Guatemala

Sierra Madre Water Program - Mexico & Guatemala

Sierra Madre Water Program - Mexico & Guatemala

NPCA - WC LogosWATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS, together with The SEXTO SOL Center for Community Action, announce the implementation of the SIERRA MADRE WATER PROGRAM - MEXICO & GUATEMALA.

The program is designed to provide safe water, effective sanitation, and public health services for 300 villages in the Sierra Madre Region of Chiapas, Mexico, through an unprecedented collaboration of the three organizations.

With a target budget of $2,100,000, the program will be implemented in 15 phases, each addressing the needs of 20 villages. Phase 1 is budgeted for $140,000 in improvements.  Phase 1 is already well underway!

Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - Mexico

The program focuses on supplying drinking water using the appropriate technology for each village, with the objective of also providing water for sanitation, hygiene, and agriculture. Benefits will be sought in reducing morbidity and mortality, improving quality of life, improving food security, and providing economic opportunities for direct participants and the community at large.

The projects to be implemented will be those requested by the individual villages to address their specific needs. A complete needs survey for the entire program is well underway, while specific project planning for Phase 1 villages is nearing completion, and preliminary planning continues for each successive village.

The design of each project will incorporate measures to maintain the improvements after completion, thus ensuring sustainability far into the future.

Sexto Sol will provide on-the-ground management of the program and the individual projects. The National Peace Corps Association and Water Charity will raise money for and publicize the program, and recruit Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) to assist with project implementation. Water Charity will participate in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the program, train the RPCVs to perform their tasks, and provide for their deployment.

Edward James OlmosValued Support and Endorsement
We are honored to receive the recognition, support, and endorsement for this program from Edward James Olmos, renowned director and actor of stage and screen.

Mr. Olmos was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the film Stand and Deliver, the only Hispanic-American to be nominated in that category. His career encompasses another 22 wins and 24 nominations. Among his great achievements, he is also recognized for his roles in Battlestar Galactica, Miami Vice, Selena, El Pachuco, and both the stage and film versions of Zoot Suit.

Mr. Olmos is known for his social activism, especially involving the U.S. Hispanic community. He narrated a portion of the movie Zapatista, showing the plight of the campesinos in Chiapas in the mid-90s. 

I am pleased to endorse the work being done by the Sexto Sol Center in partnership with Water Charity to bring potable water and sanitation to impoverished communities in Chiapas. I have stood behind the Sexto Sol Center since they began their service in Chiapas 17 years ago. I know what they are capable of doing. Water Charity is an experienced leader with an impressive track record of bringing clean water and sanitation to under-served communities in 63 countries worldwide. This is the ideal team to efficiently make these much needed improvements in the quality of life for people in the remote mountain villages. I encourage you to support this effort by Water Charity and the Sexto Sol Center. Your support will help them improve the lives of thousands of people. The world will be better for it.
Edward James Olmos

Program Location
This program is being implemented in the Municipalities of Motozintla, Siltepec, El Porvenir, La Grandeza, and other locations in Chiapas, Mexico as well as culturally and linguistically contiguous communities across the border in Guatemala.

300 villages have been chosen for consideration at this time.  As the program winds through its various phases, a specific list of target communities will be compiled.  To see a complete list of the municipalities in Chiapas, CLICK HERE.

Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - Mexico

Needs
The Sierra Madre mountain range rises from the coastal plain, reaching over 10,000 feet in elevation. This important watershed has 98 rivers that flow to the mangrove forests on the Pacific Coast and feed the Grijalva River on the inland side. The land is very rugged with steep slopes and countless sharp ridges that fall away on all sides into canyons.

The watershed was severely clear cut about 20 years ago with no reforestation implemented. This left the region extremely vulnerable to natural disasters that have causeed great hardship for the people living there.  Most notabe were the disasters of 1998 and Hurricane Stan in 2005, both of which devastated the region with material losses that are still felt to this day.

Seasonal flooding causes damage regularly to deforested slopes resulting in major landslides that have become a "normal" occurrence. An active fault and volcanic rumbling create a lot of seismic activity which in July, 2014, resulted in damage to thousands of adobe homes in the poorest areas.

The region is dotted communities of people engaged in agriculture (campesinos). They depend on raising subsistence crops and small scale farming of potatoes, wheat, or coffee to sell. It is considered to be the most impoverished region in Mexico. When then-President Fox visited the region he made the sad announcement that El Porviner town was the poorest town in the country.

Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - MexicoThe people are Maya from three language groups, Mam in the high country, C'atok or Mocho in Motozintla and Tusantan, and Kaqchikel in the Mazapa area. The majority of the people are Mam.

In the 1960s a government program attempted to force acculturation on the population through a form of institutionalized racism that prohibited the people from speaking their language. Elders still speak Mam, but the middle aged population for the most part does not. Children and youth, therefore, have some confusion about their identity. This history has caused great pain and it leads people to not admit to being indigenous. Very few people wear the traditional clothing.

