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Nov 16, 2017

Final Update and New Project Launch!

A family celebrates their new rainwater system
A family celebrates their new rainwater system

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

As the year winds down, we’re excited to close out this project and start a new campaign that is more in line with our goals and current work! Our “One Million Liters” campaign will aim to build 85 large-scale rainwater harvesting systems and install 250 filter systems throughout 2018—giving more than 1,000 people a lifetime of access to safe and healthy drinking water.

While we did not bring in many donations through GlobalGiving this last quarter, we still implemented some great rainwater harvesting projects through other partners. In September, we were invited to a massive community party with United Communities for Life and Water (CUVA-PAS)—a coalition of 21 communities in the most impacted region of our watershed—to celebrate the 64th rainwater harvesting system we have built together! You can read more about the festivities here.

We held a week-long, university-accredited course with Western Washington University. The course intimately blended theoretical and practical hands-on learning. Lectures focused on water politics in Mexico, development work’s impact on local communities, development of community-led solutions, and technical topics such as water contaminants and rainwater harvesting systems. The students spent several days in a rural community with one of our local partners and participated in the build of a rainwater harvesting system that they funded.

Most recently, we began collaborating with Casita Linda, another local organization. Casita Linda helps families in the region, making less than USD $275/month, build their own homes. Their newest home design incorporates Caminos de Agua’s rainwater harvesting collection and treatment systems. Our team lead a workshop at the local elementary school in the community of Palo Colorado just last month (October, 2017), where Casita Linda families learned about reginal water issues, helped build a 12,000-liter cistern, and installed five ceramic water filters that will serve the school with safe and healthy drinking water for years to come. Additionally, six families in Palo Colorado will receive their own rainwater harvesting systems on their new homes in the coming months. Learn more about this budding new partnership here.

Spanning over nearly three years and involving dozens of partners—including GlobalGiving supporters like yourself—this has been a long and exciting campaign! Since the launch of this campaign at the end of 2014, we have:

  1. Built 124 rainwater harvesting systems in 42 communities, representing over 1.7 million liters of rainwater storage. Global Giving directly supported 49 of those systems, or nearly 60% more than we promised due to the massive contribution by the local communities themselves who provided nearly all of the labor for the systems.
  2. In community homes and schools, we installed 225 ceramic water filters—with a combined capacity to treat 9.8 million liters of water over their lifetime.

On behalf of the Caminos de Agua team, we are grateful for all of your support to help get this very needed rainwater harvesting project off the ground! We have become much more efficient and helped support community processes along the way, but the need is only getting worse. That is why we have decided to start a new campaign, which more accurately reflects the current state of our organization and the growing need for safe and healthy water in our region. So as we say goodbye for now, please keep your eyes peeled for our new campaign starting up immediately, and help us get to one million liters in 2018!

Thank you again for all of your support.

Saludos,
Dylan and the Caminos de Agua Team

A community member teaches a US student technique
A community member teaches a US student technique
San Jose del Carmen Celebrates 5 new cisterns
San Jose del Carmen Celebrates 5 new cisterns
Celebrating the end of the Western U course
Celebrating the end of the Western U course
First cistern in Palo Colorado with Casita Linda
First cistern in Palo Colorado with Casita Linda
Learning to build: beginning of a 7 system project
Learning to build: beginning of a 7 system project
Aug 18, 2017

On Track to Shatter our Goal of a Million Liters!

Students working with Caminos staff
Students working with Caminos staff

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

I’m thrilled to be sharing with you one of our biggest updates yet! We had big news last time. Thanks to the support of GlobalGiving supporters like yourself, in conjunction with the Gates Foundation, we provided dozens of new families with rainwater harvesting and filtration systems. This time, through new and existing partners, we were able to increase that impact substantially.

A quick recap: so far this year we've built 68 rainwater harvesting systems representing more than 730,000-liters of rainwater storage - bringing us close to the 75% mark of our 1 million-liter goal this year! And, we're only halfway into 2017!

