After several months of research meetings with public officials, this spring San Juan Tepezontes leaders got the ANDA office to provide clean water three days a week – a big success for COFOA leaders, who kept pressure on the ANDA office. This is the first time in decades that grassroots leadership in San Juan Tepezontes has resulted in community-led action. These leaders held their first public action in December as members of PICO Central America-COFOA (Comunidades de fe Organizadas para Acción), attended by over 300 residents to share their top concerns after completing their first listening campaign. Their top priority was to get regular access to clean water – they haven’t had daily water service since November 2009, and the water is highly contaminated.
After agreeing at this meeting that they would take on the water issue together, they filed a complaint against ANDA (the National Office of Water) signed by the whole community, and visited the ANDA office in San Salvador to give a warning that ANDA had thirty days to fix the water issue or residents would suspend monthly water bill payments. As a result of this pressure, ANDA began regular water supply in parts of the town, and ultimately fixed the problem for the entire area.
COFOA is gaining a great reputation in San Juan Tepezontes and on May 21st these leaders, along with around 600 San Juan Telezontes residents they have mobilized, will help the National Emergency and Civil Protection Against Disasters Office to clean–up drains and contaminated rivers before the rainy season starts.