Malnutrition is the norm and is most evident in the children who do not reach normal height and often have trouble paying attention in school. Drought, loss of cultivated land to landslides, and the failure of the coffee crop all have contributed to the furthering of poverty for households in recent years.

When a family member falls ill, the expense can be devastating, sometimes forcing a family to have to sell their land. People die from curable diseases and illnesses that have been eradicated in most of the world are still a problem.

Adult illiteracy is common, with many people over 40 years of age having only attended 2 years of formal schooling. This has improved for children now with better access to rural schools, but typically the teachers are students who have not completed their teacher training.

The Sierra Madre is a mineral-rich region with foreign mining companies eager to strip mine a variety of minerals on the lands inhabited by the people. The tension caused by this looming future is worrisome for the people.

The Sierra Madre region has not received development assistance from the government or from international organizations. The Sexto Sol Center is the only international NGO with a long-term presence in the Sierra Madre.

Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - MexicoTypical Projects
This program is working toward ensuring water for all household uses, including for drinking, cooking, sanitation, and hygiene in 300 communities. It also provides for irrigation of the family and community gardens.

Typically, a community has an old water system that was built years ago, but many households do not receive water, and the system does not meet the needs of the population. The appropriate technology is to capture the water at the source and build a holding tank, and then install a water line over rough terrain to the village.

Typical projects include wells, pumps, rainwater catchment systems, aqueducts, water storage systems, water purification solutions, erosion control, reforestation, flooding prevention, and irrigation systems.

An effort will be made to encompass all of the water, sanitation, and public health needs of each village in a village-designated project. Within the project, there may be several stand-alone sub-projects, say, for example, at a school and at a clinic.

Hygiene and sanitation are inextricably tied to the goal of achieving a safe water source. Handwashing stations are crucial to allow for effective hygienic practices, especially in the schools clinics, and community centers. Bathrooms, erosion prevention, and flooding prevention and remediation are necessary to protect the water sources.

Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - MexicoProjects Underway & Completed
The program was begun with overall planning ascertaining village project needs and moving forward with project-by-project implementation. The first project was implemented in December, 2014, and we have already completed 8 village wide projects!.

This list will be updated with links to the project pages as new projects begin, and there is another list at the end of this posting:

Cipresal Water System Project - Mexico

Xelajú Chico, Hector Paniaguas y Barrio Reforma, Water System Relief Project - Mexico

El Progreso Water System Project – Mexico

Niquivil Water System Project - Mexico

Miguel Aleman Water Project - Mexico

Esperanza Water System Project - Guatemala

Santo Domingo La Cascada Water System Project - Mexico

Cipresal La Cascada Water System Project - Mexico

Agua Prieta Water System Project - Mexico

Checute Water System Project - Mexico

CABIOCHI Water Project - Mexico

Loma Linda Water Project - Mexico

Program Management
The program is being be managed by Tamara Brennan, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action, which serves impoverished communities in the Sierra Madre region of Chiapas, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala.

Sexto Sol previously completed the School Flooding Remediation Project – Mexico in 2010 in partnership with Water Charity.

The Incorporation of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
The program introduces the groundbreaking concept of utilizing Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) in the direct implementation of the projects in each of the communities. RPCVs are people who have returned home after having completed 3 months of training plus 2 years of service in a developing country. They have considerable experience in the community development process and the management of water and sanitation projects.

Water Charity has previously worked with dozens of RPCVs in the implementation of projects. These are dedicated people who have decided to remain in the country after their PC service, people who went to work for local NGOs, which they bring into the process, or people who return to the country after they have been home for a while. We have also collaborated with RPCVs who have Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - Mexicogone on to serve in the Peace Corps Response Program, a short-duration commitment to a specific project assigned by the Peace Corps.

This program is completely unique in scope: It will be the first time that a significant number of RPCVs are being deployed on a large-scale program as volunteers, funded by donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations, to serve under the direction of a local nonprofit.

The RPCVs will be recruited by the NPCA, trained by WC, and deployed to Motozintla for a set, but renewable, term.

The recruitment process will utilize the structure of 139 NPCA Member Groups, which are determined by country of service and hometown. 

It is anticipated that several RPCVs will come from the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Los Angeles (RPCVLA), one of the Member Groups with close ties to Water Charity.

The RPCVs will be fluent in Spanish and have substantial knowledge of and experience in community development. They will “hit the ground running”.

The RPCVs will train the villagers and work side-by-side with them in the detailed planning, implementation, and evaluation of the projects.

The RPCVs will volunteer their time. WC will provide funds for their travel. Sexto Sol will provide management, lodging and in-country transportation.

