At the end of August, and as part of a joint action, sanitary repairs for 128 families and three community centers were completed in different neighborhoods of Pilar.
Thanks to this joint action, which included the support of Whirlpool, Habitat for Humanity Argentina and local organizations in coordination with the municipality, it was possible to delve into the housing situation of Villa Astolfi, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, Barrio Toro and Mundo Aparte. Through a survey and diagnosis, bathroom training and repairs were designed that include electrical risk reduction content. Once the project is finished, a water study will be carried out in coordination with Fundación Aguas to share this information with different groups and jointly think about actions that contribute new improvements in the quality of life of the local population.
The people in the center
The methodology with which these bathroom repairs are addressed places families at the center and in charge of the process. They receive specific training not only on assembling the bathroom, but also on basic knowledge of water, sanitation and family finances. Once the workshops have been completed, they are given the complete installation set, which includes, in addition itetms for a proper bathroom, an electric shower with the corresponding electrical safety elements, and materials- focused on menstrual management. The families have the socio-technical support of Habitat for Humanity Argentina throughout the process.
This methodology generates knowledge and awareness that is especially important in poor neighborhoods where most people resolve the housing issue on their own. In the workshops, families not only acquire new skills, but also become aware of and reinforce those they already had. In addition, addressing this issue through knowledge allows people to help other neighbors in the installation process, reinforcing community ties.
More than a bathroom
These actions have a double identified impact: a safe bathroom has an impact on the health and well-being of the members of the household, acquiring the specific knowledge that allows them to make improvements and identify future risks in the home. And, in the medium term, families are highly motivated to continue making home improvements. In many cases, taking advantage of the impetus of the workshops, the families organize themselves to improve other aspects of the bathroom and even other home environments. This progressive improvement system is what allows families to transform their homes into safer places, places to be proud of.
In turn, the community bathrooms in the three centers make it possible to provide the community with greater comforts. Many times it happens that public bathrooms are the only ones to which many people have access. These sanitary repairs contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which proposes guaranteeing the availability of water and sanitation for all.
The role of local organizations
In neighborhoods there are often organizations that carry out key work. Soup kitchens, community centers, development societies, are very relevant actors within the social dynamics. Many of its members become references for the neighbors. For this reason, in sanitary repair projects, Habitat for Humanity Argentina works side by side with local organizations. They are the ones who best know the needs of the neighborhood, the families and with whom they are united by a bond of trust built over time.
In Pilar, these organizations were the PIBES Foundation, the Villa Astolfi Association and the Pilares Civil Association. The project relied on them to generate contact with families, especially with those who were in a situation of greater vulnerability. In addition, and in the first instance, they accompanied the socio-housing diagnosis that revealed the needs of the different neighborhoods.
This intervention generated a very large impact in the neighborhoods of Pilar. It is extremely important to highlight the active role of companies when, upon reaching a community, they seek to improve the lives of their neighbors beyond the labor and economic impact. This is how Whirlpool understood it after installing its production plant in Polo Pilar and, in alliance with Habitat for Humanity Argentina, the municipality and the support of neighborhood organizations, it embarked on a path of transformation.
Whirlpool and Habitat for Humanity Argentina share a global alliance. For years and as a result of it, corporate volunteers have participated and materialized housing opportunities in different locations in the country.
During 2022, with the start-up of Whirlpools’s state-of-the-art production plant in Polo Pilar, the alliance was strengthened in the effort to bring better housing to the municipality, and to encourage other companies in the Pilar industrial park to participate with Habitat.
“It is such an immense joy with something as simple as the bathroom. We used a bucket to bathe, and one for the toilet. Many years ago I wanted to have comfort in the bathroom. We are very happy”, says Rosana from Barrio Toro. She not only installed the items, but also went one step further and refinished the walls and floor.
For Sandra from Villa Astolfi, participating in the project was a change in her daily life. “Definitely the well-equipped and complete bathroom changed our day to day. It is more complete, more comfortable, it is no longer thrown away with a bucket”.