Conclusion of the Water Project for Barrio San Miguel – Mexico
This project has been completedandfunded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle of Foster, WV.To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.
The people in Barrio San Miguel had just about given up hope of ever being able to resolve the long-standing problem they had endured with their water system. They are the last community to receive the water from the pipe that has delivered water to them for several years. The problem has been that the amount of water they received had been greatly reduced as more and more households upstream connected to the line. The news that we were going forward with their water project was met with great relief.
The project started with the men building the catchment dam on the creek. A couple of weeks later it was with a lot of anticipation that they walked two kilometers up the highway at dawn to wait for the truck that would deliver the hose to them. We had it delivered as close to the source as the road went. Then the real work began.
Over the next weeks, the men organized themselves into work crews to carry the large rolls of hose to the site and begin installing it. This is heavy work but with 37 households that were to be served, each family sent someone to participate for the duration until the work was completed. They had to take a break to allow people to harvest their corn but resumed the work as soon as possible.
There was some difficulty initially with how to configure the connection to the original metal pipe. Fortunately, they followed the advice of a longtime volunteer with Sexto Sol, Armando Gutierrez, who assisted them in reconfiguring the connection. This allowed the water to flow unimpeded so that the pressure from the downgrade from the source could push the water up the rise to the community. The people are now enjoying access to more water without the need to ration it or go long periods without. Barrio San Miguel is a very poor settlement. They could not have managed this project without assistance. They extend their most sincere thanks to Water Charity and to the sponsors of this project for making it possible for them to make this significant improvement in the lives of their families and community.
Community Description Surrounded by a health center, pagoda, and market, Ang Metrei Primary School is located in the heart of the village. Due to its location, and its easy accessibility from the main road, Ang Metrei Primary School has the largest number of students in the entire commune. Six large villages that surround the school send their children there. The school is constantly alive with students learning in the mornings and afternoons. When school is not in session, children can be seen running around, and playing games such as soccer and “lot kawsaou” (jump over the rubber band). In this game you can find students, especially young girls, flying through the air as they try to jump over a long braided rubber band at different heights.
Problem Addressed Ang Metrei Primary School is located in the heart of the village and despite the constant heavy flow of foot traffic, there is no clean area for teachers or students to relieve themselves.
Currently the school has two latrines for the whole school. These latrines are falling apart and are nearly unusable. Every day, teachers and students have to carry buckets of water from a faraway well, about 100 meters from the latrine, to fill the cisterns in the bathrooms. Since this is labor-intensive, often enough the latrines are left without water, making their use quite difficult. This creates a situation ripe for open defecation, and this induces fear in teachers and students, especially females.
Since there is no clean bathroom available with clean water to use, teachers and students will limit the amount of water they consume while at school. In doing so they hope to suppress any urge they may have to use the bathroom while at school. This is very dangerous because long-term dehydration is damaging to health. Especially in Cambodia, where the heat can become intolerable, teachers and students need to make sure they are regularly hydrating. During the hotter months (March-May) an increase in the number of young women and children can be seen going to the private clinics for IVs because of dehydration. The opportunity of spreading disease and illness is increased by the lack of clean running water.
Due to its inconvenience, students will not wash their hands on a regular basis, ultimately creating an easy environment for illness and disease to spread. Open defecation, combined with the lack of an area to properly clean up, creates an easy facilitator for the oral-fecal route, which further leads to dangerous dehydration.
Project Description This project is to build new, sanitary restroom facilities for the Ang Metrei Primary School. It will include a large water tank, and handwashing stations.
Construction will begin by digging a 5-meter square pit that is 2.5 meters deep. The latrines will be built upon the first 3 meters of this pit. The remaining 2 meters will hold the main waste cement container that will be hand-constructed with clay bricks and cement. The first 3 meters of the pit will contain three 1 x 1 x 1-meter handmade brick boxes. These boxes will receive the initial waste that is gravity flushed from the toilets and flows through a 100-millimeter pipe into the main waste tank located within the pit directly behind the latrines.
The main waste tank will be 2 m long x 5 m wide x 3 m high. The tank will be hand-made by contractors using clay bricks and cement. The tank will have an excess of 0.5 meters above ground to allow for a metal door to be created on top of the main waste tank to allow easy access for waste to be pumped when full.
