Preparing the pit for the septic tank in Quechip
Spotlight on Agua Para La Salud in Guatemala
Agua Para La Salud (APLS) has been a Blue Planet Network NGO member since 2008 and has approximately 125 water and sanitation projects featured on Blue Planet Network's technology platform. From the BPN platform, APLS monitors, tracks and shares its projects so all Blue Planet Network members can learn. APLS is committed to identifying sustainable building techniques and community involvement practices. APLS also engages in Blue Planet Network's Peer Review service that encourages members to vet water projects collaboratively and assess their long-term sustainability. This crowd-sourcing process empowers members to learn from one another and exchange critical knowledge about planning, implementing and sustaining water programs. Blue Planet Network empowers its members to connect, collaborate and share innovative ideas so the water sector can observe, replicate proven models, and celebrate stories of success. Funders often choose to invest in our member projects due to this service.
APLS focuses on improving health and sanitation facilities in the underserved health clinics in four very rural villages of Xepiun, Vipecbalam, Quechip and Tujolom in Ixil region of western Guatemala highlands. Previously, these clinics lacked basic sanitation infrastructure, forcing residents to rely on their rudimentary home resources. In developed nations, it is hard to imagine not being able to wash your hands before entering into a doctor's office. APLS built, for each clinic, the much needed hand-washing stations, septic systems, bathrooms and sidewalks --immensely helpful in the wet season, and often overlooked.
The impact of APLS projects has been huge. UNICEF estimates that diarrhea diseases are responsible for claiming the lives of 1.1 million children globally every year. According to Inter-American Development Bank, the water and sanitation sector in Guatemala is characterized by low coverage, poor quality services, and deteriorating physical assets related to a need for increased investments in basic infrastructures. Population growth, agricultural expansion, unevenly distributed services, and polluted sources have contributed to the inability of citizens to access adequate amounts of clean water and basic sanitation.
Agua Para La Salud is working to remedy these limitations, working directly with the rural communities in dire need to save lives and build healthier and brighter futures for thousands of families and children in the hardest to reach areas of Guatemala. Approximately 2,562 people now have access to the hand-washing stations and clean water thanks to APLS. APLS' health clinics are self-sustaining and community-led; taking the strain off the national hospitals in the nearby municipality of Nebaj.
Spotlight on Palmyra in India
Palmyra is appreciated by local and state governments for its pioneering efforts in water conservation and rural development across India. Palmyra partners with Blue Planet Network to share best practices of its ten water and sanitation projects totaling nearly $2,938,000 in cost. These projects are tracked and monitored on Blue Planet Network’s platform. Palmyra has also embraced Blue Planet Network's SMS-based monitoring service in its mission to help India's rural poor with clean water and sanitation. India’s population of 1.2 billion is made up of 929 million mobile phone users — a colossal 77% of the population. Blue Planet Network’s SMS-based service enables communities and member organizations equipped with cell phones, to monitor and report on safe drinking water and sanitation installations. Palmyra's personnel working in remote areas can send in field status reports from their cell phones. This simple solution to a fast-changing society allows Blue Planet Network members to track progress and address project-related challenges in a new way. This service has greatly empowered Palmyra and its beneficiary communities to take charge of their water systems and allows entire organizations to learn and share efficiently.
Palmyra is quick to SMS update on its project profile page of construction stages, factors that may delay prospective work, impact evaluations, and more. Most recently Palmyra has submitted notes for the Sanitation Facility of Endiyur Village of Marakkanam Block of Villupuram District, Tamil Nadu, India. These maintenance indicators couldn't be more important.
Palmyra's project has done much more than build 25 new toilet facilities for Endiyur. Palmyra has held training programs to foster learning of key community personnel, namely women groups to become self-help groups for Endiyur for years to come. These self-help groups proved to Palmyra that intimate knowledge of the local environment can significantly contribute to sustainable water project designs. For example, local beneficiaries were able to identify Palmyra's original design for Endiyur as flawed. The first design did not include both showers and toilets. It was determined, however, that combining the two could help rid the community of water stagnation near homes which is a breeding place for mosquitos which often cause malaria and dengue fever in the area.
Women quickly became integral to the planning, design, construction, operation, allocation and management of funds for Endiyur's sanitation projects. The empowerment attained through these new leadership and managerial skills is directly responsible for women contributing more to the economy; further lifting the village out of poverty. This sanitation project is a true example of how safe drinking water and sanitation is at the center of health, happiness and opportunity.
Blue Planet Network is proud to feature Palmyra and its work across rural communities in southern India.
Thank you so much again for donating directly to the safe drinking water and sanitation projects of our members on Blue Planet Network. We will continue to work hard and show you the progress and opportunity your financial contribution makes possible. Please visit our website at www.blueplanetnetwork.org to see the full scope of the impact we have on the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.
Hand-washing station in Quechip
Bathrooms in Quechip
Sidewalk keeps bathrooms & wash station accesible
Proud beneficiary family of Endiyur Village
Community group in Endiyur Village
Bathroom in progress, Endiyur Village
Home before toilet, Endiyur Village