Peru Fund Partners
Nora Novoa Valderrama was born in Diamante Azul on the Unini River where she still lives. She and her husband, José Maria Mourao, have been together for 25 years and have five children. Nora is the vice president of the project’s Water Committee, and is also responsible for the community’s medicine supplies. The people of the three villages of Unini belong to the Asháninka Nation, and make their living from smallholding agriculture. Nora and José are among the leaders of their community.
André Franche conducted this interview with Nora during his visit to Unini in August 2016 for the Perú Fund. The interview was translated from Spanish.
Perú Fund: How did you get involved with the Water Committee?
Nora: Four women and two men were asked to join the Committee. I volunteered and was accepted by the community.
Perú Fund: Why is it important to have women on the Water Committee?
Nora: Women see more clearly the necessities of the house, her family and her community.
Perú Fund: Has being on the Water Committee changed the way you see yourself?
Nora: I feel very happy to have accepted this new responsibility, and feel more confident about my capabilities.
Caption: Nora Novoa Valderrama (left) being interviewed by Andre Franche (right) during his visit to Diamante Azul in August 2016.
Perú Fund: What about the way others in the community respond to you?
Nora: The members of the community are accepting that a woman is giving them the information about the work to be done for the project.
Perú Fund: Has the building of the water project changed the community?
Nora: Yes. Having all the people work together is making the community feel more united, and more hopeful about the future.
Perú Fund: Will there be new opportunities for young people with the water system in place?
Nora: The young people come and go. They leave for their studies. We think that having continuously clean water will encourage them to stay in the village. Also, every family now has a solar panel, which powers a light bulb in the house at night, and we have Movistar cellular service in one area of the village.
Perú Fund: What other undertaking is the community wanting to work on once the water project is finished?
Nora: We are already looking forward to having better sanitation [composting toilets] and improved schools and teachers. There are 72 children in our primary school.
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