The latrine structure, which will all be constructed from clay bricks, will be created over the first 3 meters of the pit. The dimension of the whole latrine structure, with its three stalls, is as follows: The width of the floor is 5 meters, the height of the structure is 3 meters, the width of the roof 5.6 meters, and the depth from the front of the structure to the back is 3 meters. The walls and floors of each latrine will be covered in porcelain tile. This will allow for easier cleanup after every use. The toilets will be porcelain squat style and each bathroom will have a cistern.
On the entrance side of the latrine structure, two sinks will be installed, one on the left wall and one on the right wall. These two sinks will be made of durable metal to guarantee longevity. The location of these sinks is key because it is easily visible from the bathroom stall. As soon as teacher and students exit the stall they will see a sink for them to use.
The sinks will be adhered to the walls with a combination of glue, screws, and cement. The roof of the latrine structure will consist of a flat surface made from cement in order to create a sturdy base on which the 2,000-liter water tank will rest. This tank will be made from durable metal. Water from the tank will be gravity fed through 21-millimeter pipes into the latrines and sinks.
The 2,000-liter tank will be replenished by a private water supply. The school is in the beginning stages of installing plumbing to receive running water from this company. The private company cleans and uses the water from the nearby river. The water pressure from the water plant is strong enough to pump water into the tank. All that will be needed is to install a valve on the 21-millimeter pipe leading to the tank from the pipes, installed before the start of the project. The water company has promised to install the plumbing into the school for free before the start of the project. This guarantees that teachers and students will have continuous access to water in the latrines and sinks. Nonetheless, the water from the water plant is not potable. It is however safe for common everyday use.
The school, at this time, has water filters, given by USAID, in each of its classrooms for the teachers and students to use. These filters have not been as beneficial as they could be because everyone that attends the school limits the amount of water they drink in a day because they do not want to have to use the bathroom while at school. By constructing latrines with continuous access to running water, teachers and students will not only feel comfortable using the bathrooms, but this will encourage proper hydration while at school. Lastly, the installation of the sinks will further encourage students to practice proper hand-washing techniques. Teachers will help reinforce this practice by holding hand-washing workshops in their respective classes.
Project Impact This project will directly impact 619 people, including 600 students ranging from the ages of six to twelve years of age and 19 teachers on staff. This project will also impact visitors and future students and staff.
Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project Giselle Campos
Monitoring and Maintenance This project will be monitored and maintained by the PCV as well as teachers, parents and community members.
Comments This project is part of our Let Girls Learn Initiative.
Young women and children are the most vulnerable when dealing with issues related to water and sanitation. For young boys, urinating in public is a common practice. However, for young girls urinating in public is highly frowned upon. For this reason, girls will limit the amount of water they will drink in a day because they are afraid of having to use the bathroom when away from home. This action promotes dehydration, which is very dangerous in a country with a hot tropical climate. IVs in the arms of young women are too commonly seen in Cambodia. While talking with one of the doctors at a local private clinic he said that the most common reason why his female patients come to seek his care are for symptoms related to dehydration. With the implementation of this project, a clean and safe space for young girls to use the bathroom while they are at school will be created. In doing so their health and wellness will increase, while ultimately decreasing absences from school due to symptoms related to dehydration.
PCV Volunteer, Giselle Campos states that, “Ang Metrei Primary School holds a special place in my heart. Every Sunday you can see me with at least 10 kids playing a pick up game of soccer. This has become something special that my kids look forward to at the end every week. My favorite moment had to be when I first met seven-year-old PoPo at the school. She was a very shy girl who would hide away from playing team sports. After countless encouragement, and a little footwork she now dominates our games with poise and ease. Who knows, maybe we will see her in the future SEA Olympics.”
Dollar Amount of Project $2,100
Donations Collected to Date $0
Dollar Amount Needed $2,100
ADOPT THIS PROJECT BY CONTRIBUTING THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THE PROJECT. Donations of any amount will be appreciated. The full amount will allow you a posted dedication, if that is something you would like.
to Eliminate Disease and Provide Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Chris Roesel, Jeff Morgan, Eric Lehan, and CCEDUC
This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the National Peace Corps Association.
