Conclusion of Sololá School Filter Project – Guatemala
The project was to install 50 Sawyer filters in classrooms and kitchens of partner schools.
Scope of the project
The Sololá School Filter Project provided 50 Sawyer filters to five schools in the Guatemalan state of Sololá. The filters benefited 953 students, 55 teachers and over 550 mother volunteers in the five schools.
Specific work done
Filters were placed within each classroom and the school kitchens, and teachers created a water space in their classrooms for the consumption of water.
Progression of project
Mil Milagros (MM) staff visited each of the five schools to talk about the importance of drinking water. Staff members also trained mothers, teachers and students in the setup and maintenance of the filters as well as expectations for continued use.
After setting up one filter, the staff then supervised mothers and teachers in the installation of the rest of the filters and taught them how to clean the filters as well. The schools and mother volunteers then took responsibility for the maintenance and use of filters daily.
MM staff has conducted regular visits to ensure proper use and care as well. MM's Nutrition and Hygiene Coordinator has conducted talks in each classroom about the importance of drinking clean water to our health and wellbeing.
End result of project
Many people told us that getting children to drink water instead of sugary drinks would be impossible in Guatemala. They told us that it was a cultural norm that would be difficult to change and there was no clean water to drink. In the four months since we have installed the filters in the schools, water has replaced sugary drinks at lunch time and after recess. The children are quickly changing their habits and the mothers are grateful.
One mother from Chichimuch told us, "Thank you so much for the filters. My children are drinking water now and not only am I saving money on juice drinks, but I know they are healthier, too."
We are grateful to Carolyn and to Mil Milagros for completing this project. We again extend our thanks to Michael and Carla Boyle and other donors who have supported this and other water filter projects.