Conclusion of Filter Project for Garbage Dump Workers – Guatemala
We are pleased to report the conclusion of the pilot projects to install water filters in the homes of the members of the Women’s Literacy Group of Safe Passage (Camino Seguro) in Guatemala City.
You can read the history of this project HERE.
The project resulted in the installation of 43 point-of-use Ecofiltro ceramic water filters, and the training of all recipients in the proper use and maintenance of the filters. In addition, 3 large filters were placed in Safe Passage public areas.
The project began with studies by Ecofiltro, a nonprofit that manufactures clay filters in Guatemala, showing that the water coming out of the municipal water pipes was polluted with contaminants, such as e coli, at least 87 percent of the time.
There were also health records kept by the Safe Passage clinic, and the nursing staff had concluded that children suffered from diarrhea and other gastro-intestinal illnesses due to unsafe water much of the time.
Safe Passage then did a baseline study, meeting with all of the filter recipients and collecting extensive background data. This data will allow them to follow the families on regular intervals, coinciding with regular visits to assure that the filters are being used properly. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the filters in eliminating or cutting down disease is now possible.
As an added bonus, the participants in the program will receive a 20-hour course on nutrition, hygiene, and holistic health for themselves and their families, conducted by La Familia de Las Americas.
The project was extremely gratifying in many respects. First was the opportunity to work with Safe Passage, an organization doing such great work with the families that work at the Guatemala City Garbage Dump. Their integrated approach, taking into account the many needs of a specific segment of the population, allows individuals to elevate themselves from the difficult conditions in which they are surrounded.
The project was led by Liz Love, who directs the Adult Literacy Program at Safe Passage. Through her hard work and dedication, this project was carried out without a hitch.
Working with a cohesive group of motivated mothers will assure compliance in the use and maintenance of the filters, and allow for evaluation.
Many international aid organizations focus on the needs of communities in the rural areas, sometimes resulting in neglect of urban communities. With dense population, urban pollution, and difficult sanitation problems, the cities are in need of increased and immediate attention.
We will be continuing our involvement with Safe Passage to deal with the needs of the community they serve, with other water and sanitation technologies that may be appropriate.