This proposal is to provide water and stop preventable diseases in a rural community of Uganda. The community we propose to help is Dula village in Kei sub-county, Yumbe District, Uganda.
Dula has 358 households (roughly 2000 people). We are raising $15,825 to provide water, sanitation, touchless handwashing stations, malaria eradication, and income generation.
Currently, the only water source for the village is an open water hole shared with animals (shown below). The nearest borehole is in the neighboring village which is 5 kms from the households to access. 54 households do not have latrines. 115 Latrines collapsed due to heavy rains (see the second picture below). Malaria is on an upswing this year. A nearby community reported a 61% malaria incidence rate in 2020.
A few pictures from Dula are attached below:
In the proposed project, Chris Roesel, an RPCV who has an MPH from Johns Hopkins in international health, Jeff Morgan, a local Kansas plumbing company owner and board member of Plumbers without Borders, and CCEDUC, a local Ugandan NGO, with support from Eric Lehan, P.E., Civil/Sanitation Engineer and member of Engineers without Borders, will work with Dula to stop disease transmission by improving water, sanitation, hygiene, and malaria prevention and treatment infrastructure and supplies. The result will be that Dula saves thousands of dollars in medical expenses a year and hundreds of days of lost labor due to illness. The work will be a simple process.
The process will be as follows:
Require upfront community contributions to the community leadership for the activities.
Meet and consult the leadership of the District Health Office (Roesel established this relationship last year).
Convene a community meeting and plan with the community, using the Future Search Conference methodology (futuresearch.net/methodology), condensed into two days.
Initiate baseline survey of water, diarrhea, malaria, and income.
Invite bids for state-of-the-art work from local contractors.
Sign and supervise contracts.
Install at least one well and rainwater collection facilities.
Refurbish or rebuild latrines. Ensure malaria prevention (LLITNs) and treatment.
With the support of TCP Global and VSLA.net, establish a microloans group. Celebrate and conduct an initial evaluation of work.
Impact will be evaluated one year later with the support of DHO. The estimated cost of this project is $15,000, not including travel which will be paid for by team members.
Dula does not have a school nor a health post. It has a village leader and a council team. The village has a Village Savings and Loan Association. The community contribution will be labor and local materials.
LATRINE BASE PLATES, VENTILATION, SCREENS, WELL, STORAGE TANK, and ANTI-MALARIALS
204 latrine base plates and cover of well
Reinforcement of above, 5×4’x150′ rolls
204 4″ conduit pipes
2/3 sheet corrugated iron
3/4″ black iron pipe * 30′
1 10,000 L tank
Walls for latrines
Dula Baseline Survey
10% systematic Household sample (36 households)
Water source for family:
Unprotected well 33%
Unprotected spring 25%
97% had their water source dry up at least once in the last month.
64% were an hour or more from their water sources.
75% (27) had no latrine.
25% (9) had traditional pit latrines.
None had handwashing facilities for their latrines.
Diarrhea incidence in the last 2 weeks:
66% (23) of youngest children had diarrhea
34% did not
94% of youngest children had malaria
Spent an average of 24,556 UGX/month on diarrhea tx=$79.56/year.
Spent an average of 29,761 UGX/month on malaria tx=$96.48/year.
Earned an average of 56,714 UGX/week/hh=$796/year.
Spent 22% of income treating diarrhea and malaria.
The project’s deliverables will be the following in Dula, a village of 358 households:
1) 95% decrease in the incidence of diarrhea
2) 50% decrease in the incidence of malaria
3) 80% decrease in household expenses treating diarrhea and malaria
Conclusion of Water Project for Poblado Ocho de Julio – Mexico
The people in Poblado Ocho de Julio have a last realized their long-awaited desire to secure enough water for all 63 families living there. With the completion of their water project, they now can rest assured that going forward, each family will be able to better prepare their coffee for the market. This opens the possibility for them to organize into a grower cooperative so that they can negotiate a better price from local buyers. Daily life has become significantly easier now that they no longer need to haul water for household use.
The effort to bring water into the community began two years ago when they purchased the rights to a spring in the mountains above their community. They knew that pooling their monies to buy their water source would be a risk since the price they paid tapped out their limited resources, leaving nothing for buying the materials needed to build the system to carry to water to the community. It was understandably a tremendous relief for them when we delivered the 40 huge rolls of heavy-duty hose to their community. It meant that they would finally be able to build the system needed to bring the water into every home.
