Conclusion of Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase 5 – Guatemala

This project has been completed under the direction of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Carolyn Daly. To read about the start of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was designed to provide 185 water filters to schools and mother leaders in 11 communities in Santa Lucía Utatlán.

Carolyn reports:

Scope of the project
The Sololá Water Filter Project, Phase Five provided 150 Sawyer water filters to mother leaders in eleven Mil Milagros (MM) partner communities in Guatemala’s western highlands. These filters have benefitted 750 family members. Additionally, the project provided 35 filters to four schools, benefitting 525 children and 30 teachers.

Specific work done
Filters were provided to all mother leaders in 11 partner communities and installed in every classroom and the school kitchen in four schools. The communities were: Campo Verde, Chuijomil, Ciénaga Grande, Cruz B, Los Manantiales, Los Planes, Nikajkim, Nuevo Progreso, Pahaj, and Pamezabal. All communities are in the municipality of Santa Lucía Utatlán in Sololá, Guatemala.

Progression of the project
MM staff members trained mother leaders and school staff in the setup and maintenance of the filters as well as explained the expectations for continued use. In the schools, Mil Milagros conducts monitoring visits twice a month and, among other things, monitors the use and condition of the water filters. At the end of each quarter, MM staff provides an evaluation with an associated score for the school in health and hygiene. Proper use and maintenance of the filters is one of the aspects considered.

Similarly, MM staff monitors the use and condition of the filters provided to the mother leaders during home visits. In 2019, MM staff conducted more than 300 home visits to mother leaders in its programs and found that mother leaders who had filters installed in their homes not only were taking proper care and using their filters, but also reported higher consumption of water during the day than mothers who did not have a water filter. 

Finally, MM worked with mother leaders and student council members in each school to conduct health campaigns to promote drinking clean water. MM staff trained the mother leaders and student council members on the benefits of drinking water. In turn, mother and child leaders demonstrated those benefits through posters, presentations, and a choreographed original song to the tune of Marc Anthony’s “Vivir mi vida.” After the assembly in each school, every classroom committed to drinking water every day and created a chart to mark their progress. Parents sent in water bottles for the children to drink from, and the mother and child leaders monitored each classroom’s progress. At the end of the campaign, MM crowned a winner.

End result of the project
In 2019, reported water consumption among our mothers increased by 37% as a result of the combined efforts of increased access with the provision of the water filters, and education provided by Mil Milagros of the importance of drinking water. 

Also, in monitoring visits to the schools, water consumption in the classrooms increased and each child could be seen carrying their water bottle to and from the classroom each day.

Finally, the schools rallied around the water campaign to bring excitement to drinking water and being healthy, something that could be seen in the communities and through engagement on social media.

“I am so proud of our little school,” said Felicito, the principal of Cienaga Grande. “We came together toward a common purpose and were able to promote healthy habits while getting the whole community involved.”

We extend our thanks to Carolyn for completing this important project.  We again acknowledge the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle, of Foster, West Virginia for providing the funds to make this project possible.