Transform 1,000 lives with clean water in Honduras

by Un Mundo
Transform 1,000 lives with clean water in Honduras
Transform 1,000 lives with clean water in Honduras
Transform 1,000 lives with clean water in Honduras
Transform 1,000 lives with clean water in Honduras
Transform 1,000 lives with clean water in Honduras
Transform 1,000 lives with clean water in Honduras
Transform 1,000 lives with clean water in Honduras
Transform 1,000 lives with clean water in Honduras

Improving the quality of life.

The quality of life of people is conditioned by many factors, including clean water and basic sanitation systems that help prevent certain diseases ...

Our clean water program developed this summer with community support and other key stakeholders, a new design of a more efficient gray water control system that prevents stagnant water, pollution and presence of mosquitoes, significantly reducing the presence of diseases.

The water management board demonstrated a lot of leadership and knowledge with the implementation of this system, and has involved the entire community in the works, creating a greater environmental awareness in the population.

This gray water control model is helping to prevent contamination of water sources, and will serve as a replication for other communities in the future, and improve sanitation conditions in the region.

The water management board is proud to be the first rural community in Honduras to have an innovative and sustainable gray water control system, as there was a community education process along with the construction of the infrastructure. A working model that attracts other local organizations to learn about methodology and use in other contexts.

The construction process served to develop and create local capacities in basic sanitation systems, which ensures that a manageable and sustainable system will be had by the same people.

This model not only improves the quality of life in the health area, but also provides greater opportunities through the acquisition of knowledge, which improves the possibilities of economic income, which makes this program an integral and holistic process.

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Slow but safe step is one of the goals of the water management board to ensure that you get a sustainable project that guarantees the duration for many years.

The board of directors is responsible for managing and monitoring the new drinking water system on behalf of the community. To ensure that key stakeholders' ideas are integrated into planning, it has met with representatives of government agencies that work around water and sanitation projects, and in this way, ensure that it is framed in country laws, in addition to build a working relationship that facilitate the construction process.

This approach with key players facilitates the work dynamics, and allows to strengthen and create new capacities of the people of the administrative board, who have a low educational level, but who have a leadership that stands out above the rest of the community.

It has been understood that in the union there is strength, and the more key players are involved in the project, the probability of success will be higher, that is why an approach was held between the Water Management Board, Fundación Nombre de Dios and the Institute of Forest Conservation (ICF) to begin designing a comprehensive and participatory work plan, and to consider the environmental issue, which guarantees a generation of clean water in abundance.

There is now a visit to the community of Duke Engineers for International Development [DEID], who are working on the reactivation of the gray water control system as part of the components around the new drinking water system. As well as DEID, we also thank each of the donors who make this project a reality in this region of Honduras.

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Among the communities in the Cangrejal Valley, El Pital has been the community with the poorest access to basic services.  Until recently, it did not have an adequate graywater system to cover the demands of the area’s rapid population growth.  For several years, diseases struck this community heavily, culminating in health crises such as dengue, zika, chikungunya and malaria epidemics.

Both, Water Board and community members consider that an adequate graywater system is not only important to avoid the outbreak of epidemic diseases, but also to avoid contamination of the aquifer.  This becomes of utmost importance since the community is located on the banks of a main river, and it is the source of properly treated drinking water for communities.  They also believe that the served population must be educated in waste management, cleaning and general maintenance of their graywater system.

Carmindo (65-years old), member of the Water Board of El Pital, commented that "…after making an evaluation of the Water and Sanitation project and applying a community survey, we decided to carry out different micro projects in sanitation training and management of graywater systems, dry baths, ecological stoves, and reforestation of the basin”.  In the first weeks of March 2017, preparations began for the implementation of the "School and Healthy Home" program (ESCASAL) - a comprehensive program that covers all areas around a water project (management, health, and environmental health, law, sustainability, and others).  The training is offered to the Water Board, community’s residents, and schoolchildren.

Carmindo continues to explain that, "This year we have many challenges, ahead since we have already completed the design of the drinking water project for the village, and we are looking for more support to conclude it.  We are also strengthening the leadership of our Water Board with training and sharing of experiences.  Our communities will have the necessary knowledge to maintain environmental sanitation in their homes, schools, churches, and in the community in general”.

“Thanks to the collaboration of volunteers and donors, we have been able to build and rehabilitate the graywater system in the community of El Pital, which is an eco-friendly graywater system, and is a model for other communities in the area.  This makes us feel very proud.  We are sharing our experience and knowledge with other communities that want and need to build a system like ours.  We hope they continue to support us so our children, young people and women have a better standard of living", concludes Carmindo ”.

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Nicolasa at her backyard
Nicolasa at her backyard

Nicolasa Cruz is a member of the El Pital community, which lies in the Cangrejal river valley. Her house is directly in front of the community clinic. Nicolasa tells how, for years, she has had problems with sewage water accumulating around of her home, due to its location in a low-lying area. Bad odors and mosquito hatcheries were an everyday problem. A community plumbing system was supposed to take sewage from point A to point B, but the plumbing itself was very old, was not adequately maintained, and did not meet the demands of the entire population of El Pital. The clinic in front of Nicolasa’s house found a quick solution to this problem:  they built a perimeter wall around the clinic.  But their solution only made the problem worse for Nicolasa and other residents:  it caused the sewage system pipes to rupture more often and with greater severity each time.

The constant sewage system pipe ruptures ended in more sewage water accumulation at Nicola’s yard which inside in the community outbreaks of dengue, chikungunya, and malaria, overcrowding clinics and hospitals nearby.   Nicolasa was very worried about the community’s wellbeing.  She felt personally, to blame, in a way, for what was happing in the community, even though she could do nothing about it, at least, not by her efforts alone. Every member of her household fell ill during that time and lived with the fear that they could fall ill at any given moment.

The residents of El Pital met to find a solution for the sewage problem.  They reactivated the community’s Water and Sewage Board, which, together with Un Mundo, managed the rehabilitation and extension of the sewage system.  With the support of engineers from Duke University,the system was replaced with new plumbing connecting all houses in the community.  Now the system adequately serves each house, transporting sewage out of the community.  

Nicolasa tells us, the community saw no health crises from mosquito-borne-disease epidemics as it was before. And now  she can even plant banana for her family consumption.

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Antonio working to delineate the catchment area
Antonio working to delineate the catchment area

It’s been predicted that the third world war won’t be for political conflicts, nor for oil, but for the fight for water, a substance that gets destroyed each day by humans themselves.

Water is indispensable in our homes, and without it we are exposed to many illnesses. Since 1993, when the water system in El Pital was originally constructed, we’ve been consuming contaminated water. With the new system, I’m sure that the quality of our lives will be better.

This new water system is so important that I don’t mind walking three hours to be able to work in delineating the catchment area and compiling all of the necessary information for the system design and budget. We continue to dream in a better future for our children, and if we don’t do something now to have a more sustainable infrastructure, we’re offering an uncertain outlook to the future generations. It’s for this reason that I work until I’m exhausted.

El Pital’s water project holds great promise, and we’re already seeing some of its benefits, since the greywater filtration system has reduced the number of mosquitos around our homes, which reduces the risk of contracting dengue, malaria, chikungunya, zika, and other diseases.

I’m confident that, together, we can create a path that will significantly change our lives.

The Water Project Board taking measurements
The Water Project Board taking measurements
Antonio and other board members taking GPS points
Antonio and other board members taking GPS points
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Un Mundo

Location: Menlo Park, CA - USA
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Project Leader:
Amanda Blewitt
Mountain View, CA United States
$7,861 raised of $7,500 goal
 
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