The communal water line is 4 kilometers long so getting the rolls of polyduct hose into place was a major task. The men shared the challenging work of hauling the heavy material through the steep tropical landscape of volcanic rock and rainforest. It took months to complete the job with a representative from each family providing their labor along with the others on the days they did not have to tend their coffee plots. Where the topography allowed, they buried the hose to protect it. Each end of the hose was fastened to the next with hardware designed to prevent separation. It is expected that the system will last for decades.
In March of 2022, the major rivers in the area are nearly dry even though the “worst” of the dry season is yet to come. Nevertheless, the families are enjoying the security of having a reliable source of clean water.
They send their most sincere thanks to all who made this significant improvement possible. To read about the beginning of the project, Click Here.
Restoration and Protection of Bofedales Project – Peru
The Chijnaya Foundation was created in 2005 to support community-led projects in the Peruvian altiplano, with the goal of helping indigenous communities improve their economic and cultural well-being. Currently, the Foundation and its Peruvian counterpart organization, Pro-DIA, work with 30 Quechua communities to design and implement projects focused on health, education, and economic development. Economic Development is the largest program, and it has helped communities invest over $244K in projects to improve their income-generating activities and increased family income by up to 300% in participating communities. The project for which we are seeking support, The Restoration and Protection of Bofedales, is connected to both sustainable resource management and economic development and will work with 5 alpaca herding communities to support their efforts to overcome environmental and economic challenges that threaten their traditional livelihood.
The Chijnaya Foundation’s Alpaca Program supports local efforts to improve the economic profile of alpaca herders through the production of hand-spun yarn. The program considers the many different factors that must be addressed for communities to sustainably increase their income including reducing herd mortality rates, improving breeding practices, strengthening the organizational and administrative capacities of the local organizations involved, improving yarn production, and restoring and protecting the high wetland areas, called bofedales, that make alpaca herding possible. Many projects have already been implemented in this program including the construction of mobile animal sheds to reduce herd mortality rates, training sessions on yarn production standards, and the acquisition of pure-bred alpacas to improve herd genetics. In 2022, the program will focus on the restoration and protection of bofedales. This project is a key aspect of the Alpaca Program because alpaca herding, and these communities, cannot sustainably exist without bofedales. The project will include the evaluation of the bofedales in 5 communities by a local expert who will then work with each community to design individualized plans for the recuperation and protection of those landscapes. The implementation of these plans will consist of theoretical training sessions as well as work in the field to implement the strategies laid out. The project has received partial funding through a grant from the New England Biolabs Foundation and is looking for additional funding opportunities to support project budget needs.
Bofedales are a type of wetland found in the Andes of Peru and Chile at elevations above 12,500 ft above sea level. They form in flat areas, often near ponds or streams, and can be natural or man-made. Bofedales absorb the limited amount of water available in high-altitude communities from snow, glacial melt, and rain showers and slowly release this water throughout the year. They normally have peat in their soil and vegetation year-round due to the humidity of the soil. These wetlands are a fundamental part of high-altitude environments in the Andes because they help regulate water levels in nearby aquifers, provide water for both animal and human consumption, and provide grazing pasture for livestock. In recent years communities have noted that bofedales are beginning to disappear due to reduced water supplies caused by climate change and overgrazing caused by economic pressure.
This project will take place in 5 alpaca herding communities: Coarita, Sapanccota, Alto Pucarayllu, Pucarayllu, and La Union. These communities are in the districts of Pucará and Paratía in Puno, the southern region of Peru that borders Bolivia, and are located at high altitudes of about 14,000 ft and above in the Peruvian altiplano. At the request of these communities, we facilitated the design of this project to help them attain the goals they set out.
In addition to community involvement in project design, community members will be involved in every step of project implementation. During project implementation, they will participate in training sessions, work with the project team to design a personalized plan of action based on the methods from the training sessions, and then implement the activities from the plan they create.
