Integrated management for Sensunapan watershed protection. A win-win human-river alliance

2013 Finalist

The project aims to improve living condition of 15 informal settlements of Sonsonate, Sonzacate and Nahuizalco Municipalities (Sonsonate District) by promoting sustainable and participated management of the Sensunapan watershed.

Project description

To achieve an improvement of the living situation, conditioning and up keeping of the watershed, introduction of an eco-friendly water depuration system and education in waste management will be implemented. This will result in the possibility to control soil and water quality. General watershed protection and raising of environmental awareness, including training, will take place. Furthermore a Water Protection Board will be installed. Further consultancy on local income generating activity possibilities will be carried out. The project focuses on making sustainable management of the watershed an integrated part of daily life of these settlers.

Project goal and impact

The specific objective is to promote a sustainable and participated management of Sensunapan watershed. An environmentally healthy lifestyle will be promoted in order to assure long-term project sustainability.


The project aims to reduce the environmental impact of the settlements on Sensunapan watershed by de-polluting the habitat, including protecting riverbanks from runoff, erosion and landslides and decreasing the contamination caused by solid waste.


New income generating activities will be promoted during the project implementation phases: sale of the moringa oleifera tree, whose seeds, fruits and leaves contain high nutritional values and have the ability to purify water and stabilize river banks. Further re-commercialization of solid waste and sale of compost are introduced.


The living condition of 2.500 inhabitants will improve because of a decrease in incidences of flood disasters and of waterborne diseases. It will strengthen the informal settlements networking, enabling the transfer of know-how and best practices among the communities. Indirect beneficiaries, receiving information and sensitization on the pilot project correspond to an overall of 113.914 inhabitants.

Participation of the communities

The local communities are majorly involved in planning, implementing and evaluating the program. A bottom-up participatory approach was chosen, including voluntary work on river banks and taking part in training programs. The local communities will be involved in the monitoring and evaluation phases by focus groups and qualitative surveys guided by the community mobilizers. Vice versa, the project team will monitor the communities’ positive involvement in order to elaborate eventual mitigation measures in time.

Long term viability

Project viability is guaranteed by the Water Protection Board with control tasks, long-term effect of training courses and awareness campaigns on habits of the local communities, disclosing of the capability of a win-win human-river alliance from an economic, social ecological point of view.

Information about the organization

Africa ’70 (A70) is an Italian NGO that manages projects aiming to improve living conditions in Developing Countries. Since the 1970’s it offers institutional support, such as Environment and heritage preservation, urban planning and upgrading, capacity building and natural resource management to local governments and organizations in Africa, Central America and Middle East. A70 operates in El Salvador since 2009, offering support in natural resource management with a particular focus on water, informal settlements upgrading and flood disaster prevention.

Submitted by: 
NGO Movimento Africa '70
Award year: 

NGO Movimento Africa '70
Via Manzoni, 32 
20900 Monza (MB)

Marta Rudello