Benefits 

 

Entire Program

Phase 1 of 15

Budget

$2,100,000

$140,000

Population

70,000

4,666

Number of Villages

300

20

Number of Projects

900

60

Cost/Project

$2,333

$2,333

Cost/Person (3 projects)

$10

$10

This program will benefit about 70,000 people in 300 communities by providing each of them with a reliable supply of safe water and access to effective sanitation, thereby improving the health and wellbeing of all who reside in the region. Phase 1 will help 20 of those communities, and will serve as a proven model for the rest of the program, developing a skilled labor pool and a reliable and economical supply chain for materials and equipment.

Program Funding
Donors may contribute to the whole Phase1 effort, to be allocated where needed for projects by clicking on the DONATE button below, or by donating on the individual project pages, as new projects are started under the program.

Corporate and foundation donations are welcome and encouraged, and amounts and attribution rights will be negotiated.

Individual donations of any amount are encouraged. Every donation of $100 or more toward the overall program will be recognized on this page.

If you wish to donate “in honor of” or “in recognition of” or “in appreciation of”, please include the wording on your donation form or in an email directed to mail (at) watercharity.org If you wish for your donation to be anonymous, just let us know.

Fundraising Target

$140,000 for Phase 1 ($2,100,000 for the 15-phase program)

You can make a difference by helping us improve the lives of thousands of families in the Sierra Madre with your tax-deductible contribution. 

*****

Water Charity
Water Charity is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, established in 2008 and headquartered in California, that does water, sanitation, and public health projects around the world. Since that time, 1,800 projects in 65 countries have been implemented.

National Peace Corps Association
The National Peace Corps Association was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with a mission to championing lifelong commitment to Peace Corps values. The goals of NPCA are to help the Peace Corps be the best that it can be and help returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) and RPCV groups thrive.

The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action
The Sexto Sol Center serves impoverished communities in Chiapas and Guatemala, where a change of vision and specific technical assistance can help people create a better life.  Since 1997 Sexto Sol has assisted people to create success with cooperative businesses, grow health-giving food, improve neglected schools for their children, regain cultural pride, protect the watershed, create eco-villages and heal from the trauma of disaster and conflict.

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Chuquexa II School Water and Sanitation Project - Guatemala

NPCA and WC logos

Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - GuatemalaThis project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - GuatemalaLocation
Chuquexa II School, Sololá, Guatemala

Community Description
The Chuquexa II School is located on the Inter-American highway between Chupol and Las Trampas. The school is divided into two locations, about 100 meters apart.

The combined population is 745 students and 25 teachers, in a village of 4,200 inhabitants.

Problem Addressed
The lower school has sufficient water, but the upper school has less water because of the height of the school in the water system. The bathrooms are in need of renovation.

Project Description
A well will be dug at the school. The bathroom will be renovated and fixtures repaired and replaced as needed.

It is anticipated that water will be reached at 35 meters. An electric pump will be placed on the well, and above-ground improvements made.

Project Impact
770 people will benefit from the project.

Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - GuatemalaChuquexa I School Bathroom Project - GuatemalaProject Administrator
Lynn Roberts, Executive Director, Agua Para La Salud.  Lynn previously completed the Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - Guatemala, in additon to several other projects over the years.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The school will be responsible for the monitoring of the project and the maintenance of the well and the bathrooms.

Funding
This project has been funded through the generosity of the Paul Bechtner Foundation.

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Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - Guatemala

NPCA and WC logos

Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - GuatemalaThis project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.

Location
Chuquexa I School, Solola, Guatemala

Community Description
The village of Chuquexa I is located about 100 km west of Guatemala City astride the Pan American highway in the central highland mountains at about 8,000-foot elevation. The village has Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - Guatemalaa population of about 2,100 individuals.

The school has a population of about 430 students and 14 teachers. The school is divided into two locations about 200 yards apart.

Village life is centralized around agricultural activity, with some small businesses and home artisan activities such as carpentry, weaving, and metal fabricating. Unemployment is very high, aside from the constant need to tend fields for food production. Many households depend upon funds sent by members of the family working in the US. In general funds are limited in the village.

The village has a number of churches mainly evangelical and Catholic. There are some traditional Maya religious activities practiced in the community.

The village is governed by a village committee. The main decision-making process is done in open village meetings directed by the committee. Decisions are made by consensus and not by the 51% rule. Various sub-committees are formed from the village to deal with issues arising in the school, roads, and water systems.

Funding for projects is normally arranged by way of various sources such as the mayor of Solola, Department Development Committees, and private and international institutions. Villagers are normally required to give manual labor to village projects as part of their civic duty. An accurate account is kept by the village committee of these contributions to ensure all give equally.

Problem Addressed
Due to the persistent lack of funds in the community, maintenance is a major problem in the school. The bathroom doors and toilets are in need of replacement or repair. The access to hand washing stations is limited. The entrance to the bathroom area is poorly constructed and has serious problems with drainage that impairs the entrance during rains.

Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - GuatemalaProject Description
This project is to renovate the bathroom at the school. All of the 13 doors to the bathroom, as well as all of the toilets, will be repaired or replaced.