Materials for projects will be funded using a community rotating loan model that The Chijnaya Foundation uses to fund economic development projects. In this model, community members pay back project funding used to buy materials to their community rotating fund. Each community works with our team to manage the fund by setting interest rates and a timeline for repayment. Once the money is repaid, the community works with our team to design a new project and uses their community rotating fund to implement it.
Through this project, we aim to train 80 people on methods to recuperate and protect bofedales, design and implement 5 individualized action plans, and plant 40 hectares of native grasses. The long-term goals of this project are to increase the water flow of 40 natural springs, recuperate and protect 40 hectares of bofedales, and help communities develop the knowledge and resources they need to properly manage their bofedales and overcome future threats to the landscape.
Strategies and Actions
A local expert in bofedales will be contracted to evaluate and measure baseline data for the bofedales in each community. The local expert, with the assistance of our team in Peru, will design and implement training sessions on methods for recuperating and protecting bofedales and then work with each community individually to create and implement a personalized plan to recuperate, protect, and manage their bofedales based on local knowledge and other proven strategies. Since overgrazing has had a huge negative effect on bofedales, one strategy for recuperation will be to plant native grasses in and around bofedales to improve water infiltration. Wire paddock fences will then be used to protect areas of the bofedales from overgrazing. Another strategy for recuperation will be to dig canals, berms, and swales to strategically direct water to bofedales in order to maximize water flow to natural springs and water infiltration. Baseline data will be measured at the peak of the dry season in September 2022 and training sessions and action plans will be implemented from October- November right before the beginning of the wet season. The first set of project results will be measured in the following year during September 2023.
This project will be evaluated by measuring two important factors: the area of bofedales and the flow rate of the natural springs in bofedales. The area of bofedales will be measured using satellite images or land surveys, depending on the preference and suggestion of the engineer contracted for project implementation. Flow rates can easily be measured by using a PVC tube to allow water to flow out of the spring and then measuring the time it takes to fill a certain volume with the flow from the tube. This method was used to measure the flow rate of natural springs of previous water infrastructure projects implemented by The Chijnaya Foundation.
The Water Charity contribution to this project has been funded through the generosity of the Paul Bechtner Foundation.To read a progress report on this project, CLICK HERE. The project is now completed. Its conclusion report can be found HERE.
Location: Barrio Loma Bonita, Ejido de Benito Juarez, Chiapas, Mexico
Community Description: Loma Bonita is a neighborhood of 41 homes on the western edge of the settlement of Benito Juarez. It is home to 235 people. At that elevation, the weather is cold most of the year. They harvest their corn months after people down the mountain do. On a clear day one can see all the way to the massive Tacaná volcano on the Guatemala border. The two-lane highway that connects to towns deep in the Sierra Madre passes through the settlement with homes located on either side.
This is a place that is prone to natural disasters” said a member of the water association when explaining why life is so challenging for residents of Loma Bonita. In recent years there have been major earthquakes including an 8.2 magnitude quake 3 years ago. Some families continue to live in damaged homes in spite of the risks for lack of the means to repair them. Most homes are made of metal sheeting or adobe. Some are made of cinder-block.
The people rely on their luck growing corn and beans for a year’s subsistence. Some raise the iconic Chilacayote squash that they sell on the side of the road in the fall. Extreme weather in recent years has made even raising these crops difficult. There have been prolonged droughts in the middle of the growing season. Heavy rains can also ruin crops. In 2020, strong winds toppled the corn leaving people with little to feed their families. There are no other opportunities for employment. As a result, the standard of living is very poor. There is one family that is taking advantage of a new program that provides assistance to produce avocado trees. In 4 or 5 years this will provide a commercially valuable crop to sell.
The Problem to be Addressed: The population in Barrio Loma Bonita has grown in recent years as young couples set up households and begin families. They have a water system that was built by the state many years ago but it no longer provides enough water to meet the needs of the community. The catchment dam is in disrepair so a lot of water leaks out. The local government, Ejido de Benito Juarez, granted the community ownership of their water source many years ago. Fortunately, the creek is a reliable source that continues to flow during the long dry season. The people want to create a second water line and storage system so that there will be enough water for all and the underserved households now at the end of the existing water line will receive enough water for their needs.
