Get WASH to Peru: A Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene Campaign

For: Residents of Huanchaco, Peru
Huanchaco, La Libertad, Peru
Organizer: A group of students and faculty of Utah State University
Get WASH to Peru: A Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene Campaign (Residents of Huanchaco, Peru)
of $10,000 goal
73% Complete
Raised by 48 donors

The Story

Who We Are: We are a group of students and faculty from Utah State University who were planning to spend time this summer in Peru for a field school. Weeks before we departed, devastating floods plagued the country.  One of us has spent time in Peru for numerous years and put us in contact with our current in-country coordinator, Rafael.  Together with Rafael, we have been working to raise money specifically for the "El Milagro" community, a group of previously displaced persons who once again have been stranded after this natural disaster.  

The El Milagro Community Kitchen:The "El Milagro" community we are working with is comprised of 42 families. Many of them did not know each other before the floods.  However, what they have in common is that they all nearly lost everything and think the best way forward is together. They have formed what they call their "Olla Commun" (a community kitchen)- which makes it easy for food delivery, which is what we have been doing with our donations received thus far! 

Our Goals:
Our plan is to continue to deliver food to the community every five days. Last week, we conducted a needs assessment (as part of our ethnographic field school) to listen to and document both the short term and long term needs of El Milagro.  Together with our partners at home and in Peru, we are working hard to ensure the donations are meeting these community needs. Right now we are still in the food phase of our project, but will continue to update our donors as we move forward to ensure a more sustainable way of life for the residents of El Milagro. 

ANY amount will help! Even $5, $10, or $20 dollars will go A LONG WAY!. 

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 7, 2017

Posted on June 7, 2017

A recent blogpost, please feel free to follow us at

So, What are we doing in Peru?

Yesterday, we were introduced to the heart of the work that we will be doing during our stay in Huanchaco.  On Tuesday afternoon we all piled into a bus and worked our way over to a neighborhood called “El Milagro”.  The drive was sobering as we saw washed out roads, destroyed homes and the first attempts of reparation after the massive flooding that occurred here in the past few months.

We arrived at what felt to be the epicenter of the disaster with rubble all around us of homes and the central plaza of El Milagro entirely decimated.

El Milagro is a neighborhood in the Huanchaco district that was home to as many as 25,000 people according to the 2007 census and is relatively young with 68% of inhabitants being under age 29.  It was reported to us that the primary inhabitants of El Milagro are those who have migrated out of other areas of Peru seeking opportunities.  After the flooding occurred, many of its inhabitants came together to form something called the Olla Comun.  Here the members of the community have pulled together assets to support one another as they try to rebuild their lives after the floods.

The complexities of this situation are great and will be written about in future blog posts, today I wanted to focus on the raw experience many of the students had as we worked to create a needs assessment – assessing what the top priorities are for these people to rebuild their lives and reclaim their quality of living in sustainable ways.

A few comments from the students on this initial experience working in El Milagro:

“It’s shocking to see everything on the way there, for me, what was hardest was walking into that woman’s house and seeing the tent on the ground and the rubble behind the house.  It was shocking to see what had happened.”  – Savannah

“I think they are still processing everything- It sounds like it was pretty traumatic.  Anthony showed me a video of them standing on a roof and videoing everything, the houses collapsing into the river, people crying and being afraid, not knowing what to do.  He showed me and it was like we experienced it together.” –Joe

“One of the women was walking with me in the street and said, ‘look.  Look, it took everything and I have to see that everyday.”  -McKinley

“The thing that was most impactful to me was the hope that they had – these people lost everything and they were still giving us flowers and peas, it was incredible.” – Julia

We have been touched by the people of El Milagro’s plight, their resilience, and their resourcefulness in overcoming.  If you have and would like to contribute to helping them to restore their life, please consider donating through our webpage- Fundraising for Peru

Posted on April 10, 2017


Posted on April 10, 2017

In less than a week, the students raised more than $3000, they were able to get this money immediately into the hands of the people who need it most.
One thing that makes this donation campaign different than some is that it is all about empowering these communities for organizing and meeting their own needs as they move forward rather than just for receiving aid (see the details below). This is applied anthropology in action!.\ I wanted to share with you a few of the "updates" since you donated that Rafael has shared with me.

WHO: Beneficiaries are about 120 aduls and children from the neighborhood of SOL NACIENTE II, in the center of El Milagro, which is part of the district of Huanchaco, and are victims of a series of flash-floods caused by a ravine/arroyo system called "Quebrada El León" that flooded its banks.

WHAT: Immediate aid was delivered by our on-the-ground director, Lic. Rafael Vazquez Guerrero, former Director of the College of Anthropologists, La Libertad and long time friend. Here are some of the things that he helped to coordinate this past week. The group received basic first aid supplies and has implemented a small distribution center for these essential supplies. Supplies and community pots were bought and delivered. Our director coordinated for delivery of a 15 cubic meter storage tank for delivery of potable water on a regular basis. Our director Rafael is coordinating with the municipality to make sure they are aware of this emergency help and so that they feel more obligated to step into their fiduciary responsibilities for this community now that they know of this external aid.

HOW: Neighbors were organized and decided that they wanted to develop a community kitchen for daily food preparation. Their organizational structure serves as a good example for others in the community about how "bottom-up" grass-roots self-help programs depend mainly on the interest and the will of the people. It is also typical of how neighbors come together in Peru in times of need. Typically food is prepared once or twice a day by volunteers who rotate and delivered to all who participate in the efforts. Community kitchens become the foundation for community based efforts that go far beyond food-preparation in this region of the world and often become the basis for organizing communal day care, education, and other basic needs.  Acensus was created that allowed for identification of participants and serves as a tool for distribution of aid. The community developed their own rules for participants, including assignment of daily tasks, cooking schedule, procurement of firewood, sanitation and clean-up of the affected area.

Posted on March 28, 2017


Posted on March 28, 2017

Meet our in-country Director of the 'Get WASH to Peru' campaign, Rafael Vasquez Guerrero, anthropologist, humanitarian, and former dean of the College of Anthropologists in La Libertad! 

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