Devoción Helps Deliver Fresh Water to the Drought-Stricken Wayuu Tribe in Guajira

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Devoción has teamed up with local entities in Colombia’s northern Guajira Peninsula, home to the indigenous tribe known as the Wayuu, to contribute to the local goal of delivering one million liters of water to the drought-stricken area.

The Guajira Peninsula is currently suffering through one of the worst droughts in decades, leaving the people and animals in the desert landscape in desperate need for water. The Wayuu tribe that inhabits this region of Colombia, known across the world for their colorful mochilas, are a largely agrarian people that depend heavily on agriculture and goat herding, and the lack of rainfall has had a devastating effect on their livelihoods.

Typical traditional garb of the Wayuu people that is now popular around the world (source)
A scene of the worst drought to hit Colombia’s north in decades (source)

An organization called Agua y Vida por la Guajira (Water and Life for the Guajira) has sought to bring fresh, clean water to the region to help alleviate the crisis, and has partnered with several actors within Colombia with the goal of sourcing one million gallons of clean, potable water.

The non-profit hosted a fundraising event at the Myriam Camhi restaurant in Bogotá on December 21st, with performances by the Latin Grammy award-winning band Aterciopelados and actress/activist Sandra Reyes. The event raised enough funds to achieve the goal of providing one million liters of fresh water, with Devoción being one of the partners that donated to the cause.

As a company that works with many indigenous groups across Colombia sourcing coffee, we have made it a specific goal as part of our social sustainability and outreach to provide technical consultation, cultivation equipment and community assistance to indigenous groups nationwide. The Wayuu tribe, although not known for their coffee cultivation, is a historically and anthropologically remarkable part of Colombia’s pre-Hispanic past, and the problems they face are symbolic of the struggle many regions of the country must confront.

Our Sustainability Director Salomon Winograd shows a local farmer on the indigenous reserve of Karmata Rua in Antioquia how to operate the humidity reader that will help him during the crucial drying phase of coffee production

Below is a letter by Wayuu community leader Wuaykako Jesiat who heads the Agua y Vida por la Guajira initiative, where he lays out the problems this massive drought has caused and how his organization plans on doing their part to help:

The Voice of Mother Earth makes a loud and clear call this Christmas season for Water and Life in Guajira, giving rise to this mission in which we bring one million liters of much-needed water to the most affected Wayuu communities. This initiative has the end goal of being an immediate solution for the drought that has ravaged this forgotten corner of the country where people suffering through great difficulties die due to indifference.

On December 21st we will launch the “One Million Liters of Water for Guajira” campaign at the Myriam Camhi restaurant at 8 AM. We will be accompanied by the Aterciopleados, business leaders, friends and all of those who seek to unite in this mission.

One Million Liters of Water for Guajira represents aid for 1,000 people from Wayuu communities for a 30-day period, with each water tank truck carrying 10,000 liters for the community.

The goal for 2017 is to finally solve in a permanent way the problem of water scarcity in Guajira through the acquisition of mobile desalinization and potable water plants, allowing people in the communities to have clean water for drinking, cooking, agriculture and ranching.

We hope that many more will unite in this mission and remember that “Everything depends on Everyone”.


Wuaykako Jesiat

Below: Photos from the clean water delivery sponsored by Devoción for Agua y Vida por la Guajira

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