Project Description: The project will involve establishing a second water line from the original source and bringing it to a collection system next to the community’s public meeting hall. The first step will be to repair the aging dam to prevent the leakage of water. Three kilometers of 2-inch polyduct hose will be installed through the forest, passing under the highway, and ending at the storage system. Teams of men will work together to do the work until it is completed. To create the storage system we will build a cement floor where 4 prefabricated plastic water tanks will be installed. Each will hold 2,500 liters of water. Families will connect their individual hoses to these tanks. The project will provide water to all households in the community, the community meeting house, an elementary school with 50 students and the kindergarten. In addition to empowering families to live with more ease, having water on tap will make it possible for them to grow vegetables in small family gardens to augment their diets.
Administration of the Project: The project will be administered by Tamara Brennan, Ph.D. of The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action, an award-winning non-profit that has had a permanent presence in the region since 1997. This project will be part of the on-going work of the Sierra Madre Water Program, a comprehensive collaboration of the Sexto Sol Center with Water Charity and the National Peace Corps to improve water access in the underserved and impoverished communities in the Sierra Madre region of Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala. To date this multi-year effort has brought water to more than 10,500 people.
Monitoring and Maintenance The people are well organized and committed to doing the work needed to secure water for all. The elected leaders who comprise the water committee oversee the maintenance of the system. They are anxious to begin the work and are committed to working collaboratively under the direction of the leader of their water committee. The people in Loma Bonita want to express their gratitude for the opportunity to solicit this support that would significantly improve their lives. We are grateful to Michael and Carla Boyle of Foster, WV for providing the funding for this project.
This project has been completed. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.
The families living in Loma Bonita are absolutely delighted that running water is finally coming to every home. Loma Bonita is a place where the poverty is severe. Some of the families live in precarious structures that do not afford much protection from the fog and cold in the winter. They would not have been able to cover the cost of expanding their water system without the support of this project. The hardship from not having adequate access to water has ended for them. Now they enjoy the peace of mind that having water on tap brings.
Originally, the community had only asked for support in the form of the hose that would allow them to expand their woefully inadequate system. But it was obvious that in order to build a functioning system, there would need to be a formal way to collect the water for distribution given the terrain and the locations of the homes.
When the men built the new catchment dam and then installed the new water line, they still believed that further work was not necessary. But as expected, the pressure was too much for the system. They agreed to revisit our ideas of how to store the water to better facilitate the distribution and protect the hose.
After a productive brainstorming session with the water committee, we revised the original plan proposed by Sexto Sol. We arrived at a new plan to build a stone and concrete tank on the ridge that would allow gravity to bring the water to the homes below. Indeed, the water pressure is more than enough to make this system viable. So while this project went through a couple of iterations, the final result is a sustainable system that will serve the families for decades into the future.
It should be noted that Loma Bonita is one of the more impoverished communities that we have served to date. For that reason, it is especially gratifying that we could solve their lack of water in this responsive way. A celebration was held with tamales and barbeque to mark the significant improvement in the quality of life for all in Loma Bonita.
On behalf of the families in Loma Bonita, we send their sincere thanks to Water Charity and those whose financial support made this significant improvement in their quality of life possible.
This project has been completed with the generous contribution of Michael and Carla Boyle of Foster, WV. To read about the start of the project, CLICK HERE.
Conclusion Of Barrio Tierra Linda Water Project – Mexico
Barrio Tierra Linda Water Project Final Report
It is the dry season in the Sierra Madre, the time when people suffer the hardships caused by the extreme scarcity of water. Nevertheless, for the first time, the people in Barrio Tierra Linda are feeling relieved to know that they now have enough water for their household needs this year and on into the future.
Their project consisted of connecting 8 kilometers of hose to a pristine, perineal creek deep in the old growth forest above the City of Motozintla. We provided 5.5 kilometers of hose to the members of the water committee. We also negotiated a reduced rate from our supplier for the remaining amount of hose needed, obtaining a substantial savings for them. This made the investment by each family affordable. We delivered the large rolls of hose to three locations to make it easier to carry it the long distances into different points along the 8 kilometer track in the mountains.
The uninhabited and steep slopes have patches of old growth forest, not easy terrain to work in. When the first group went to find the best path for the hose to follow, they got lost. After a couple of hours they had to drop down into the valley to follow the river in order to get back to town.
