Organized in teams led by their school teachers, the children identify water issues in their area, and then formulate and implement an action-research project. They have the support of their teachers, in addition to the national and international scientific community. SieNi provides them with financial support and coordinates the process.
The results of the children’s research contributes to the regional water observatories.
Each team consists of 10 to 20 children led by their school teacher. Their mission is to develop and implement a research project on water, based on a diagnosis of issues around their local water supplies.
If their project is validated by SieNi , the team receives funding to carry it out and agrees to participate in the regional water observatory.
trained on how to guide their students during the various stages of identifying,
designing and implementing the research projects and how to lay the groundwork
for the construction of a regional water observatory. The training promotes active and research-based
Three training workshops are held throughout the school year:
- Workshop 1: Characterization of the state of local water supplies
- Workshop 2 : Project Design for Action Research
- Workshop 3 : Inauguration of regional water observatory
Each water team has a mentor: a scientist specialized in water, based in Colombia or abroad. The mentor interacts with his/her team in real time using digital media. He/She meets with the team once a month.
The mentor ensures the scientific quality of the work of the water team.
At the end of the school year, water teams form a regional observatory of water. The observatory is both a physical space, a stage to raise, discuss and debate issues around water; and a virtual space, a database storing the water teams’ findings that helps to identify and monitor the water situation in the region. The observatory will help guide policies on water in Colombia with the participation of local communities.
Thanks to the support of universities, the children and teachers remain linked to the observatory long after SieNi’s intervention.
Our first mission is to implement a pilot project that will begin in 2017. The pilot will allow us to evaluate our strategy and the quality of our relationships with our partners, before growing the initiative nationwide.
The direct beneficiaries of the pilot will be 600 children between 10 and 16 years of age, divided into 30 water teams, led by 30 teachers. The indirect beneficiaries will be at least 1,200 people in the children’s environment.
Although it has important water resources, over the last few years there has been a lot of pressure placed on the ecosystem, leading to a proven deterioration of water quality. The integrated water assessment in the Porce river sub-zone (ENA 2014) reveals that there is a lot of pressure being placed on water resources due to the high demand, the high levels of pollutants, and the high water pressure placed on the ecosystems by the agricultural and livestock sectors. Agrochemicals derived from floriculture and mining activity are further contaminating the water supply. There are strong imbalances between water supply and demand at the territorial level: about 52% of the supply goes to the hydroelectric generation that is distributed beyond the regional level. According to EPM, 31 supplying basins and 3 reservoirs are required in order to meet the demand for resources in the Aburrá Valley, which implies a great pressure on local ecosystems.
- Children and teachers become aware of the problems around water quality deterioration in their communities and transform their practices and those of their communities in order to better manage their water resources.
- With input from the children’s investigations, regional water observatories are inaugurated.
- Children, teachers and universities participating in the pilot project remain linked to the water observatory in their regions.
- A web hosting platform for regional observatories of water is developed.
- The strategy is evaluated in the field and any problems identified are corrected before scaling nationwide.