Focus on: Natalia Rebolledo, Executive Director of Fundación Un Alto en el Desierto

February 15, 2019
Communications Colunga Foundation

"Cooperation is the fundamental basis of this network and that is very comforting, there is a unique environment of collaboration"

We talked with Natalia Rebolledo, who told us about the projects she is carrying out together with her organization, to raise awareness about the use and recycling of water, in order to educate the population about the importance of this topic.

How did you get to civil society?

After eight years of working in the public sector, I realized that we must support the State from outside and complement it. There is so much to be done for our country, that it is necessary to activate ourselves as a civil society and work on what is needed. Many times it is said that the State should do things, and it turns out that we can do it too. In 2013, I met a wonderful team that had a project ten years ago. They recycled water in the Ovalle schools, they invited me to participate and I fell in love with what they did. So, we created the Un Alto in the Desert Foundation in 2015

What is the organization currently working on?

We are currently working on "Innovation in water reuse and its replicability", which is a project carried out with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, together with the Un Alto en el Desierto Foundation and the Ovalle Polytechnic High School. Another project called "Water that you do not have to drink, help her to return" is carried out in the Paine commune, together with the Champa Hospital potable water cooperative. We work with two educational establishments that harvest rainwater to irrigate their school gardens, and with a club of members of the cooperative that recycles rainwater in the parish of the town. On the other hand, in the ecological reserve Cerro Grande we collaborate with the agricultural community of Peñablanca in maintaining and doing educational tours. 

What is your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is to impact the habits of people, we must be able to change them around water efficiency, which are durable and innovate in a practical and simple way. It is incredible, but in communes where shortage decrees exist, it is still irrigated at three in the afternoon with drinking water and investing a lot of money in water trucks. We want to influence longer-term solutions. Another important challenge is that as a society we continue to reflect on how water is managed in Chile.

How has your experience been at ColungaHUB?

Wonderful. We deeply appreciate being part of the HUB. Colunga offers on the one hand, a very comfortable space, well located, with excellent facilities at an affordable cost for social organizations, and also allows us to integrate a network of people and organizations that are moving towards the same horizon. Cooperation is the fundamental basis of this network and that is very comforting, there is a unique environment of collaboration. We have learned a lot from other organizations, and peer learning is truly meaningful.

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