The water storage tanks on the roof will receive new float valves and their plumbing repaired. In addition, drains will be installed in the bathroom area to carry away the storm water, and a cement slab will be poured over the area in front of the bathrooms.

Additional hand washing stations will be added to facilitate hygiene training and activity such as tooth brushing and school maintenance.

Training will be given to the parents committee on the process to maintain the toilets and doors.

The parents committee will provide all of the manual labor for the project and provide sleeping quarters for the masons and feed the masons during the project.

Project Impact
444 students and staff at the school will benefit from the project. The entire community of 2,100 people, including family members, will indirectly benefit.

Project Administrator
Lynn Roberts, Executive Director, Agua Para La Salud

Monitoring and Maintenance
Alberto Xoch Yaxon is the APS supervisor in Guatemala and has been in contact with the village in the initial assessment of the school conditions. He has worked successfully with APS for the last 19 years. He lives in the general area of the school and is well known by the local communities for his past work with Peace Corps Healthy Schools project and projects with other donors. Alberto will supervise and monitor the project and be in charge of instructing the parents committee on the maintenance of the facilities.

Let Girls Learn
Unsecured bathroom doors and poor toilet conditions add to the low motivation to attend school, especially among girls. The project will provide for a healthy and safe environment that will encourage girls to attend and remain in school.

This project has been funded by the Paul Bechtner Foundation.

Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - GuatemalaChuquexa I School Bathroom Project - Guatemala

Conclusion of Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - Guatemala

Conclusion of Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - Guatemala

This project has been completed under the direction of Lynn Roberts, of Agua Para La Salud. To read about the start of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was designed to renovate the bathroom at the school.

To read Lynn’s final report, CLICK HERE.

Lynn concludes:

The villagers, teachers and children of Chuquexa I School are extremely pleased with the results of the project funded by Water Charity. The hygiene practices in the school were immediately observed to improve and also motivated the teachers to increase their hygiene training of the students with the new and improved facilities.

We extend our thanks to Lynn for completing this important project.

Conclusion of Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - GuatemalaConclusion of Chuquexa I School Bathroom Project - Guatemala

 
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Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 4 - Guatemala

Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 4 - Guatemala

NPCA and WC logos

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

Location
This project tales place in Sololá, the second poorest department of Guatemala, where 94% of the families live on less than $3.00 per day. According to the Guatemalan government, 98% of the state of Sololá is indigenous Maya.

1. Paraje Nuevo Progreso, Canton Pahaj, Santa Lucía Utatlán, Sololá, Guatemala
2. Los Planes, Chuchexic, Santa Lucía Utatlán, Sololá, Guatemala
3. Canton Pahaj, Santa Lucía Utatlan, Sololá, Guatemala
4. Casco Urbano, San Juan la Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala

Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 4 - GuatemalaProblem Addressed
Sources estimate that 90-95% of the water in Guatemala is contaminated. While the mothers have learned that water is the best thing to give their children to drink, they don't have a source of clean water in their homes, and water can often be more expensive than sugary drinks.

Project Description
This project is to provide 100 Sawyer water filters to families in the following communities:

1. Paraje Nuevo Progreso, Canton Pahaj, Santa Lucía Utatlan, Sololá Guatemala
     a. Nuevo Progreso is a small, rural community in Santa Lucía Utatlan. The community has fought with Mil Milagros by its side to build a two-room schoolhouse, kitchen, bathrooms, and playground for the children in the community. The community has 36 school-aged children, 26 babies and young children, two teachers, and 37 mother volunteers.
     b. Problem Description: Nuevo Progreso is a community with a serious water problem. MM provided the funds for the community to build a well in the school and Water Charity provided the pump in 2014. We are currently working with Rotary International on a larger, community-wide water project to provide sufficient water for 20 families and another source for the school.
     c. Project: Four filters will be distributed to mother leaders in the nutrition program in Nuevo Progreso.

2. Paraje Los Planes, Canton Chuchexic, Santa Lucía Utatlán, Sololá, Guatemala
     a. Chutinamit Pacaman is a rural community 20 minutes from the town center of Santa Lucía Utatlán. The school has 194 children, 10 teachers and 20 mother leaders.
     b. Problem Description: Many families in this community have limited access to running water. The rates of childhood malnutrition are nearly 80% in this community, in large part due to poor hygiene practices and drinking contaminated water.
     c. Project: 20 filters will be distributed in Los Planes for the mother leaders in the nutrition and health/hygiene programs.

Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 4 - Guatemala3. Canton Pahaj, Santa Lucía Utatlan, Sololá, Guatemala
     a. 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. MM is serving Pahaj with an early childhood development program.
     b. Problem Description: Pahaj has very little water and the water sources are unreliable. They have been lobbying the government to receive another water source.
     c. Project: 9 water filters will be distributed to the mother leaders in the early childhood development program in Pahaj.

