On November 18, CoCoDA held the Sun and Water Conference 2023. Face-to-face with leaders in El Salvador and Nicaragua, and virtually with North Americans. To learn about the advantages and best practices of solar power in water systems, and to listen to the presentations of two new projects in need of funding. All through representatives of communities that have benefited from past projects, who need to retrofit their system or create one from the very beginning.

Two sessions on saturday, first in the morning and then in the afternoon, gathered North Americans with Central American leaders to learn the importance of solar energy in community water systems and how it has transformed people’s lives.

Representatives of solar water projects completed through fundraising at previous conferences were present at the conference, and provided their experiences, challenges and advice for the communities that submitted proposals for new projects.

CoCoDA’s executive director, Jim Mulholland, was present with the group in El Salvador, along with national director Karilyn Vides. While in Nicaragua, the session was led by CoCoDA’s director in Nicaragua, Richard Sanchez.

The community of Apolinario Serrano, located in the municipality of Suchitoto, department of Cuscatlán, El Salvador, presented its proposal to retrofit to solar power the water system of the Apolinario Serrano Rural Water Association (ARAS), system that benefits six communities and approximately 1,300 people.

Representatives of the Apolinario Serrano water system at the presentation of the water system retrofit project (El Salvador).

From Nicaragua, in Somoto city, department of Madriz, the community of La Carbonera presented its proposal for the construction of a solar-powered water system. The project will benefit the more than 500 people in the community with water distributed directly to their homes.

Representatives of La Carbonera community at the presentation of the water system project (Nicaragua).

The great success of the conference!

The 2023 CoCoDA Sun and Water Conference was a great success with over 60 participants and over $93,000 of pledges. Over the next six months, we need to raise the final $93,000. 

If you are not a Rotarian, begin thinking about how you can leverage your professional, religious, organizational or personal network to raise money for this initiative.  We are suggesting non-Rotarians focus efforts on the Apolinario Serrano project in El Salvador.  You can coordinate your participation with Jim Mulholland at jim@cocoda.org.

Every donation – no matter how small – gets us closer to our goal.

The conference was also attended by:

Edgardo Molina, president of The Committee for the Reconstruction and social economic development of the communities of Cuscatlán (CRC) in El Salvador,

Vidalina Morales, president of the Association for the Economic and Social Development of Santa Marta (ADES) in El Salvador,

Freddy Flores, coordinator of the Nicaraguan Communal Movement in Somoto (MCN) in Nicaragua.

— and representatives of Engineering Without Borders.