El Tablazo is a small community located in the Trojes region of Honduras. There are 23 families, with 108 residents in total. This community is located about an hour from the Coco River (previously called the Segovia River), which divides Honduras from Nicaragua. The river is mostly used to transport commercial goods from La Mosquitía, Honduras to Nicaragua, but is also used for recreation during the summer.
Here is an update from our implementing partner, Pure Water for the World (PWW):
Water sources are abundant in the community of El Tablazo. However, a few years ago, a water quality analysis was conducted, and the results were very worrying. The analysis showed the water is highly contaminated. This helped explain why members of the community have suffered from hepatitis; some have even died from it.
José León Morena lives with his wife, Dolores Figueroa, and their nine children and grandchildren in the community of El Tablazo. The family currently uses a water source that another member of the community lends to them. Knowing that his family and the whole community of El Tablazo only have access to contaminated water, José Morena shares, “We are really grateful to soon benefit from Pure Water for the World’s project of clean water filters and training so that we will finally be able to safely drink water.”
In this region, water quality is a major concern. Results from a water quality test conducted in November 2019 demonstrated extremely high levels of e-coli (170 counts) and showed high levels of turbidity, especially during the rainy season. 34% of the families practice open defecation and the conditions of water and sanitation at the local school of Francisco Morazán are deplorable, with 13 children and one teacher having to practice open defecation, with no place to wash their hands and no place for girls to manage menstruation.
This project provides all 23 homes and the community school sustainable access to clean water and sanitation. Families will receive Bio-Sand Water Filters and learn to safely use this water for drinking, bathing, washing and cleaning. The families that do not have a safe and reliable latrine, will learn how to build a latrine. They will receive detailed instruction, materials and follow-up from PWW to support the proper construction and use of their home latrine. Hygiene education will be provided to all members of the community.
Community members will select Community Agents, leaders from the community who volunteer to serve as an extension of the PWW team. They receive additional training about the water filters, including how to install them correctly and how to maintain them. Community Agents are assigned three homes to support and monitor. They visit these homes to ensure families are using their tools and hygiene practices correctly and effectively.
Teachers will receive training and mentoring on how to integrate a WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene education) program into the school curriculum. The school will also receive new gender-specific latrines and a handwashing station. PVC piping will transport water from the source to the school, providing regularly available access to water at the school. Students will be able to focus on learning, rather than wasting time walking and collecting water!
The PWW team will monitor this community, at regular intervals, to measure impact and support the program’s long-term sustainability.
Family Homes Project Update:
On March 16, 2020, the Honduran government shut down all non-essential businesses, including PWW, in response to COVID-19. While a limited number of PWW staff was given special permission to work on key projects and programs, work with individual homes had been halted. In mid-June, the Honduran government lifted some of these restrictions, issuing permission for up to 60% of staff (depending on region) to return to their work activities, maintaining strict protocols of biosecurity to prevent the transmission of COVID.
In Trojes, the region where El Tablazo is located, the PWW team was able to get back to work in June! All PWW team members received detailed instruction regarding the new required protocols, including the use of personal protection equipment and biosecurity necessary to keep both our staff and the families we visit protected. The PWW team let the families of El Tablazo know we would be coming to work in their community again. They first hosted an open-air, outdoor meeting with community leaders to build confidence and explain the new procedures. This was an important step to help families feel comfortable and safe with our team going into their homes to install the bio-sand water filters.
El Tablazo is a difficult community to reach, as it requires crossing a river. The PWW team had to ride in a canoe to deliver and distribute the 23 bio-sand filters. Once the river was crossed, the filters were carried by horse to a central location where families came to collect their filters and bring back to their homes. A PWW team member, along with a Community Agent (a local volunteer community member), would then visit each of the 23 homes to install the filters.
The family in the photos is Novis Noel González Espinoza. They have eight family members who live in their home. They were very excited and thankful when PWW came to install the filter. They shared that they had concerns that the PWW team was not going to return to El Tablazo because of COVID19. They congratulated the PWW team for having the courage to return to help them. Novis said, “We were worried about not having clean water, especially now that the rainy season has started. The water we were drinking looks like chocolate and tastes like dirt. We really don’t want to get sick, as hospitals may have patients with COVID19.”
In August 2020, PWW team members finalized constructing the last of the 8 home latrines. The families are required to dig the pit, prepare the adobe blocks, and gather local materials for the concrete mixtures. Due to the heavy rains, construction was challenging. Nevertheless, the most gratifying part of the difficulties is that now families, and especially the children, have a safe and private space (latrine) to do their necessities. They no longer have to go out in the open. This is incredibly empowering and supports their long-term health and wellbeing.
Most of the training took place before March when we were still able to enjoy each minute with the group of eager families and children at schools. All received training about the importance of healthy hygiene practices, including personal hygiene, environmental hygiene (which includes water source protection), home hygiene, and menstrual hygiene management (which empowers girls to protect themselves and stay in school and achieve an education).
WASH for Francisco Morazán School:
Parents helped dig the pits for the latrines and painted the walls of the school handwashing station and latrine. PWW team members worked on the latrine slabs and the placement of the rooftops for the WASH station. The new gender-specific latrines and handwashing stations were successfully completed! One kilometer of piping was installed from the water source to the WASH station at the school.
When the children return to school, they will have clean water, a place to wash their hands, and a safe and private place to use the bathroom…for the first time ever! They can focus on learning, achieving an education, and reaching for their dreams!
On behalf of the grateful families of El Tablazo and the entire PWW team, a heartfelt thank you for making this possible. Your support has empowered these families with the essential tools and knowledge to protect their overall health, safety, and wellbeing. Muchas gracias!
A special thank you to Rogers High School, WA and SACS Middle School, MN for supporting this project!