Working in partnership with various organizations, community groups, and literally dozens of school students, we’ve built 26 new rainwater harvesting systems this quarter – representing more than 206,000 liters of safe water storage –  accompanied by an additional 30 ceramic water filters. Additionally, we’ve expanded one of our high school projects to include a slow-sand biofilter and a biochar treatment system (both with a 300 L/day capacity).

These projects were generously funded by 100 Women Who Care, Lloyd’s of London, University College of London, El Maíz Más Pequeño, GlobalGiving supporters, and even our own staff who turned their wedding into a rainwater harvesting fundraiser! 

There is so much going on with these projects, so I’ll try to break them down by region and partners.

  1. San Luis de la Paz: Working in partnership with United Communities for Life and Water (CUVA in Spanish) – a coalition of more than a dozen rural communities in the most affected region of the watershed – we continue to make our greatest impact. This quarter, we built 15 new 12,000L ferro-cement cisterns with local communities and CUVA in this region. We returned to communities we’ve worked with before – like San Antonio de Lourdes, Los Platanos, and Rancho Nuevo – all of whom were ready and eager to get building and finished their projects in record time.

    Thanks to the organization efforts of CUVA, we were able to offer new capacity trainings and break ground in new rural communities as well who have been participating in the coalition and eagerly wanting to take advantage of the rainy season.  Through this partnership with CUVA, we invited Las Negritas, Misión de Chichimecas, Pozo Hondo, San Antonio de las Mujeres, and San José del Carmen all into our project base – building a total of nine rainwater systems in these new communities.

  2. San Miguel de Allende – EMMP: Thanks to our on-going partnership with El Maíz Más Pequeño (EMMP), we made amazing strides with students from Cerritos High School (take a look at our video and report from last time). We worked with more than 20 students and eight community organizers to build rainwater harvesting systems in five rural communities. Prior to the build, we worked with the Cerritos students to perform a water quality monitoring program in eight different communities, which was followed by a 3-day rainwater harvesting workshop.  During the course, we built a 2,500L rainwater harvesting system with the students in the community of San Antonio de Varal. Over the next week, the students broke into four groups and built their own 2,500L systems in community homes in Cañajo, Cerritos, Santas Marías, and Guadalupe de Támbula. The students designed, made materials lists, and installed the systems on their own with no additional technical support from Caminos de Agua! The capacity of young people in the region is growing exponentially! Funding and support were provided by El Maíz Más Pequeño.

  3. San Miguel Viejo: Thanks to a relationship with Ojala Niños, a local education-based nonprofit, Caminos de Agua was invited to work with mothers at the kindergarten in San Miguel Viejo – a small rural community suffering from excessive levels of Arsenic and Fluoride contamination. Roughly, 39 mothers participated in the workshops and construction. Together, we built a 5,000L rainwater harvesting system and installed three ceramic water filters that will serve the kindergarten with safe and healthy drinking water for years to come. Additionally, two more 2,500L systems were built by the mothers themselves, after our training program, in two community households.

    Thanks to 100 Women Who Care for providing the funding for this project.

  4. San Miguel de Allende - CBTis #60: This was an amazingly successful project done over 3-weeks with 90 students at the CBTis #60 High School in San Miguel de Allende. Students learned all about regional water issues, rainwater harvesting, and water treatment and ultimately built and installed a 12,000L ferro-cement cistern, a slow-sand biofilter, a biochar treatment system, as well as three ceramic water filters. 

    Pictures speak much louder than words, so if you have 2-minutes to spare, please take a look at this short video we have prepared.

    Many thanks to Lloyd’s of London for providing the funding for this project through University College of London.

  5. La Laguna Escondida: The CBTis project (above) really lit a spark under the students. They came to us after the installation at the High School and asked how they can continue to make an impact in their own communities. Utilizing additional funds from 100 Women Who Care, we were able to do a water quality monitoring project with the students in their own communities, which ultimately led to the building of an additional large-scale system in La Laguna Escondida. The project was completely organized by the students of CBTis. You can see pictures of the training and installation here.

