Today, as we mark World Water Day, established by the United Nations in 1992, ChildFund is implementing water solutions with long-term positive impact.
In the Andean community of Pastocalle, located in Ecuador’s Cotopaxi Province, a new irrigation water tank is helping families improve their children’s nutrition and health.
In the past, Pastocalle families have typically produced only corn, barley and chocho, a type of gourd. Harvested just once a year, these crops required little water.
Yet, they did not provide adequate nutrition for growing children. Due to the lack of vegetables in their diet, the children of Pastocalle were deficient in vitamins and at high risk for illnesses.
With the support of ChildFund and a local indigenous organization, the community decided to expand its food crops by building a water-collection tank.
The tank provides irrigation water to small parcels of land farmed by 97 families, allowing them to produce vegetables in every season. A local committee manages the irrigation tank, and families contribute to its maintenance. Irrigation was especially critical last year, due to the dry season.
Already, Pastocalle children are benefitting from a well-balanced diet, rich with home-grown vegetables. Child illnesses are on the decline. The families have embraced organic production methods and a forestation program to help protect water sources and ensure soil recovery through crop rotation.
Although most of the vegetables are grown for the families’ consumption, a reliable water source has led to some bumper crops. The families sell the surplus vegetables at a parish fair for additional income.
Water has made a precious difference to the children of Pastocalle.