WEFTA has been working with communities in the state of Chiapas, the poorest state in the country where approximately 25% of the population does not have access to clean water and sanitation and the rates of waterborne illness is much higher. Since 2000 we have worked with a Dutch-Mexican architect who lives in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas and provides oversight and support to the partner communities, many of them located far from cities and towns.
To see water and sanitation facts, please visit: washfunders.org
In Mexico, 18.2% of the population lives below the national poverty line, while 11% of the rural population lacks access to safe water and adequate sanitation services. A recently completed project in the community of Chum Cerro provides a good example of the care given to addressing sanitation issues in an environmentally appropriate fashion. Prior to WEFTA’s involvement with the community, the 20 families in Chum Cerro were using latrines that where built by NGOs and church organizations modeled on the dry latrines used in the Chiapas highlands. In the highlands, the humidity is far less than in the year-round wet environment in the tropical jungle areas of Chum Cerro, where the ground water is almost at floor level. A decision was made to build two sealed-cement anaerobic tanks connected in-line, where a process of gasification takes place, and the final small amount of liquid is drained through a pipe to a small garden or pond where water plants collected from the surrounding forest do the final cleaning. The little solid that remains in the tanks will build up very slowly, and cleaning will be necessary about every eight years. On top of the two anaerobic tanks a normal ceramic toilet, without the water tank, and a shower are placed in the two sections of a wooden cabin that was made by the families.
Recently WEFTA and the residents of the remote Mayan community of Miguel Hidalgo completed one of our biggest projects ever: a spring-fed water distribution system, through almost one mile of above-ground pipe that leads to a storage tank which then supplies 156 households with fresh, clean running water. Click here to see the story and slide show of this project.
Every time one we send a crew on a trip to either help or assess a community, we ask our volunteers to write a trip report that details the trip through their eyes. These documents will give you both a look into what it is like being a volunteer and a different perspective on our efforts to help communities. The photo-based reports redirect you to our Google+ photo albums. For projects more than five years old check out our Archives page.
Click here to see the photos from Ramon Lucero’s 2013 trip to Chiapas.
Click here to see a statistical summary (PDF) of our projects in all countries as of 2013.