Cabot and Tierra Grata, a partnership that brings street lighting and safe water to Cerro de Albornoz

As a result of the partnership between Cabot Corporation and Tierra Grata, more than 230 people had access to solar-powered street lighting and safe water through   drinking water filters.

As part of our  mission to bring innovative, low-cost and environmentally sustainable solutions to meet the challenges of the present and the future, partnerted with the international company Cabot Corporation to electrify the future and guarantee access to safe water for hundreds of families in  Roca del Cristo community at Cerro de Albornoz in Cartagena de Indias.

Through our Energía Grata program, we deployed a solar-powered street lighting system for the community. The project included the construction, equipping and installation of 30 street lighting poles through the use of solar panels.

As a result of this initiative, the community now has six completely illuminated and safe traffic streets. In addition, the installation of the 30 light poles  will help prevent accidents and increase security. Its important to highlight that the community was involved in the process of installing the photovoltaic poles; they were the ones who chose the points for their location and a technical committee called “Guardians of the Light” was trained in their care and subsequent maintenance.

On the second day, we delivered 100 water purifying filters that will allow the same number of families to have access to drinking water and improve their health conditions and prevent diarrheal diseases.

“Through the delivery and training in the use of these solutions we were able to address issues such as food handling, proper use of water, the importance of water purification and healthy hygiene habits. Thanks to the Agua Grata program, communities are now being impacted and we are working to improve their quality of life”, said Luis Castellanos, Tierra Grata’s Social Management Coordinator.

Additionally, each family will be followed up on the use of the filters through phone calls and text messages.

The intervention process

To carry out the social intervention in Roca del Cristo, we identified the sector, located in a peri-urban area  of Cerro de Albornoz, due to the severity of its problems of access to water and electricity. The residents of this community arrived around 2019. It is made up of a total of 90 to 100 families with a population of 650 to 700 inhabitants.

One of the biggest problems is that there is no street lighting (73% of the families surveyed are not comfortable with this service), leading to situations of insecurity in the area, such as theft, consumption of psychoactive substances, the inability to leave their homes at night if an emergency arises or the simple fact of carrying out leisure activities outside their homes, as mentioned by some residents in the information survey carried out by Tierra Grata. 

They also have difficulty accessing potable water, which can lead to serious health problems for their inhabitants. The main water problem lies in two situations: In the first instance, the water pressure in the aqueduct pipeline is not enough to supply all the inhabitants; on the other hand, the water distributed by the tanker car provided by the District Mayor’s Office is not drinkable, this being the main water source most used by the inhabitants of the area. Of the sample taken, 73% of the inhabitants consider that they do not consume potable water.

To tackle the lighting difficulties faced by the community, we developed a program called Noche Grata, which allows the community to have access to public lighting powered by energy collected by solar panels; this works as a lighting system for community spaces that positively transforms the dynamics of the people, generating spaces for safety and recreation. The lighting system provides up to eight hours of continuous light every night and the poles are located in strategic places identified by the communities.

For the treatment of non-potable water, we seek to serve this community through the Agua Grata program’s drinking water filters. These consist of a water filter made of clay, colloidal silver and sawdust that, through drip filtration, provides access to safe water. This solution filters up to 40 liters of water per day, with a capacity to store 20 liters. Among its advantages, it reduces the incidence of gastrointestinal diseases and the families’ health expenses since, according to the information collected, 66% of the families did not treat their water, while the remaining percentage used chlorination or boiling, with 16% and 7%, respectively.

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