. Laundry, meals, bathing, and the garden all called for him to seek a solution, and thanks to Water.org's partners in Peru, one was possible. A small loan empowered Andres with a way to affordably finance his water connection. Now he can grow more limes to sell and repay his loan with a portion of his earnings. The rest of the time and money Andres uses to enjoy his life at home now.

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Andres picks fresh limes from his trees.

Our solutions focus on empowerment through access to affordable financing. Evidenced by Yolanda and Liliana's stories, access to funds is the only thing that stands between millions of Peruvians in need, and safe water and sanitation in their home. Our solutions focus on breaking down this financial barrier and bringing hope and opportunity to the people of Peru and around the world. Read more about the lives we're helping change in Peru.