Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 2 – Guatemala
Sololá, in the western highlands of Guatemala, is the second poorest of Guatemala’s 22 departments, where 94% of people live on less than $3.00 per day. 98% of the population of Sololá is indigenous Maya.
Mil Milagros (MM) is a U.S.-based charity with a local presence. Its mission is to ensure that all children in Guatemala graduate from sixth grade healthy, literate and prepared to continue their education.
It is estimated that over 90% of the water supply in Guatemala is contaminated.
In the Sololá School Filter Project – Guatemala, filters were installed in 6 schools to provide the children with access to clean water for drinking, hygiene, and sanitation. The families of these children now need a way to provide for uncontaminated water in their homes.
41 Sawyer filters will be installed in three partner communities, to be given to the mother leaders who volunteer to prepare meals each school day.
MM will train the mothers on the installation, proper use and maintenance of the filters.
Locations of Projects
1. Paraje Nuevo Progreso, Canton Pahaj, Santa Lucía Utatlan, Sololá Guatemala 2. Aldea Chutinamit Pacaman, San Andrés Semetabaj, Sololá, Guatemala 3. Canton Pahaj, Santa Lucía Utatlan, Sololá, Guatemala
Descriptions of Communities, Problem Descriptions and Filters to Install
Paraje Nuevo Progreso, Canton Pahaj, Santa Lucía Utatlan, Sololá Guatemala
- Nuevo Progreso is a small, rural community in Santa Lucía Utatlan. Families in this community saw the danger of sending their children to the closest school, where they would have to cross a busy highway, and asked each family in the community to put a small amount of money toward renting a two-room schoolhouse. The school has 26 children, 2 teachers and 19 mother volunteers.
- Problem Description: Nuevo Progreso is a community with a serious water problem. There is currently no water in the school or the majority of the homes so water is carried in jugs from a nearby river. (A pump is being installed in a new school well under a separate project to rectify this.)
- Filters to Install: 7 water filters will be installed in Nuevo Progreso, one for each mother leader.
Aldea Chutinamit Pacaman, San Andrés Semetabaj, Sololá, Guatemala
- Chutinamit Pacaman is a small community that was displaced during a tropical storm in 2010. Since then, the 22 families have been living in tents and tin shacks on a soccer field while they push government leaders to purchase the land needed to rebuild. MM feeds all children year-round in this community due to their preciarious circumstances. The community has 34 children, 2 teachers and 19 mother volunteers.
- Problem Description: The community has water from the local town government and when there is no water, they use rain water catchment systems to ensure they have enough water. However, the water is contaminated. The children in this community have really latched on to drinking water regularly as they have had access to water filters that now need to be replaced.
- Filters to Install: 22 water filters will be installed in Chutinamit, one for each family in the community.
Canton Pahaj, Santa Lucía Utatlan, Sololá, Guatemala
- Pahaj is a larger community outside of the main town of Santa Lucía, with a large population of men who are in the United States. Many are unable to send money to their families. The school has 400 children, 19 teachers, and 220 mother volunteers.
- Problem Description: Pahaj has very little water and the water sources are unreliable. They have been lobbying to receive another water source.
- Filters to Install: 12 water filters will be installed in Pahaj, one for each mother leader and her family.
Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Carolyn Daly is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, living in Sololá, serving as In-Country Director for Mil Milagros.
This project expands the concept to include filters in the homes of the students so that the students can share the benefits of clean water with their families and continue to engage in healthful practices. In building on the success of the first phase of this project, the effectiveness, sustainability, scalability, and ease of implementation and evaluation are demonstrated.
This project falls under our ongoing Filters For Life Program – Worldwide, in which we are trying to make sure these high quality Sawyer filters make their way into as many hands as humanly possible. While not as flashy as drilling wells, water filters are probably the single most effective way to prevent death and unnecessary suffereing due to unpotable drinking water (the leading cause of preventable death worldwide).
This project has been fully funded by Aztech Labs.
If you like this concept and would like to sponsor a similar project, just let us know. There is a tremendous need for clean water in Guatemala, and we would love to continue our work there.
This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.