Small Business Enterprise
In Guatemala, WANI was instrumental in supporting the emergence of a youth-run cooperative enterprise called ‘Jóvenes en la Missión’ (Youth in Mission, JEM). JEM began as a Catholic environmental education initiative run by a group of young volunteers promoting sustainable water use and watershed restoration. This initiative has since grown into an entrepreneurial enterprise supporting income generations and governance approaches.
Change in water governance in Tacaná was mobilized through supporting the organization and development of Microwatershed councils. In Guatemala, microwatershed councils encompass 10 to 20 communities who share water resources in the watersheds of tributary streams. The councils are organized to coordinate resource management of shared water and land resources and, critically, how this can be integrated with community development. The initiative for setting up Microwatershed plans is essential because a strategic area is defined for implementing actions that other nearby communities or microwatersheds can replicate. Microwatershed management plans are the instrument through which communities recognize, prioritize, and plan projects for sustainable use of water resources in the areas where they live. In this way, these plans also help to improve local water governance.
Fourteen Microwatershed councils were formed in Guatemala and nine Committees in Mexico, comprising local governments and communities living within the Tacaná Watersheds. For example, in the midsection of the Suchiate River, the process incorporated small coffee producers with whom projects have been planned to reduce water use at coffee processing facilities and to improve organic plantations. The Councils were recognized by local governments from the start as town mayors participated in the organizational process. The Microwatershed councils in Guatemala join each other together and therefore expand their actions to include watershed management at different scales. In Mexico, at least two of the Microwatershed committees are now responsible for the implementation of regulations under the new water law. (IUCN 2012)