Wetlandscaping Project

Wetlandscaping Project: Clean Water and Healthy Spaces for the Community

Guanadito Sur, Punto Fijo, VenezuelaGuanadito Sur, PuntoFijo, Venezuela
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Constructed wetlands integrated to landscape systems under the organized communities' administration, involving training on environmental issues and maintenance techniques of artificial wetlands. The intention, among others, is to promote environmental awareness and education.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could treat our own wastewater to be reused, and also give green and healthy spaces to our communities?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

It is well known, that the access to clean water and the proper treatment for domestic wastewater represent some of the biggest problems for developing countries nowadays. In Venezuela, Falcón State (the driest region of the country), is going trough the worst drought in recent years. The pilot project is focused on Guanadito Sur zone, which is a developing community with some problems such as lack of sewerage system and abandoned green areas.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

It is proposed a model of productive landscaping, based on the philosophy of sustainable development through the use of eco-technology for the integration of landscape and recreational resource with artificial wetlands, to improve health and psychosocial conditions of the most vulnerable populations, because of the problems related to urban planning. This project is also intended to create spaces for people's recreation and participation by adapting spaces, social action , civic values ​​and environmental education, the latter through the use of space as suggested in this project not only scenic, recreational and utilitarian purposes ( wastewater treatment ) , but as an open classroom in this regard.

Awards

Project located among the Venezuela's ten finalists for the competition Bayer Young Community Innovators 2015
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

This is the story of Pedro, who has a wife and two kids, and lives in Guanadito, at the dry Falcon State. Pedro works part time as a builder, but he’s been busy lately. Pedro started as a volunteer of the Wetlandscaping Project, and thanks to the program’s workshop, he’s about to take part of the Maintenance Commission for the constructed wetlands of the new Ecological Park that he actually helped to build, in a space that used to be an overgrown vacant lot. Now, he’s able to contribute on bringing clean water to the community and to maintain a space to educate and spend time with his children. As he always says: This is Park, this is my Community, this is my planet… And I protect what’s mine”.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

This project's impact, is given by the community's involvement in a process of education and training in order to maintain a space that provides them of clean water in combination with healthy, esthetical, recreational, educational and ecological resources. This project also has its performance indicators, such as: -m3/day of treated water planned Vs treated. - Number of beneficiaries (Planned Vs Real) - Lectures and workshops on environmental education and training (Planned vs. Real) This is how this project pretends to bring a change on the community, formed by citizens with awareness of their social and environmental problems and most importantly, with awareness of their solutions and ability to make a reality of these solutions.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

This project pretends to someday become a program on national or even international scale. In order to make that possible, it is extremely important to carefully design a program of approaching and further training for the pilot community, the people of Guanadito Sur. This referring to the formation process, on the other hand, the construction process includes the following steps: -Location-Materials-Construction-Treatment stages-Maintenance. By guaranteeing the pilot's success, it will be possible to spread the initiative and really make a change.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The project is based on community collaboration to keep in time. However, there is a need for an initial investment, with monitoring water quality and resources for promotion, training and maintenance. This is why we intend to seek the support of regional governments, enterprises through social responsibility, big companies, support of research and environmental monitoring laboratories of the universities in the region.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Constructed wetlands are not a new idea, in Europe, is a very popular way to treat the sewage water. However, this is mostly seen only as a treatment system, casting aside it's potential as a landscaping resource, to improve the image of the cities and give a proper use to the land. Is in this area, where the Wetlandscaping Project makes a difference. Unlike other artificial wetland systems operated by regional governments or private companies, the Wetlandscaping Project includes a training program for the communities on the construction and maintenance of these systems.
Team

Founding Story

As an Environmental Engineer, I’ve always been interested in ideas to solve people’s problems and promote sustainable development at the same time. When I had to present my thesis, I considered that my own community doesn't have a sewage system, and that the green areas have never been developed. I proposed a design of “Productive Landscaping” to treat the sewage water and maintain a big green area space. After I graduated, my thesis became a project, to promote it and make a reality of this dream, in which the citizens receive education and technical abilities to treat their own water and maintain their own spaces. This is how we all could make a value of the sustainable development.

Team

At the present time, there is a leader and founder of the initiative, which is an Environmental Engineer, a degree in Management Processes who contributes with the image, publicity and conceptualization, a civil designer that supports with the design tools, a lawyer who gives support with the media (this activity is carried out with contributions from the whole team).
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Social Media

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Clean Water and Sanitation, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

My experience in this type of activities has been based on supporting the organization of cleaning and sanitation efforts in natural areas, attending training sessions in environmental awareness and approach to the community. I have also participated in the organization of activities to collect books and toys for children from economically vulnerable communities in my region.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

This project is supported by authorities of the UDEFA ("Falcon's University", or "Universidad de Falcón" in Spanish), it has also been promoted by the regional media (with interviews on Newspapers and Regional TV). The initiative recently started to count on the Mentorship of an Agricultural Engineer, who is specialist in international cooperation, community development, and environmental projects. This engineer is also part of one of the most important NGOs of the region.