The AWA project in Ihuanco, Peru
Munk One, Munk School

Building relationships, making progress: An update from the 2020 Munk One Dragons’ Den winners

Fields and sand hills in Peru.It’s been a busy month at The AWA Project as we continue to work towards our goal of developing a water source in Ihuanco, Peru. If this is your first time hearing about us, The AWA Project is using fog harvesting technology to provide drinkable water to the community of Ihuanco. More broadly, our mission is to cultivate links to provide sustainable and autonomous solutions for water scarcity in vulnerable communities around the world.

In the past few months, a key milestone for our team was becoming formally registered as a development NGO in Peru, which was necessary for us to be able to purchase supplies. Due to Peru’s laws surrounding monetary transfer and procurement, a formal association is required to ensure the successful execution of our project. Thanks to the generous pro bono support of Carolina Saenz and Renato Angulo from the Rubio Leguia Normand Law Firm, we are now in the final stages of formalizing our organization. Once approved, we will be able to raise funds and donations through different channels.

A shot of the AWA Project teamIn December 2020, our team organized a small initiative that was separate from our main project, but aligned with our goal of serving and supporting the community of Ihuanco. The most common occupation for adult men from this community is informal day labour in the Lima region, typically on construction or development projects. This is often unstable work, and economic difficulties faced by families have only been exacerbated during COVID-19 when many of these projects stalled. As a result, many felt a financial squeeze during the holiday season.

As a small gesture to the community, we fundraised amongst our friends and family to offer gifts to the children, elders and families in Ihuanco. In total, our group donated 110 Christmas presents and 170 loaves of Paneton, a typical sweet bread consumed in many Latin American countries during the Christmas season.

We were happy to support the community we are working with through this small gesture. It not only strengthened our relationship with the community, but also enabled us to put into practice the idea of “sensibilidad comunitaria,” or community consciousness, which lies at the heart of The AWA Project approach .

In the months ahead, we will complete final due-diligence on site selection, construction plans, operation consultations, and final installation, with the expectation of being fully operational by the end of April 2021.

Stay tuned for another update on our progress at the end of February, which will feature an interview with the President of Ihuanco, Susana Romani!

Reece Young, Grace Adams, Alex Erickson, Aryan Dhar, and Andrea Caceres are Munk One students from the 2019-2020 cohort. They are part of the winning team of the annual Munk One Dragons’ Den competition, and the inaugural participants of The Carey Projects. In this blog, they provide an update on their initiative, The AWA Project, which aims to alleviate poverty and increase water access in the Peruvian community of Ihunaco through a fog-catching initiative.