In Guatemala, diarrheal infections are the leading cause of death in children under the age of five. Unfortunately many Guatemalans do not have access to safe water and quality sanitation that would prevent this. Lake Atitlán, the primary drinking source for over 100,000 regional residents, has become the primary wastewater dumping ground for over 300,000 people.
The lack of access to safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene has a life-threatening impact on the health of residents, which in turn affects educational and economic outcomes.
The Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Program, recognizes that investment in education and infrastructure can:
- Eliminate transmission of waterborne infections and diseases, which are closely linked to malnutrition, school attendance rates, and physical and mental health
- Mitigate the cost of accessing potable water, installing safe sanitation facilities, and investing in hygiene for the most vulnerable families
WASH is supported by the UN, and is a primary focus of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Agenda; aimed at eradicating poverty and improving health and education outcomes in children.
Through a grant generously supplied by the Rotary Club of Hingham and Hull, the WASH program aims to dissolve barriers to education and health in three ways:
- Education- Providing a series of ‘charlas’ or workshops to students throughout the school year and integrating parents in targeted talks on how to apply these practices in their own households. These workshops will cover topics ranging from the value of clean water consumption and food hygiene to environmental sustainability.
- Safe Water Infrastructure- Installing a long-term water purification system in each school to provide the entire community with clean water access.
- Handwashing promotion- Installing a hand-washing station in each participating school and correct practices will be promoted throughout the year; including activities such as antibacterial soap drives where Mayan Families will match each bar of soap children donate.
We are currently improving our Preschool Nutrition Centers’ hygiene classes, and sanitation facilities, and partnering with eight local elementary schools in a collaborative approach to make a long-term impact. Mayan Families identified fifteen schools as experiencing barriers to optimal health and education levels due to limited water availability, and awareness and access to safe hygiene and sanitation practices. Through the WASH Program, the schools have an elected water committee which includes community leaders, teachers, and parents to ensure that each community is seeing improvements in their sanitation.
For more information
For more information about the WASH Program, and how you can get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.