WATER IMPROVEMENT GRANT FOR GUATEMALA
Vashon Rotary has received a grant to supplement funds it is donating for Clean Water for Aquacate, San Martin Jilotepeque, Guatemala.
The Lake Union Rotary Club is partnering with our Vashon club to support this project, and the District is matching our clubs’ funds to total $10,000. People for Guatemala has a donor who is matching our grant up to $4,000 so the full project can be completed.
When the collaborative project is finished, the new water system will be able to deliver clean running water with a chlorination system to the homes of 87 families, impacting about 522 people in Aguacate, a rural community in San Martin, Jilotepeque. The community’s spring is not producing sufficient water to supply the needs of this village.
Over the course of 6 years, the 87 village families saved over $14,000 to buy the land rights to a new spring and distribution system. They need materials to pipe the water to the distribution tanks and a chlorination system to purify the water. This system will supply clean water to these families who, for years, have had inadequate and contaminated water.
Members of the community are providing all of the unskilled labor. A local nonprofit organization, People for Guatemala, will oversee the project. The local municipality working with People for Guatemala will provide skilled labor. People for Guatemala staff will provide safe water storage and hygiene education. Members of Vashon Island Rotary (in particular Drs. Kathleen and Chris Davis) are working with People for Guatemala as the project is implemented and will visit again next year to evaluate the outcome.
People for Guatemala have a great deal of experience working with Mayan communities. Since 2010 they have assisted with water projects in 12 villages and worked in a total of 32 communities. They focus on health, education, and community development.
The village water committee has already developed plans for the system’s maintenance and collection of fees from users. The community of Aquacate will own and maintain all of the systems. A functioning water committee is in place and every family has agreed to pay a monthly fee to maintain the system.
This project in San Martin Jilotepeque comes on the heels of Rotary’s large water improvement in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala. That region was devastated by hurricanes and landslides a few years ago, and a large grant helped restore and improve water systems to several villages around the lake.