4. Casco Urbano, San Juan la Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala
     a. San Juan la Laguna is a town of 5,800 residents situated on Lake Atitlan. They are coffee farmers who work small plots of land to feed their families and are dependent upon crop yields and at the mercy of the pricing of large intermediaries for their livelihoods. Mil Milagros works with all four public pre- and primary schools in San Juan la Laguna.
     b. Problem description: The local community health center in San Juan la Laguna reports that they have 7-10 diarrhea-related illnesses in the health center each month and many more that go unreported. The health center named poor water conditions as one of the primary reasons for the intestinal infections they treat.
     c. Project: 67 water filters will be distributed to the mother leaders in the four primary schools in San Juan la Laguna.

Project Impact
Over 600 people will benefit from the project.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Carolyn Daly, RPCV, In-Country Director, Mil Milagros, a local NGO that has as its mission to partner with communities to prevent malnutrition and hunger and improve the health and education of children in Guatemala. To achieve this goal, they implement programs in eight communities serving more than 1,400 children. The early childhood development program currently serves more than 200 babies and young children and more than 150 mothers in weekly workshops on topics in nutrition, health and hygiene, child development, and early literacy.

Monitoring and Maintenance
Mil Milagros will manage the project and monitor and evaluate its success.

Funding
This project has been funded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle, of Nelsonville, Ohio.

Funds raised in excess of the project amount will be allocated to other projects in Guatemala

 

 

 

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Palencia and Suchitepéquez Water Filter Project - Guatemala

Youth carrying water

This project is made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association.

Location

Potrero Grande, Marillanos, Tecomates, Joyas, Chorritos, Bejucalito, Anonos,Triunfo,Volcancito, El Esfuerzo, and Veracruz communities, Guatemala
To see the villages on a map, CLICK HEREwater

Community Description
The communities in this project are located in two municipalities: Palencia and San Juan Bautista (Suchitepéquez). While the communities are spread out geographically, they have many social and economic factors in common. They are rural communities, where the majority of families live in adobe homes with limited access to water or electricity. These are agricultural communities where many adults never graduated from primary school, instead working in the fields from a very young age. Some of this generation’s children are the first in their family to attend secondary school, although few do.

While the majority of these communities have a communal water source, it is often drawn straight from a well, spring or river and is contaminated. Water must be boiled, chlorinated or filtered before use; but because of the time and cost involved, these methods are not commonly practiced. Through informal conversations with community health workers, we know that the number one illness for which families seek treatment in these communities is diarrhea.

Problem Addressed
Access to clean water is a common problem in Guatemala, as in many developing countries around the world.  UNICEF reports that diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children under 5 around the world, and that 6% of deaths each year in children under 5 years in Guatemala are due to diarrhea.

Village women preparing foodAccess to improved water sources and to improved sanitation have increased in Guatemala over the past few decades.  The country is now seen to be “on track” to meet the Millennium Development Goals 2000 - 2015 (MDG 2000 – 2015) water and sanitation targets, but rural areas still lag behind. As of 2012, 89% of the rural population has access to an improved water source, while 99% of urban populations do; the other 11% of rural populations still rely entirely on unprotected, or surface water sources such as open springs or rivers.

This is the case in El Volcancito, Palencia and El Esfuerzo, Suchitepéquez where community members carry water from uncovered springs where water gathers in an open pit in the ground, leaving it exposed to contamination. The rural/urban disparity is not unusual in the developing world; but points to an opportunity to increase investment in clean water in rural communities.

Of the 11 communities listed here, 5 child-feeding centers (45%) do not have an improved water sources. Furthermore, even when an "improved" water source does exist in Guatemala, it is often still contaminated and likely to make people sick. This is more so the case with travelers and children, whose immune systems are not used to the local microbes, but waterborne pathogens put a strain on everyone's health.

Project Description

With support from Water Charity, Feed the Children, Inc. will distribute 50 Sawyer filters in 10 different high-need rural communities, focusing on areas with high concentration of children such as schools, community feeding centers, and health centers. In each location, Feed the Children, Inc. will either identify an existing water committee or form a new one to take ongoing responsibility for the use and maintenance of the filters. Feed the Children, Inc. will train the committee on the simple maintenance procedure to keep the filters in optimal condition; and with the committee, carry out a series of educational activities using song, stories and drama to teach the local target population about the importance of drinking clean water. (These educational activities will be adapted from the Peace Corps’ “Healthy Schools” curriculum, developed and extensively field-tested by volunteers in Guatemala.)

Young girl carrying waterWater Charity has worked extensively with these Sawyer filters, and has even created an entire worldwide program to help distribute, install, and train people in their use. This project is part of this larger worldwide program.

The carbon nano-tube technology used in these filters has proven extremely effective and long-lasting. It has its roots in kidney dialysis machines, and the filters are engineered to have no holes larger than .1 micron... thus eliminating the possibility of any microbes passing through. These filters are guaranteed for one million gallons of clean water, with a very high flow through rate. In practice, the filters can last much longer with only a bit of rudimentary care, back-flushing them with a syringe like tool when they get clogged with sediment.