To continue following the progress of our work in rural communities, or to get detailed information on any given project, please take a look at our continuously updated Project Map.

We continue to move forward and have already broke ground on new large-scale rainwater harvesting and treatment systems with partners in the municipality of San Diego de la Unión. But the list of those anxiously waiting to build their own systems is growing every day.

Please help us continue to make an impact in these communities who need safe and healthy water solutions immediately. Consider a donation to our rainwater harvesting and water treatment projects today! It takes less than USD $500 to provide a family with a sustainable source of safe and healthy drinking water for life! Any amount helps us get there.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Saludos,
The Caminos de Agua Team

A mother learns to install plumbing
A mother learns to install plumbing
Students setting the cistern in Laguna Escondida
Students setting the cistern in Laguna Escondida
A high schooler connects a rainwater system
A high schooler connects a rainwater system
Dozens of students working with Caminos staff
Dozens of students working with Caminos staff
A decorated rain cistern in San Antonio de Lourdes
A decorated rain cistern in San Antonio de Lourdes

Links:

May 19, 2017

On our Way to 1 Million-liters of Safe and Healthy Drinking Water!

Students working together
Students working together

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

This is a big update for us!  We ended 2016 with a major push on our GlobalGiving Campaign, and thanks to your support, combined with a very generous match by the Gates Foundation, we were able to bring in nearly $8,000 to continue this rainwater harvesting work.

Those funds have been hard at work, and with the help of some new partners as well, we have been able to build 22 new rainwater harvesting systems this quarter – representing nearly 270,000-liters of safe water storage! Twenty-one of these systems were built in the communities of Arenal, La Escoba, Llano Verde, and San Antonio de Lourdes: four communities where we continue to expand our impact and enjoy an unprecedented level of community participation.  These 21 systems represent more than 4,000 hours of volunteer labor alone, all provided directly by the communities themselves.

We were able to provide an additional 31 ceramic water filter systems for community households as well during these projects. While rainwater is inherently free of arsenic and fluoride, which plagues traditional community wells in this region, it is the ceramic water filters that ensure the water is free from biological contaminants – like bacteria and pathogens – and thus safe to drink. These rainwater harvesting and filter systems will provide roughly 318 people with long-term access to safe and healthy drinking water.

Along with these household systems, and thanks to our partnership with El Maíz Más Pequeño – a local NGO working on environmental education in community schools – we were able to build an additional rainwater harvesting system with students at a local high school in the community of Cerritos. The 104 students come from more than 25 surrounding rural villages, and the project itself was organized and led by a group of 7 high school students – all young women – who were anxious to bring these alternatives to their own communities. When no masons were secured to do the more difficult cement work, one of the young women said “no problem…we’ll do it.” The young women of Cerritos were all honored on March 22 – World Water Day – at an event in San Miguel de Allende honoring “Women in Water.”

For more information on the Cerritos project, take a look at this short video we put together – narrated by the students themselves.

You can also keep up with all of our projects by visiting our new and improved projects map. 

We are well on our way to supply 1 million liters of healthy water storage this year through our rainwater harvesting and treatment projects. We have some exciting new partners stepping forward to help get us there; so keep an eye out for our next updates.

But, we are still a long way off from our goal, and GlobalGiving supporters like you are the ones who have made the biggest impact on this work!  We are going to need YOU to help get us there! Please consider donating to this important work.  

Saludos,
Dylan Terrell

A family inaugurates their new cistern in Arenal
A family inaugurates their new cistern in Arenal
Delivering filter systems at a local community
Delivering filter systems at a local community
Young women prepare cement in Cerritos
Young women prepare cement in Cerritos
New and improved "first flush" design
New and improved "first flush" design
Finished system at Cerritos high school
Finished system at Cerritos high school

Links:

 
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