According to studies, over 844 million people are part of the global water crisis and lack the basic, safe drinking water needed for survival. This is six times the population of the United States of America.
Therefore, along with other major world issues like plastic pollution and global warming, its high time we act unitedly to come up with a solution to the increasing water crisis.
While most of us are yet to play our roles in conserving water, twenty-eight-year-old Jenifer Colpas is already making a mark and how! In a bid to eliminate water and sanitation issues, she has formed Tierra Grata, a social enterprise that sets out to address the need for basic energy, water, and sanitation services in Colombia.
They install low-cost bathrooms with ecological toilets that do not require water, saving 270,000 liters of water per year. Apart from that, Colpas and her team train women in good water and sanitation practices. Speaking about the same, the young lady says,
“Water and sanitation issues sit at the intersection of environmental and social concerns. Lacking water and sanitation solutions contribute to disease, stagnation and the pollution of natural waterways.”
However, Colpas adds that during her time in India, she was shocked to see the people around her living without the basic facilities required for a healthy lifestyle. Working as an IT professional then she felt that her work is not doing any good to these people who are struggling with poverty. She returned to Columbia to witness a similar situation and that is when she decided to form Tierra Grata.
When I was living in India, there was a particular moment that opened my eyes to the social inequalities that persist. At the time, I was working in the Information Technology sector and started feeling that my work was not helping to reduce the conditions of poverty that so many people around me lived in and that I saw every day on the street.
When I was back in Colombia, I started observing similar poverty in my city, and began volunteering in different organizations. I was truly outraged by the fact that people lived without the most basic things, like access to electricity, a proper toilet and safe drinking water. This is why, together with a group of friends, I decided to create Tierra Grata to work on providing solutions for these challenges and improve the quality of life in the communities.
Speaking about the work they do and how it benefits the environment, she says,
We provide low-cost and very easy-to-install bathrooms and ecotoilets, which improve the quality of life for many people, while taking care of the environment. It is important to promote innovative solutions that serve environmental as well as social purposes and that empower communities to become more productive and to spark development.
We focus on households headed by women, or households where a large number of girls and women live. We seek to train them in using our technologies, as well as repairing and maintaining them, and to establish their role in the community. Women act as the main representation of Tierra Grata in communities.
Her dream is to see millions of people with access to safe drinking water and the basic daily needs for a healthy lifestyle.
Hats off to you, Jenifer Colpas. People like you make this world a better place to live in.