We are proud to announce another exciting project by Water Charity. We feel strongly that this project exemplifies the way international assistance projects should be approached.
While traveling in Guatemala, we had a fortuitous meeting with a Peace Corp volunteer, Katie McKenna. This energetic and enthusiastic young woman reinforced our commitment to follow a strategy of working closely with Peace Corps Volunteers in the field. We let her know that we would be interested in funding any water or sanitation projects she might be able to organize before leaving her post.
Katie got back to us with a wonderful project in which she would work together with the villagers themselves and a local NGO with which she had previously partnered. In short, Water Charity decided to fund the building of latrines for the entire village of Chuisac in Chimaltenango.
The project will be done in stages, with the first 20% already in motion. We will keep everyone posted about it here, and Katie will give us occasional narrative and photographic reports from the field. Here is Katie's assessment of the situation in her village and the need for latrine construction:
Chuisac, Varituc is located 5km outside the town of San Martin Jilotepeque and has a community of about 140 families, the vast majority of whom do not have a latrine in an acceptable condition. The majority of the latrines do not have walls or roofs, and there are some latrines being used by two or three families, on average 8-10 (and as many as 14) people using a latrine. The health promoters in the village have noticed that in some of the houses, grade school kids are defecating in the yard. The community is concerned about its health and wants to better its sanitary conditions and rid themselves of diarrhea diseases, especially in young children (every year multiple infants are hospitalized with diarrhea), and because of this, they are interested in the construction and use of latrines. The latrine consists of a pit in the ground 5 meters deep and 85 cm in diameter, a 1 square meter cement floor with a cement seat, cinderblock walls, a laminated roof, and a PVC tube that serves as a vent in order to get rid of bad odors.
The total cost of one latrine is over 1,000 Quetzales, but the families have agreed to put up half the cost in local materials and manual labor, bringing the price of 1 latrine down to about 560 Quetzales. There are currently about 100 families in Chuisac interested in a latrine, bringing the total amount to 56,000 Quetzales or $7,500.
Water Charity is committed to seeing this whole project through to completion, and will raise the entire $7,500. The labor itself will be done by the villagers, assisted by the Guatemalan NGO Behrhorst Partners for Development. As mentioned, 20% of the project is already funded and underway. That leaves $6,000 as yet unfunded.
If you would like to contribute specifically to this latrine project, you can specify that in a note with your donation. Your entire contribution will be used only for construction in the field, and no portion of it will go for overhead or administration. For just $75 you can purchase an entire latrine.