Once we delivered the hose and other materials, the men got to work right away. They were motivated to complete the work in time to prevent their families from suffering during the dry months. Different teams of men worked on alternating days according to a well-coordinated schedule. They would set out in the pre-dawn darkness to walk the long distance to where they were to work.
The first week a large group worked for several days to clear the dense vegetation to open the path for the hose. Teams continued to work for weeks, enduring rain and strong winds since the weather has become erratic in recent years. Though mornings were cold, January brought relief from the unseasonable rains. The final step was to bury the hose to protect it from the elements.
The hard work has paid off. They have successfully connected the new water line carrying clean water to their communal tank. We are pleased that the experience of having collaborated for the benefit of all the families has given them the pride of accomplishment and has deepened friendships among neighbors.
On behalf of the residents of Barrio Tierra Linda, we extend their sincere gratitude to the kind sponsors of this project and to Water Charity. We at the Sexto Sol Center thank Water Charity for the continued opportunity to bring relief to thousands of people in the Sierra Madre over the years.
This project has been completed under our longstanding and extremely successful Sierra Madre Water Program – Mexico & Guatemala. To see the original project CLICK HERE!This project was funded by Michael and Carla Boyle. Their generous support has made the program in Chiapas a true success.
Description of the Community: Tierra Linda, Beautiful Place, is the name the residents gave to their neighborhood on the outskirts of the mountain town of Motozintla in Chiapas, Mexico. Their homes are located on the ridge rising steeply from the town’s central plaza until it reaches the continental divide of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Over 15 years ago, these families came down from higher elevation where the cold and fog made life pretty miserable, especially for those raising small children. They came to enjoy a better quality of life at the lower elevation where the sun shines most of the time and schools are within walking distance. There are 30 families in the water association with a total of 158 people.
Some of the families maintain large cornfields in the higher elevations on their ancestral lands. There they produce a corn harvest during the rainy season to provide the staple food that will sustain their families. The only commerce in the neighborhood is tied to the highway that passes through. There is a small store, a little stand that sells snacks, and a pleasant café owned by the beloved science teacher from town, all catering to motorists who pass through. One family sells inexpensive pine furniture. Another family makes a living by fixing flat tires when an occasional traveler on the highway falls into bad luck. One man has a low paying job for the city turning the valves to ration the municipal water to the various parts of the city below. Most households have to find a way to get by without a stable income. Homes are very modest and unexpected situations like illness can wipe out all their resources.
There are several multi-generational households. For example, the groundskeeper at Sexto Sol’s permaculture demonstration project is raising his family while caring for a frail parent and his widowed sister and her daughters whose young children call him Papá. He and his wife did not finish elementary school but two of their three children are now attending college on scholarships while working to meet expenses. They will become the first professionals in a large extended family of original inhabitants of this part of the Sierra Madre.
Problem to be addressed: Once the people started building houses, they organized to create the Tierra Linda water association. They collaborated to build their water system, drawing water from the river several kilometers away. They built a stone tank to hold the water for distribution to their homes. That system is still in good condition.
However, over the years the supply of water has diminished significantly due to the new, emerging pattern of irregular rainfall in recent years and also because more people from the drought stricken region are now drawing water from the same river. Demand for water has increased in Barrio Tierra Linda as more families have built homes in the neighborhood and their grown children are now raising families of their own. During the dry season the water that they rely on for all domestic uses dries up for very long periods.
The community has secured the rights to a second source of good quality water as a necessary step to assure that there will be enough water for everyone. They have been granted the exclusive rights to use it by the local peasant authority, the Ejido of Motozintla, a significant win for them. The creek is located at a good elevation so it will provide excellent water pressure for a gravity-fed system. The challenge is that it is 8.6 kilometers away so they will have to establish a second water line in rugged terrain through old growth forest. They have a communal fund for buying hose but it is beyond their reach to buy the entire amount needed. They ask for assistance to purchase 5.5 kilometers of hose. This will put them over the top with what they need to move ahead with their project so that all households will finally have water security.
Description of the Project
The project will consist of installing 1.5 inch diameter hose and connecting it to the existing hose that supplies their water tank. Each joint will be connected with good quality connectors and each end secured with metal rings to prevent water pressure from disconnecting the joints. They will build a small structure to house the valves that they will use to regulate the amount of water from each hose to manage changes in the supply given seasonal variations.