Project Impact
This project will impact approximately 3,850 people, primarily children.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Claire Mocha (who began working with FTC after serving as a PCV in Guatemala for 2 years)

Monitoring and Maintenance
Feed the Children, Inc. has an ongoing presence in each community, visiting at least twice a month.  Our field staff will train a group of responsible persons in each community to oversee the proper use and maintenance of the filters. In schools, this will likely be the existing cleaning committee of teachers and parents who already oversee the cleanliness of school grounds and facilities; in the feeding centers, several volunteer mothers will be chosen to be responsible for the filters. Sawyer Point ONE filters require very little in the way of maintenance, and have an average lifespan of up to 10 years; but Feed the Children, Inc. staff will be visiting the sites regularly to ensure that the filters are functional and being utilized.

Comments
Feed the Children, Inc. is partnering with teachers and parent committees in all of these communities, and the filters supplied by Water Charity will be installed in locations where FTC is already established with food programs and education. 

This project falls under our Filters For Life Program - Worldwide.

Dollar Amount of Project
$2,500
Donations Collected to Date
$2,500
Dollar Amount Needed

$0 - This project has been fully funded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle, of Nelsonville, OH, USA.

Any additional donations will go toward future projects in Guatemala.

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.

Young girl drinking from the streamwater jugs lined up

woman in the villageYoung girl getting water

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Esperanza Water System Project - Guatemala

Esperanza Water System Project - Guatemala

NPCA & WC LOGOSThis project is made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association.

Location
Esperanza, Guatemala

MapCommunity Description
Esperanza is a settlement located on the Guatemala side of the border in the Sierra Madre region of Central America. Over 15 years ago, the community joined together to create a water system to provide water for their homes.  The project was very ambitious and they had to overcome many logistical challenges given the steep terrain and long distance to reliable streams.   At that time they managed the difficult task by working together patiently until they succeeded in creating a water line 19 kilometers long. 

The water comes from three different rivers with some pretty ingenious solutions having been made on the spot in order to get the fragile PVC pipe across ravines and over rugged cliffs.  Two nearby communities in Mexico, Barrio Veracruz and Bacantón Altamirano, both in Municipio de Mazapa, also receive their water from this system.  

It is a very rugged area with vast amounts of sandy soil that does not hold up in the torrential seasonal rains.  Landslides are common.  Earthquakes are frequent and can be very strong as well. 

The people living in these communities are "campesinos", peasant farmers, who make their living by growing corn, beans and vegetables for their own use.  As is typical in this region, a few people have storefronts in their homes where they sell products to their neighbors but few people have paying jobs.   Many people grow vegetables that they sell at the local markets in Motozintla or Tacana. 

Most homes are made of adobe with corrugated metal roofs.  Young people look to the possibility of immigrating to the United States to find work as their only way to improve the quality of life for their families, earn enough to make it possible to build a cinderblock house or buy a used truck that would give them better options to create work for themselves. 

Esperanza WomanProblem Addressed
In 2005, Hurricane Stan, a catastrophic event in Central America, caused a great deal of damage to the water system they have not been able to repair to date.  The landslides from the heavy flooding broke sections of pipe that no longer can be patched to keep them working. 

The hurricane caused heavy damage to the many cement tanks that were originally built to slow down the force of the water as it rushes down slope.  The lack of water is a great hardship to the families, especially since it is very far to walk if they were to try to carry water by bucket for domestic use. 

Work teams currently have to go along the 19 km every couple of days to figure out where the latest problem has caused the water to stop arriving to the homes.  They replace broken PVC pipe and upgrade the catchment dams and other structures that have cracked and are no longer working well.  

Project Description
This project is to build a new water system for Esperanza.  The system will consist of an improved catchment system to capture the water at the source, a storage tank above the community, and a system of durable hose.  The hose, which has a 20+ year life span, is flexible, and conforms to the contours of the rugged terrain.

The project will consist of the men first working together to transport the materials from the road to where they will be needed.  That will be a challenge given how large the rolls of hose are and that there is only a walking path that takes them over very rugged terrain.  They will need to carry the cement by hand as well. 

Once these materials are in place, the next phase will be to replace damaged PVC with the polyduct hose.  In many places it will require the teams to pull the heavy hose across canyons and to secure it on cement posts were necessary. Then they will build new tanks and registers to replace those damaged by Hurricane Stan.  These structures will be built with a larger amount of cement than usual so that they will withstand any future severe weather events or earthquakes.  

broken pipeProject Impact
1,716 people will benefit from the project

Project Director
Tamara Brennan, Ph.D.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The people of the community, and their new water board, will be responsible for care and maintenance of the new water system.

Sexto Sol will return to the village on occasion to check up on the project and its continued sustainability.  The villagers will also be able to contact Water Charity and Sexto Sol, in case they require additional assistance.

Comments
The work team is a group of people who are exemplary in their commitment to working together for the common good of all of the families that belong to their water association. 

