wewomen Newsletter
Claudia Barilà & One Drop: the fight for access to water
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Eradicating poverty


©One Drop - Eradicating poverty
©One Drop
When we talk of eradicating poverty, we're not dealing with a trivial problem.
Not having access to water is not having access to education or healthcare.

Through a desire to become involved in a cause that affects people's survival, the couple realized that water was the essential base for everything. "It affects so many things: education, health, the economy of a country... and I think that something clicked in Guy when he heard that a person dies in the world every 20 seconds, it's huge. And then, when our children were born, we wanted to pass on this sense of awareness to them."

But before tackling the issue in question, as we're sat on the comfortable sofas of the Auberge St-Gabriel in Old Montréal, our conversation begins with the realization that over the past 5 years, the One Drop team have succeeded in putting 3 projects in place: Nicaragua, the pilot project, followed by Honduras and Salvador. It's a triangle in which access to water is almost inconceivable.

Guy Laliberté and Claudia Barilà in Nicaragua in 2008
Guy Laliberté and Claudia Barilà in Nicaragua in 2008
"In Nicaragua, I learned what 'microcredit' really means (One Drop offers a microcredit to villagers so they can be self-sufficient) and I saw how our project had developed over the last 5 years. With our partners on the ground, including Oxfam, we chose a place to make a reservoir that would allow water to accumulate during the rainy season and to conserve it through a drop-by-drop irrigation system."

©One Drop
©One Drop
"This project also ensures a food resource," explains Claudia. "By working with the locals, we teach them to cultivate their community gardens and then they do it themselves. We have also added a chimney to their house so that smoke goes outside and the community gardens that we've put in place also guarantee a source of food for families.

In actual fact, the annual production of vegetables has increased, and once the surplus is resold, their income quadruples! And by having more money, they've been able to invest in their farm, by having more hens, for example. It's a real success!" she explains with boundless enthusiasm and satisfaction.

The results of their projects seem to produce even more energy for what lies ahead because what lies ahead is far from plain-sailing...


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