Although our expertise is offered on a volunteer basis by the large pool of engineers, hydrogeologists, and other professionals WEFTA is able to draw from, the cost of sending them to the countries where WEFTA is working, plus the logistics the volunteers need to arrange to get the time off work and away from their families, makes it problematic to meet the constant demand. Over the last few years WEFTA has been developing a circuit rider program which utilizes in-country personnel. The organization has received grants specifically designated for this work. By being in country, these partners can respond much more readily to inquiries from communities interested in assistance from WEFTA, or while following up on current or completed projects. They also inevitably are much more aware of local regulations as well as the feasibility of proposed technologies. Without exception, these key people that WEFTA has been working with understand and indeed embody the mission of the organization and are fully committed to making it a reality; not simply looking for a paycheck. The following are a few examples.
WEFTA relies on the assistance from retired civil engineer Enrique Lozano who receives a stipend to cover expenses while he travels to and from the communities where WEFTA is working, or while coordinating with officials from Save the Children Honduras and other funding sources. Enrique makes many trips throughout southwestern Honduras and sits through countless meetings with local officials and community leaders, while discussing options available to them and how WEFTA and our technical volunteers may be of assistance. He is now embarking on a tour to give presentations to businesses and organizations in order to raise money for our water projects.
WEFTA has developed a close relationship with a Bolivian NGO by the name of Suma Jayma, after several years of working together. WEFTA typically sends volunteers from the U.S. to Bolivia at least twice a year. These trips are important for many reasons; one being to show our commitment to the partnership, another for the sake of providing a degree of oversight to assure we all stay on track, and perhaps the most significant is to have a chance to brainstorm with the good people of Suma Jayma on how to deal with some of the challenging work being undertaken in Bolivia. WEFTA funds the circuit riding being performed by the people of Suma Jayma on an as-needed basis. But in each case, the cost of sending these capable people is a small fraction of the cost of sending someone from the U.S., even if provided on a volunteer basis.
WEFTA/Waterlines has worked closely with a local architect of Dutch descent, Kees Grootenboer, who time and again has shown a commitment to seeing through each project the organization has been involved in over the years. WEFTA/Waterlines has been covering the expenses of Kees as he visits past and present projects offering the much needed oversight and follow-up, and in some cases to visit communities that have solicited assistance from WEFTA.