This project is part of the ongoing Sierra Madre Water Program, a comprehensive effort to improve water access in the underserved and impoverished Sierra Madre de Chiapas region of Mexico, spanning the border with Guatemala.  These projects are designed and implemented by Water Charity and local NGO the Sexto Sol Center for community development.  This is the sixth project directed by Sexto Sol.

Pipe over a rvineAs part of the project The Sexto Sol Center will work with the women to give them new ways to economize the use of water. This will include establishing ways to use grey water to avoid the contamination that usually happens when they simply let used water pool on the ground. They will be taught about how to use grey water for watering family gardens. If all goes well, the families will also be provided with fruit trees that will be watered with grey water. There will also be information provided on how to keep water clean and safe for domestic use.
 
Dollar Amount of Project
$5,800

 

Donations Collected to Date
$5,800

 

Dollar Amount Needed
$0.00 - This project has been fully funded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle of Nelsonville, OH, USA.

Donations over the project amount will be used for future projects in Mexico.

 

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.

Kid from EsperanzaEsperanza
Pipe pathPipe over a valley
Esperanza farmOficina De Agua Potable

 

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Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 3 - Guatemala

Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 3 - Guatemala

NPCA & WC LOGOSThis project is made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association.
 

Location
Pahaj, Santa Lucia Utatlan, and San Juan la Laguna communities - Sololá, Guatemala

Community Description
Community group of mothersAll of the communities reside in Solola, the second poorest department of Guatemala, where 94% of the families live on less than $3.00 per day.

Problem Addressed
The water quality is rather poor in these villages, and waterborne illnesses are widespread.

Water Charity has had 91 Sawyer water filters installed in the region since 2014, through Mil Milagros (NGO run by RPCV and WC alum).  These filters are now being utilized in 45 classrooms, five school kitchens, and 41 homes.  Mil Milagros has monitored the use of the filters through weekly visits to the schools and continued follow-up with the families.  The children have asked for water filters for their homes because they are now drinking water at school and want to be able to do so at home as well.

The mothers have asked for the filters because they have learned through Mil Milagros' training that they need to ensure that their children are as healthy as possible.  Sources estimate that 90-95% of the water in Guatemala is contaminated.  So, while the mothers have learned that water is the best thing to give their children to drink, they don't have a source of clean water in their homes, and water can often be more expensive than sugary drinks.  One mother leader mentioned, "My children are asking for water at home instead of 'fresco' (a sugary fruit drink), and I want to be able to give it to them, but there isn't anywhere near my house to get water."

Project Description
50 Sawyer water filters will be installed in the homes of "mother leaders" in the three communities. 

Mil Milagros will distribute the filters to leaders of its early childhood nutrition, school nutrition, and health and hygiene commissions, as well as give a demonstration on the correct installation and use of the filters.  The coordinators will then follow up with mother leaders to ensure proper maintenance and use long term.

Project Impact
300+ people will benefit directly.  Friends, neighbors and visitors to these homes, will also enjoy access to clean, safe drinking water.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Carolyn Daly

Family membersMonitoring and Maintenance
Mil Milagros (1,000 Miracles) is the NGO in Sololâ that Carolyn runs, and they will monitor the success of this project.

Comments
This is Carolyn's 4th project with Water Charity.  As mentioned above, this project is a continuation of the work done in the first 3 projects, and it builds upon the successes they achieved.  This project falls under the Filters for Life Program – Worldwide which Water Charity enacted to help spread the Sawyer, carbon nanotube filter technology to people in need. We are happy to support the fine work that Carolyn is doing in this region.

To read about the previous projects Carolyn has done with us, click the following links:

Links to the conclusions of these fine projects can be found at the end of their project pages.

Dollar Amount of Project
$2,500

Donations Collected to Date
$2,500

Dollar Amount Needed

$0.00 - This project has been fully funded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle of Nelsonville, OH, USA.

 

Any additional donations will go to future projects in Guatemala.

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE


Community meeting
 

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Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 2 - Guatemala

Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 2 - Guatemala

Location
Sololá, Guatemala

Community Description
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.

Problem Addressed
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.

Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 2 - GuatemalaProject Description
This project consists of 3 individual projects with 5 separate locations, community descriptions and problem descriptions.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Problem Description:  Pahaj has very little water and the water sources are unreliable.  They have been lobbying to receive another water source.
  3. Filters to Install:  12 water filters will be installed in Pahaj, one for each mother leader and her family.

Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 2 - GuatemalaProject Impact
About 240 people, comprised of volunteer mothers and their families, will benefit from the project.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Carolyn Daly is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, living in Sololá, serving as In-Country Director for Mil Milagros.

Carolyn previously completed the Sololá School Filter Project – Guatemala, and is working on the Nuevo Progreso Pump Project – Guatemala.

Comments
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.

