They are causing a stir in Latin America, attracting curious onlookers and media. Joost Notenboom and Michiel Roodenburg, two Dutch cyclists, are embarked on an adventure with a purpose. They are riding their bikes from Alaska to Argentina to raise awareness of the need for action on the global water crisis.
They stopped cycling this month to visit two water projects financed by the World Bank in Nicaragua. One was in the country’s capital, Managua, and the other in the rural community of Tecuaname, near León.
In Managua, a crowd turned out to greet them, as Nelson Medina, Coordinator of the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) in Nicaragua, explained to them that the project, financed with a $40-million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), will bring clean water and sanitation services to the city’s low-income barrios.
In Tecuaname, a village on the Central American country’s hot Pacific coastal plain, another $20-million Bank-financed (IDA) rural water supply and sanitation project will bring clean drinking water and sanitation to more than 45,000 people. Upon visiting it, Michiel sensed “excitement” in the community.
“People there have organized themselves into committees to facilitate the upcoming project, and the engineers brief them on progress,” Michiel said. “It's really great to see an example where multi-level governance of natural resources works, where a big institution like the World Bank can work together with local communities and allow them to take ownership of their own success.”