The UN Sustainable Development Goals include Clean Water and Sanitation for all. Vaccines, along with clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), are proven interventions to prevent diarrhoeal diseases, a leading cause of child mortality in developing countries. Investments in oral cholera and rotavirus vaccines, WASH and health systems form an integrated approach to help eliminate diarrhoeal disease.
Our organization Los Buenos Vecinos (LBV) is a small scale group tackling the issue of potable water head on in our region. Los Buenos Vecinos’ mission is simple; clean water and sanitation practice in homes. Our focus is to provide hand washing stations and water filtration systems.
We are located in the bustling town of San Andres Itzapa, 15 miles from Antigua. Chicken busses grind early and late to the sweatshops of Guatemala City; 87% of the 25,000 population are Kaqchikel Maya and the average family income is approximately USD$4.50 per day. The municipal district of San Andres Itzapa includes 10 mountain villages where most people are subsistence farmers.
The population in the mountain villages are drinking from underground well systems, which are unfortunately contaminated by fecal and animal matter. Nearly 75% of the children are malnourished, which causes physical and cognitive stunting. Malnutrition here is caused by diarrhea; the effect of contaminated water and poor sanitation. Children with chronic diarrhea do not attend school. Clean water is at the heart of creating more constructive cycles of living. Our NGO has been working for the past two years to systematically provide clean water and sanitation practices to the local mountain villages.
Our NGO consists of seven local members and receives the continual support of volunteers and a handful of international Rotary Clubs. We are an optimistic network of change makers, doing our part to provide basic resources for communities in the highlands of Guatemala.
We are incredibly impressed by the way the communities have embraced their new bio-sand water filtration systems to date. We provide training and continual monitoring in order for the water and sanitation project to be sustainable. We are constantly learning and improving, connecting with partner NGO's, and encouraging streamline programs that fit in line with our mission.
"Our products are simple, scaleable, and sustainable; tippy tap home wash stations; Tippy Taps large scale handwash stations for schools and public places, and water filters for home, community and school."
- Dave Renfrow, Director of Organization Buenos Vecinos (USA faction)
WHAT PROFESSIONALS IN THE FIELD ARE SAYING ABOUT OUR MODEL
"The project dots the i's and crosses the t's. Now to be sure this is not going to fix everything... these communities have big water quantity problems and long term we need to fix that. But, I'll tell you right now, the first order of business is get the water quality taken care of, you know, get the waterborne disease under control, and then we can worry about the other things later."
- Brian Neff, Ph.D Hydrologist