There is perhaps no effort as important as that of educating the public in the communities Global Water Stewardship strives to serve. In order to affect lasting and sustainable change within the sanitation industry in Costa Rica, the local people must be informed, invested, and confident that they can take on the challenge. We are here to help arm them with the knowledge that they need to succeed.
Habits and routines we learn as children stay with us throughout our entire lives. What we learn gets passed onto our own children and for generations to come. GWS understands that educating children is the best way to ensure that safe sanitary practices are continued for years to come, gradually improving hygiene and overall health for communities previously lacking this critical knowledge.
On each biannual trip that GWS makes to Costa Rica, the team visits elementary and secondary schools in locations where the organization is simultaneously working to install a centralized sanitation system.
Presentations include basic fundamentals for younger children, such as how germs commonly spread, as well as advanced subjects for high school students, such as explaining the stages of wastewater treatment. GWS strives to excite kids with hands-on activities as well as provide simple guides that they can bring home and share with their parents, encouraging continued practice and learning. Too, GWS hopes to inspire older students by informing them about projects directly affecting their community and by showing them how they can continue to protect the unique, diverse ecosystem that is their home.
Schools visited to-date: Escuela Piedras Blancas, Uvita Christian Academy, Escuela Verde Costa Ballena, Cloud Forest School – Monteverde, Escuela Dominical, Escuela Flor de Bahia and Liceo La Uvita.
Residents & Community Leaders
As GWS works to design and construct centralized systems, it is unquestionable that residents and community leaders must be informed and consulted. They are the people that will be affected with changes in their bills, new construction in their hometowns, and the challenging task of operating and maintaining new infrastructure.
While in Costa Rica, GWS organizes community meetings in which residents can learn about the design project for their town, ask questions and express concerns. Often, presentations include education about public health and the benefits of wastewater treatment, as many communities are not adequately educated on the subject.
The GWS team cares deeply about letting locals know that we are not there to complete a quick project and head home. We are committed to a presence in their community through the years that it will take to construct, implement, and maintain improvements.
Local & National Authorities
While GWS is working hard to work with one new community per year, construction of of wastewater treatment plants and national, long-lasting, sustainable change cannot occur without the support of local and government authorities. These include groups such as local water utilities, or ASADAs, and AyA, the national water and and wastewater government authority.
In order for GWS plant designs to move forward into construction, the projects need assistance from these authorities for land acquisition and funding. In addition, these authorities must have solid foundations on which to make decisions regarding the future of sanitation management in their country. Therefore, GWS members also act as industry advisers, sharing best practices and their accumulated knowledge about wastewater treatment from the States.
In 2018, GWS hosted its first Wastewater Workshop at the Tres Rios Water Purification Plant, tailored for AyA professionals. With the government ramping up their efforts to extend sanitation throughout the country, AyA had invited GWS to present in-depth wastewater topics. The two-day workshop focused on sanitary collection, maintenance basics, wastewater treatment fundamentals, and activated sludge. Over thirty AyA water and wastewater professionals attended, representing different administrative regions in the country (Brunca, Central Pacific, Central West, Caribbean) and several department units (Project Management, R&D, ASADAs, Environmental). This type of workshop provides a fantastic opportunity to exchange knowledge as well as facilitate positive relationships that will ensure continued progress towards Costa Rica’s sustainable future.
Partners in the USA
GWS would not exist without its founding by industry professionals in the United States. The organization has always relied upon the passion of dedicated volunteers to establish a solid nonprofit foundation, raise funds, travel internationally to maintain imperative relationships, develop marketing materials, conduct research and design treatment systems for communities in need.
In addition to these volunteers, each supporter and sponsor and student from the United States is vital to the organization’s success. GWS extends its gratitude and shares yearly progress with them by presenting at Central States Water Environment Association’s annual conference in the spring. The team also uses this opportunity to educate those who have not heard about GWS and to inspire people to share its mission and garner more support. GWS strives to utilize the great resources of knowledge and enthusiasm in the States to extend its best support to developing nations.