Providing clean water can be empowering.
Many villages that populate the mountainous areas of NW Guatemala are continually faced with a daily struggle to get water for survival. Since most village locations were based on available land, and not by the availability of natural resources, they often lack basic needs.
The men of the village are often at work in the fields, so the task of getting water for the family is usually left to the women and children. For some, it means a 1-2 hour walk down the mountain to the river to gather water. It also means a challenging hike back up the mountain with a container full of water on top of their head or on their back.
The struggle for water takes a major portion of the daily schedule for the women and children of the village.
In the dry season, when water is even more difficult to obtain, some villagers resort to such extreme measures as gathering this precious resource from what most of the world would consider as mud puddles.
Hands For Peacemaking Foundation has established a number of methods to help villagers get safe water.
In some cases, we have partnered with a village to install water storage tanks, coupled with water filters to meet the basic needs. The resulting water system doesn’t replace a well or spring, but it does provide emergency water that can mean life or death for villagers.
Some villages have been able to create hand dug wells, but unless the well is capped and a dependable pump system is installed, the well will soon become contaminated. We have helped some villages properly protect their wells by installing a concrete cap, purifying the water, and installing simple, easy to repair pumps. Depending on the water source, these wells can sustain a village in the dry season.
Providing safe water varies from village to village, and we are constantly looking for better ways to locate and protect water sources.
Many water sources have dried up due to the over-harvesting of trees to be used for firewood. It is an example of the domino effect that one resource has on another, and the reason that HFPF is investing in the research to develop reforestation projects in the near future.