ONGD – Nicaragua

ORGANIZATION: La Cuculmeca, Nicaragua; ONGD ONGAWA, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain
COUNTRY: Nicaragua
PROJECT: The human right to water and sanitation in Nicaragua from a human rights-based approach
PCM: Situation Analysis
Celia Fernández Aller
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Polytechnic University of Madrid

The experience of several years of work for the human right to water and sanitation (HRWS) in Nicaragua is allowing several organizations to improve, among others, the situation analysis step . To this end, they are conducting surveys and interviews as methods of collecting and updating information. The goal is the realization of A Second Report  on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in Nicaragua, to extend the results and conclusions of the 1st Report prepared in 2010.

Addressing human rights criteria and principles in  the Situation Analysis
The Nicaraguan association La Cuculmeca, the Spanish NGO ONGAWA, and the Polytechnic Universities of Madrid and Catalonia, Spain, have collaborated to further integrate the HRWS criteria and principles into household surveys in Nicaragua, in order to gather relevant human rights based information. The organizations tried to respond in particular to the lack of inclusion of human right principles in the home surveys conducted by the Nicaraguan public institutions.  The following improvements have been introduced:

a) Extending the sample size in 2,400 surveys (in the first report 1.350 surveys were included but didn’t cover all departments of the country; on this occasion they will try to cover most of these, carefully watching the representativeness of the sample).

b) Extending the actors surveyed , to include not only right-holders but also duty-bearers: municipalities, Water and Sanitation Committees (CAPS) and public institutions related to water and sanitation. This way, information may be crossed by all actors.

Some stakeholders, like the CAPS, have a double status: they are rights holders, since the Special Law on Committees of Drinking Water and Sanitation (Act 722) and corresponding regulation reflects how public institutions should support and promote their  legalization and operation, but they are also duty bearers towards the community they provide water to. This dual role is reflected in the surveys with questions concerning, for example, the support from technicians from the municipalities once the system was constructed (CAPS as a rights holder), or with questions that refer to CAPS maintenance plans for the drinking water system (CAPS as duty holder).

c) Introduction of the HRWS principles, particularly the principle of non-discrimination. The situation of the most vulnerable populations in relation to the right to water and sanitation has been introduced across the surveys.

At this time, the implications of the study are limited to the initial phases of the work of the organizations (mainly programming). They highlight the relevance of conducting previous diagnostic studies that are representative, covering most of the possible actors, and not disregarding  criteria and principles of the HRWS. Official measurements could also be improved in this line, as they usually take into account the criteria of availability but rarely those of affordability, sustainability, participation, etc.

Furthermore, this applied research complements different work experiences in the defense of HRWS in Nicaragua (including advocacy at the UN, etc.),  facilitating knowledge transfer and its impact on the work for poverty reduction and full realization of human rights.

Sonia Wheelock Díaz, Human Right Coordinator, ONGAWA Nicaragua



  • Survey Drinking Water and Sanitation Committees
  • Survey Municipalities
  • Home Surveys