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Archive of Blogs by Ned Breslin

An archive of Rising Tiding, Ned Breslin's blogs. To comment, please join the group. Joining will also allow you to receive email alerts whenever Ned posts a new blog or photo. Click on the blog that you'd like to read.

 
 
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  • Mark Duey
    Forever Challenges: Local Water Resource Management By Mark Duey Sistemas de agua sin agua . Water systems without water. That’s what they call water systems in peri-urban Cochabamba in Bolivia, where early every morning cistern trucks haul water to the hills on the outskirts of the city to storage tanks which supply water in piped distribution networks to each house of each barrio… for an hour or two until the tank runs dry. One of my favorite questions in meetings with community water committees anywhere is, “What do you consider to be the most important part of the water system?” For those living in peri-urban Cochabamba the answer is all too clear: the water source itself. The lack of feasible freshwater sources for drinking water supply is already an issue today for many populations around the world. Climate change and its effects now and in the future must be acknowledged. “We’ve been farming this land for more than 60 years,” a group of Nicaraguan farmers once...
    Oct 10, 2013
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  • Mark Duey
    Forever Challenges: Monitoring By Mark Duey Straight A’s. That’s what every student strives to achieve. Honduran water and sanitation technicians do the same. A national water and sanitation system monitoring platform called SIAR was developed by the Ministry of Water with support from USAID in the late 1990’s. The technicians of each regional office are responsible for visiting all rural water systems in their areas and completing surveys about the status of each. Data are then input into a Microsoft Access database, which based upon information including current water tariff, current water treatment practices, financial situation of the community water board, etc., gives each system a score ranging from A (best service) to D (worst). Performance goals of each technician were set based upon expectations of improvements in scores each year. The formula for scoring systems has been kept secret until recently. I once recall returning to the regional office where I...
    Sep 27, 2013
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  • Mark Duey
    Forever Challenges: Sustainable Sanitation By Mark Duey “Watch your step!” Those were the last words of advice from the regional engineer of the Ministry of Water in Honduras as I left the office to begin work on my first task as a water and sanitation engineer with the Peace Corps in May 2004. We were starting a latrine project in many of the rural communities of the district in which I lived. My job was to go house to house to confirm that families on the list did not already have a latrine, which I quickly learned is a job that stinks, literally. But I noticed quite a few of the families on the list already had a toilet, and others families who did not were not on the list. After speaking with some families about how the list had been developed, and questioning the regional engineer, it turned out that his boss, who he was not on such good terms with, but who happened to be a candidate for congress, had given him the list. Families included had been strategically...
    Sep 12, 2013
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  • Mark Duey
    Forever Challenges: Finance By Mark Duey I love my car. It is fun to drive, fast, and the whole family fits comfortably! But it is now 10 years old, has nearly 150,000 miles, and I recently noticed some small rust spots on the door. I am thinking about replacing it with a different one, but I’m not ready to do so yet. I plan to go ahead and change the tires and be sure to pay close attention to oil change intervals to see if I can get a few more years out of it. Replacement is likely to happen by paying for a different vehicle either from savings or by taking out a loan. I do carry car insurance which has comprehensive and collision coverage, in case an unexpected event forces the replacement issue before I expect it. Water service providers and service authorities must think about replacement too. Thousands of dollars and hundreds of days are typically required to get water flowing in rural communities. The initial months and years of water service usually are quite...
    Aug 29, 2013
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  • Mark Duey
    Forever Challenges: Establishing Permanent, Local Institutional Accountability By Mark Duey My daughter Linda is a pretty amazing girl. She just recently turned 12, and has already attended school in four different countries as part of her early academic career. She was named most artistic student in 6th grade by her peers, and talks of becoming an attorney someday. But she struggles with math, which due to my lack of patience coupled with my degrees in engineering and economics, makes for some unpleasant homework sessions for us. Sometimes I find myself wanting to just do it for her. But I don’t. The end result would not be right and lead to dependence on me. Water For People country programs often encounter similar situations. Faced by the daunting task of Everyone—universal water service in the districts in which we work—sometimes it just seems easier to build water systems and toilets directly with communities than to work with the local, permanent institutions...