While we will provide them 56 rolls (5.5 kilometers) of 1 ½ inch hose, we will also be able to negotiate on their behalf with our supplier so that they can enjoy the discount the Sexto Sol receives for the purchase of the other hose that they will need to finish the work. This will mean a significant savings for each family.
The men have already begun opening up the pathway for the hose by clearing brush and debris. While it is a lot of work on such a long track, it follows the kind of terrain that they have farmed for generations. By working together, the men will be able to install and bury the hose “in no time” they say. We estimate it will take about 4 weeks to complete depending on the weather and when they can do the work given other commitments.
The water hose will bring clean water from a pristine creek that is far from any dwellings. This will alleviate the extreme scarcity that the people have suffered during the six months or more of the dry season. It will provide water for all domestic uses including drinking and watering small food gardens.
The project for the Barrio Tierra Linda water association will be administered by Tamara Brennan, Ph.D. She is the Executive Director of The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action, an award-winning nonprofit that has been working in the region since had 1997.
This project will be part of the ongoing Sierra Madre Water Program – Mexico & Guatemala, a comprehensive collaboration between Sexto Sol, Water Charity, and the National Peace Corps Association. The program aims to improve access to water in the under-served and impoverished settlements in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas region of Mexico, spanning the border with Guatemala. The program has already brought water to over 20 communities, improving the lives of more than 10,000 people.
Monitoring and Maintenance
The members of the Water Association are well organized and committed to doing all that it will take to build the water system and to keeping it maintained as has been their established routine. Each year a new member is elected to direct the association. The Patronato del Agua is charged with organizing the men and youth from each household to collaborate to maintain the system. Should any problems arise in the future, the members would share the costs of any needed repairs. The hose is guaranteed by the manufacturer to last more than 15 years.
This project has been successfully completed. To see the conclusion report, CLICK HERE.
This project has been funded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle of Foster, WV.
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This project involved constructing and installing covers for four wells in the 3 largest neighborhoods in Diankancounda Ogeul. This was an ambitious project to make the wells used for drinking water as secure and clean as possible.
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This project included digging a borehole in the spring, adding a 10,000L storage tank, and installing a piping system, supported by a solar pump, to provide water for the village. Prior to the addition of this new borehole, the water structures did not supply enough water for each individual to access the necessary 20 L bucket a day.
This project included building a well to provide water for the women’s garden. The women and children spend a lot of time protecting their fields. Prior to the project, the lack of water for the crops led to lower productivity and subpar levels of nutrition within Dayxxx.
Conclusion of Rancheria Salanueva Water Project – Mexico
Completion of the Water System for the residents of Rancheria Salanueva
The people in Salanueva are planning a big celebration to inaugurate the newly completed water system, as is the custom in the Sierra Madre. Now that they know their water supply is secure, they are relieved that they no longer have to worry about how they will get by during the 7 months of the long dry season. The coffee farmers among them now enjoy the certainty that they will be able to properly maintain the new plants they are growing in their nurseries for transplanting next spring. The community leaders have long wanted to plant shade trees in their schools, cemetery and other spaces to beautify their community and create respite from the intense heat. They are delighted that they will be able to maintain the shade trees we’ve provided for their communal spaces once the rainy season ends.
The work to bring water to the community got off to a slow start when the pandemic slowed down manufacturing and commerce in Chiapas. The factory that produces the hose cut production dramatically, causing a backlog and a long delay until hose was available. Fortunately we were able to obtain the materials needed and deliver them to the community.
The men opted to build their holding tank before installing the hose in order to be able to store the large amount of water that would come from the deep pool at the source. Once that was built it was only a matter of days with the men and youth working together to install the two and a half kilometers of hose and bury it along its course to protect it. Now that the water is reaching all of the homes, we’ve been told to prepare ourselves for that celebratory feast. The leader of the water committee sent a heartfelt message of thanks to all who made this important improvement in their lives possible. They are especially grateful to Michael and Carla Boyle for their generosity. They send their gratitude to Water Charity.
To read about the beginning of this project, CLICK HERE.