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Nuevo Progreso Pump Project - Guatemala

Nuevo Progreso Pump Project - Guatemala

Location
Paraje Nuevo Progreso, Canton Pahaj, Santa Lucía Utatlan, Sololá, Guatemala

Community Description
Sololá is located in the western highlands of Guatemala. It is the second poorest state, with 94% of people living on less than $3.00 per day. According to the Guatemalan government, 98% of the state of Sololá is indigenous Maya.

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.

They have recently received land to build their new school and have begun the process to construct the building. The school currently has 30 children, 2 teachers and 17 mother volunteers.

Nuevo Progreso Pump Project - GuatemalaProblem Addressed
Nuevo Progreso is a community with a serious water problem. There is no water in the school or the majority of the homes, so mothers have to get water from other sources and carry large jugs on their heads to provide water for the school and their homes.

The community has recently dug an 18-meter deep well on the new school land to provide water for the school for the hygiene program, nutrition program, and general usage.

Project Description
This project is to purchase and install a pump, piping, fixtures, and fittings to provide for the water needs of the school.

The project will be implemented under the direction of the school and town council of Nuevo Progreso, and directly managed by the school principal and the president of the town council.

The work of assembling and installing the system will be performed by local well experts.

Nuevo Progreso Pump Project - GuatemalaWater Charity funds will be used to pay for the skilled labor as well as the equipment and materials, including a submersible electric pump and motor of suitable capacity, a control panel, tubing, pipes, adapters, cables, and a small water storage unit.

Project Impact
49 people will immediately benefit from the project, with many more to be served in the future as the school population continues to increase.

Project Director
Carolyn Daly is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, living in Sololá, currently working for Mil Milagros. She previously completed the Sololá School Filter Project – Guatemala.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The school will create and implement a plan for continued maintenance. Mil Milagros staff will monitor the pump to ensure it is properly used and maintained.

Comments
This project will improve the health and wellbeing of students and their families, as well as the school staff. It will add to the educational experience by relieving all of the beneficiaries of the daily responsibility of bringing water to the classroom for ready use during the school day.

Dollar Amount of Project
$1,280.80

Donations Collected to Date
$1,280.80

Dollar Amount Needed
$0.00 - This project has been fully funded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle of Nelsonville, OH, USA.

This project has been completed.  To see the results, CLICK HERE.

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Guatemala City Garbage Dump Water Filters Project – Part 3

Guatemala City Garbage Dump Water Filters Project – Part 3

This is a follow-up to two great projects completed in recent years in partnership with Safe Passage, a nonprofit operating in Guatemala City, to provide for the clean water needs of those living and working in Central America’s largest landfill, the Guatemala City Garbage Dump.

Guatemala City Garbage Dump Water Filters Project – Part 3These garbage dump workers spend long days sorting through trash to find and sell recyclable items. They live in homes without running water and experience frequent health problems including gastrointestinal infections, parasites, and amoebas.

Safe Passage is a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit with operations in Guatemala City. The organization provides approximately 550 children with education, social services, and the chance to move beyond the poverty their families have faced for generations.

Water Charity partnered with Safe Passage in 2009 in the Project for Garbage Dump Workers of Guatemala. The goal was to improve the health of families participating in Safe Passage’s programs. 46 ceramic water filters from were provided to 42 women enrolled in the Adult Literacy program, as well as one small filter for the Literacy classroom and three large filters, one for the Early Education Center and two for the main Reinforcement Building.

In 2010, under the Guatemala City Garbage Dump Water Filters Project – Part 2, 35 ceramic filters were provided to new families. Safe Passage continued to work with the beneficiaries and provide education and training and to document the health benefits that have accrued from the consistent use of the filters.

In 2012, Water Charity recognized the evolving technology becoming available to purify contaminated water, and started the Filters for Life Program – Worldwide. The program uses the Sawyer filter technology, involving carbon nanotubes to remove all known pathogens, bacteria, cysts, protozoa, and even the smallest viruses. The filters have been proven to last for 10 years with minimal maintenance.

Guatemala City Garbage Dump Water Filters Project – Part 3The efficacy of the technology has been shown in various locations, including in the recently completed Water Charity Typhoon Haiyan Relief – Philippines.

With a continually changing population in need of clean water, and in consideration of the success of the first two projects, it was recognized that it was time for another filter project it partnership with Safe Passage.

This new program is to assemble and deliver 50 Sawyer PointONE filters to families of children enrolled in the Safe Passage program.

The filters can be set up in a matter of seconds. They have a high flow rate, eliminating the need to store water, reducing the chances of water being contaminated after it is filtered.

The program will provide safe water to over 300 people.

Recipient families will be trained in the use and maintenance of the filters as well as other aspects of hygiene and sanitation. Safe Passage will ensure that the filters are being used and maintained properly and will evaluate the health benefits that have been achieved.

This project has been fully funded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle, of Nelsonville, OH, USA.

Additional donations for this effective and worthy project will go for other projects in Guatemala.

This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.

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