Annually, 30,000 people die from water related illnesses – 90% of them are children. Guatemala has the third highest rate of malnutrition in the world. The women and children have to walk 20 minutes each way to gather freshwater and carry it back to the village between 4-6 times per day. Having sanitized water in the village saves them these trips. Rick Lawrence, from the Manchester Rotary Club, is the District 7890 Water Project Chairperson. Rick partners with a non-governmental organization called Aldea - formally Behrhorst Partners for Development (BPD) and a local host Rotary Club. Aldea means Village in Spanish. This NGO is able to converse in the local languages and deal with the local conditions, culture, and politics of the people of Guatemala. There are four components to the water sanitation projects: water supply, sinks, latrines, and safe stoves.
Rick and his wife, involved with the project for the past eight years, have raised over $410,000 to complete projects in 12 villages in Guatemala. The 2016 project will be supporting water sanitation in four new villages in Guatemala. When Rick started this project in 2006, 12 Rotary clubs contributed $24,000 to be able to complete a project in one village. Last year’s project supported two villages and 32 Rotary clubs contributed over $100,000 to the project.
This is the third Global Grant for the Guatemala Water Sanitation Project.The Pittsfield Rotary Club has donated $3000 The Rotary District in Aruba pledged $10,000 and the Rotary District in Guatemala pledged $1,000; both are matched 100% dollar-for-dollar from the Rotary foundation as well. So between the club contributions and the district contributions, Rick has raised $47,995; another $33,997 is matched by the foundation for a total of $81,992 going towards this project for four villages in Guatemala. Local labor and in-kind services are valued at another $67,109. Rotary Clubs also raised $39,000 for safe stoves at the villages.