Stages of an APLV Project, Step-by-step

First, the Request

The first step in a project is that the community must send a request letter (in Spanish, a solicitud). This letter provides the details about the community, including the number of families, possible water sources, names of the heads of household, estimated population, and the names of the leaders fo the community. It may also include a basic map of the community and possible water sources. 

Visit of the Water technician

At this point, an APLV water technician will visit the community and examine

  • Water sources, their quality and quantity.
  • The spirit of the community and its organization and attitudes.
  • Overall, the general possibility of project success.

Community Reports about Water Flow

At this point the community has to report each week of the dry season the water levels at the water source(s). This does two things. It demonstrates the commitment and follow-through of the community leaders, and also provides key input about the technical viability of the project.

Visit from the Full APLV Team

At this point, a complete team from APLV may visit the community. The team will consist of a Water Technician, a Social Promoter (Community Organizer), an Environmental Promoter, and a Health Promoter.

The tasks of this team on their visit are

  • Basic training for the community about the process of a project.
  • Visits to each household to determine their
    • Socioeconomic situation
    • Current services available to them (electricity, light, television, telephone, etc.)
    • How much they can pay for water
    • Condition of the house
    • If there is a latrine (outhouse), its condition.
    • Animal and trash management.
  • Legal aspects
    • Signing legal documents assuring property rights to the spring
    • Easements for the water pipelines
    • Laboratory water quality samples
    • Topography studies
    • Each family must sign a commitment to provide labor for the project.

Preparation of a Detailed Project Budget

Each of the promoters (Water Technician, Health Promoter, Environmental Promoter, and Social Promoter) must prepare a summary of all the information gathered, and create a budget and project plan.

Revision and Approval by the Board of Directors (and Fundraising)

Now that the proposal and budget are complete, the Board of Directors must review and approve it. Now the Board begins the process of finding funding for the project; this process may last a year or more.

Approval by the Municipality

In accordance with Nicaragua's Law 722 "Special Law of the Potable Water Committees", the municipality must participate in the project, and of course local governmental involvement is critical. Before the project can begin, the mayor must sign the agreement surroundingthe project and concerning the amount the municipality will contribute.

Immediate Project Preparation

At this point the project begins anew. The Social Promoter visits the community to obtain and verify the commitment of the community again. The promoter has to:

  • Organize the work groups for the actual manual labor.
  • Arrange the logistics of hospitality and food for the technicians and masons, and the provision of a secure storage area for materials.
  • Determine the start date for the work.
  • Obtain a full list of materials
  • Arrange for deliveries of materials to the community.

The Work Begins!

When the start date arrives, APLV sends to the community

  • One or more Water Technicians (graduates of the ETAP Water Technical School)
  • The project supervisor
  • The Social Promoter

The technicians and supervisor live in the community for the duration, which is usually 6-9 months, housed and fed by the community. Each family has to also provide one person's labor, which is usually two days per week for the duration of the project (a total of 50-150 work days!).

During this period the promoters of community organizing, health, and environment conduct all their trainings in order to arrive at a sustainable project. The majority of the trainings are for the Water Committee.

Construction begins with the "capture" of the spring which will serve as the water source, proceeds to the conduction line, the tank, the distribution network, and the individual household faucets.

Formal Project Turnover and Celebration

Of course, completion of a huge project like this deserves a great celebration. Normally a major celebration is held, which may include a representative of the donor organization. 

Sustainability

APLV's goal is for a project life to be 15 to 20 years. In order to accomplish this it is critical to make sure that the community is properly organized and trained, maintains collections of water fees and its treasury, and continues to maintain the system.

For this reason many, many trainings are completed in advance to make sure that everything functions correctly. But in the first year of operation, APLV monitors the community's operations and provides technical assistance.

After the first year, APLV visits the community annually to monitor the project from the social, operation and maintenance, and financial angles.

The "APLV Norms" (Spanish) document attached explains the life of a project in more technical and specific terms.