Guatemala City Garbage Dump Water Filters Project – Part 2

This is a follow-up to the great project completed last year in partnership with Safe Passage, a Guatemala-based NGO. To read about that project, CLICK HERE.

The population to be served is a portion of the 3,000 people who live and work in Central America’s largest landfill, the Guatemala City Garbage Dump. These people spend long days sorting through trash to find and sell recyclable items. They have formed communities on top of layers of trash, with tin walls and roofs housing an average of eight people per household.

Within these homes there is a general lack of running water and hygienic practices, leading to frequent health problems including intestinal infections, parasites, and amoebas among others.

Many only receive water for a couple of hours in the morning or night, where it is stored in a barrel for up to 24 hours. The water is exposed to bacteria and other microorganisms, making it harmful to the health of children and families when consumed.

Women, Camino Seguro - GuatemalaSafe Passage’s mission is to create opportunities and foster dignity through the power of education. Their program currently serves over 500 children and nearly 300 families.

Water Charity intervened in May of 2009 with the goal of improving the health of families participating in Safe Passage’s programs. Under the direction of Liz Love, who heads up the Adult Literacy program, we provided 46 water filters from Ecofiltro to 42 Adult Literacy homes, 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.

These filters, along with one workshop on the use of the filter and good hygiene practices, have reduced the frequency of diarrhea and other intestinal problems in the target families. In addition, there have been many reports of higher consumption of water and satisfaction with the water quality.

Building on the success of the pilot project for water filters, along with Safe Passage’s desire to support more of the families participating in its programs, this project provides the opportunity to extend access to clean water to additional families.

The Adult Literacy program continues to grow, now including a new Men’s Evening Class and many new students. This project is to provide 35 additional Ecofiltro ceramic water filters to serve 280 persons in this new and unserved group.

Additionally, Safe Passage will provide training on installation and maintenance of the filters, along with general hygiene and nutrition, to each family.

Water Charity holds to the model of following up successful high-impact projects, more of the same. The first filter project more than met our expectations in terms of the numbers served, the compliance in continued use of the filters, and the resultant reduction of waterborne illness. The recipients were, and continue to be, very appreciative, noting the obvious decrease of illness within their families. We are grateful for the opportunity to be able to expand the concept to an additional group of people as part of the integrated services being provided by Safe Passage.

This project has now been fully funded, through the generosity of The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust as a part of their Clean Water Projects initiative.

We are particularly appreciative of the support by Six Senses for our projects in Guatemala during these trying times in the wake of the volcanic eruption and flooding. Any donations using the Donate button below will go toward additional water and sanitation projects for the families at the Guatemala City Garbage Dump, which have been particularly devastated by this tragedy.

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