    Aug 16, 2013
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  • Mark Duey
    By Mark Duey Everyone Forever. Big words. What do they really mean? Everyone is simple to understand—water flowing for every single family, school, and clinic—but not so simple to achieve. Mountaintop communities. Desert communities. Squatters inside protected areas. Nomads. Indigenous. Ethnically different. Politically opposed. Greens. Rojos. Azules. The “other” caste. Historically marginalized. Everyone mandates equity and inclusion. Everyone requires solutions—technical, social, and political—to get water flowing for absolutely everyone. Seriously? A resounding “YES” has been the response, both in word and deed, from government officials and local leaders in the 10 countries in which Water For People works. But Forever? For me, Forever brings back memories of a phrase I heard a lot from my father when I was young: “If you’re going to do something do it right or better not do it at all.” We’re doing Everyone. Forever means doing it right. Forever is even more...
    Aug 2, 2013
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  • Mark Duey
    By Mark Duey It’s December 2010 and I’m waiting for a flight in Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in Managua, Nicaragua, frustrated while trying unsuccessfully to connect to the free wireless internet. I’m also listening to Water For People–Guatemala Country Director Edgar Fajardo explain to Regional Manager Diana Betancourt and I his vision to create a model for credit to finance water capital investments in Quiché, Guatemala. Edgar is drawing on scratch paper as his plan takes form and his voice becomes increasingly excited as he describes the model. Diana and I have our doubts, but encourage Edgar to give it a shot. Fast forward just one year later to December 2011, and 276 families of Parraxquín, Guatemala, have safe water piped into their homes after having just completed construction of a water system made possible due to a loan of $25,000 made by local NGO ACDIS with seed funds provided by Water For People. The inauguration ceremony features beautiful...
    Jul 8, 2013
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  • Kate Fogelberg
    By Kate Fogelberg Many years ago, a colleague told me that rural water systems in Bolivia would never be metered. At the time, not a single system supported with Water For People funds included micro- or macro-metering and it seemed to be an uphill battle. As a reminder, Cochabamba, Bolivia, was home to one of the most well-known protests against the concession of the country's third-largest city's water system to a foreign company. In the popular discourse, meters became synonymous with privatization. But in Bolivia, and Cochabamba in particular, the effects of global warming have exacerbated an already dry climate, putting more stress on an already fragile ecosystem. The story of how hundreds of communities have come to see meters not as a tool of privatization but of equity and conservation started not with persuasion or conditionality, but reflections from the people who manage the day-to-day challenges of rural water systems. One of the first water systems I visited after joining...
    Jun 19, 2013
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  • Ned Breslin
    I am starting a podcast series in partnership with the Stanford Social Innovation Review (http://www.ssireview.org/) with support from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The focus of the series is to think beyond conventional international development work for inspiration so that challenges can be better addressed by looking beyond the limitations of our particular development sector. Through this Podcast Series Project, we will, for instance, look at how social movements are formed and made inevitable, how punk rock tells the story of social entrepreneurism better than any book, craft beer (especially in Colorado) is blazing new trails in ways that make beer and the world better, and how technologies harnessed for social good can give voice to those who currently seem voiceless. We will have fun, be creative, and make unconventional connections with an eye on how such linkages could lead to broader social change. I am looking for someone to assist in the following...
    May 10, 2013
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  • John Sauer
    By Patrick Moriarty, IRC Water and Sanitation Centre & John Sauer, Water For People What is it that IADB’s Max Valasquez Matute in Honduras finds ‘only a bit short of a miracle’? The decision by seven INGOs to align their programming in Honduras in support of an Everyone Forever movement aimed at delivering full coverage in sustainable rural water, sanitation and hygiene services. Whether there was divine intervention or not, the meeting we attended on the 24 May between the assembled board members of the Millennium Water Alliance and the Mesa de Cooperantes (the donor coordination platform) of the Honduran WASH sector was pretty unusual – and very exciting. The MWA represents most of the biggest North American INGOs, and as such a huge combined total of WASH sector activity. We conservatively estimated that their aggregate contribution to Honduras’s WASH sector in the last five years was more than 20 million $US. Not only do Catholic Relief Services, CARE, IRC Water and...
    May 8, 2013
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  • Created on Jul 8, 2009
  • Updated 10 months ago
  • Viewed 6,574 times
  • 73 Items
Ned Breslin
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