Where we operate

Ecuador & Peru

(c) Bart Dewaele

Ecuador and Peru are neighbours along the west coast of South America. They are among the middle-income countries, but there is certainly still extreme poverty.

Both countries have of a coastal strip, rainforest and Andes mountains: huge variation in landscape and climate, and an enormous variety of natural resources and ecosystems. The countries are an important source for the Amazon River.

But Ecuador and Peru are also suffering with significant environmental and water-related problems. Mining and the oil and timber industry place a great deal of pressure on the countries and their inhabitants. Political tensions, poor environmental regulations, deforestation and climate change further complicate the situation.

Ecuador is one of the first countries to have added the right to water in its constitution. Join For Water and its Ecuadorian partners influenced this decision.


In 2008, the right to water was included in Ecuador's constitution


more flooding in Peru since the 1970s

Join For Water and its partners operate in the Mayo-Chinchipe River catchment, on the border between northeastern Peru and southeastern Ecuador. Most of the region has a warm temperate climate, with high levels of humidity and hot summers.

The Mayo-Chinchipe catchment fulfils an important role for people and nature, regulating the local water cycle and feeding the soils with nutrients via the rivers.

In the upper section you will find the typical Andean páramo or peatlands that retain water like a sponge and stores CO2. The lower parts of the catchments are used more for livestock (Ecuador) and coffee plantations (Peru). Both forms of agriculture use a lot of water and can be detrimental to the availability and quality of the water.

About 73% of the population in the catchment area has access to tap water, but in some villages this falls below 20%.


Koeien in het berglandschap
With the livestock farmers, we are looking at how to protect the zone. (c) Bart Dewaele


Join For Water and its partners are working on drawing up management plans, marking protection zones, and restoring the ecosystem. Together with the coffee farmers, cattle breeders and farmers, they strive for better irrigation methods, and engage in agroforestry. Our partner NCI specialises in ecosystem restoration and is already active in the zone.

By protecting ecosystems, also in legal terms, they can continue to provide their services, like offering safe drinking water. Our partner Protos Andes has a lot of experience in providing and managing access to drinking water, and deals with social cohesion and the claiming the right to water.

There will also be training and exchanges for local organisations, partners and other stakeholders.


What preceded

Join For Water started its activities in Ecuador in 1997 and left Ecuador in the good hands of Protos Andes in 2016. Under that name, the local Join For Water team continued its operations in Ecuador. Protos Andes remained a partner of Join For Water.

Join For Water took an active role in the process that culminated in a constitution (2008) that prohibits the privatisation of drinking water and considers water a common good.

Join For Water worked intensively in the Andean province of Cañar. Most of the communities there now have clean drinking water and have united with the drinking water committees in a unified platform that works together with the local authorities. Integrated water management became the guiding principle for agriculture in the region. The same approach applied to Saraguro in the province of Loja, located even further south.

A second important zone for Join For Water was the coastal province of Esmeraldas, with the cantons of Rio Verde and Muisne. Join For Water helped ensure that disadvantaged population groups also had access to water and safe sanitation.

Join For Water had not previously been active in Peru.

With support of Flanders

With support of Province of Flanders

Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen


Akkoord tussen Ecuador en Peru over gedeeld stroomgebied

Op 11 november 2022 werd in Jaén (Peru) een belangrijk akkoord ondertekend voor een beter beheer van het stroomgebied van de Mayo-Chinchipe, een rivier die van Ecuador naar Peru loopt en die centraal staat in onze activiteiten in de Andes.

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Leidi en Cindy over de Waterschool

In december werden de laatste workshops aan de binationale Waterschool gegeven. De 97 deelnemers – van wie de helft vrouwen – waren vertegenwoordigers van lokale watercomités, sociale leiders, parkwachters en jongeren die betrokken zijn bij ecologische initiatieven, gelegen in het stroomgebied Mayo-Chinchipe.

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Vrouwendag: Victoria strijdt voor een beter leven voor vrouwen

Victoria en andere vrouwen richtten samen ‘La Chakra’ op, een vrouwenorganisatie in Pucarón in het zuiden van Ecuador. Victoria: “Onze organisatie werd in 2015 gesticht, om vrouwen meer economische autonomie te geven via landbouwactiviteiten en hun levenskwaliteit te verbeteren. In deze regio is er meer geweld tegen vrouwen dan elders in het land, en een vrouw die van haar man scheidt, valt dan ook plots zonder financiële middelen.”

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