Water quality and quantity is deteriorating at an alarming rate in Colombia as a result of phenomena associated with basin management and global climate change: currently, 90% of freshwater reserves have problems with quality, and if we do not act now, in 2020, 69% of Colombians will be at high risk of water shortages during droughts. Faced with this problem, three lines of action are prioritized: 1) fill the gaps in water monitoring, 2) improve and consolidate water governance, and 3) educate younger generations on water protection.
Organized in water teams (15-20 children led by their school teacher), the children diagnose the key variables in their micro-basin, which they use to define and carry out an action-research project. The project provides them with financial support, trains the teachers, and appoints a scientific water specialist mentor for each team, who meets with them once a month virtually. The results of the children’s research are the basic input for regional water observatories, whose objective is to help guide public policies on this issue. Thus, beneficiary children play an active role in monitoring the water in their community, in transforming practices at a local level to improve water management, and in implementing new water governance in their territory.
The project is implemented in partnership with public and private organizations in Colombia and Switzerland, which make monetary or in kind contributions for its implementation. It seeks to bring different existing initiatives together, which promote the education of children and youth in a culture of science, as well as the improvement of local environmental conditions with water as a strategic axis.