Overview

The project is fueled by a $530,000 grant consisting of equal funding from the TRF (The Rotary Foundation) grant and a one for one match by World Vision.  The scope of the project includes drilling deepwater wells in 23 communities in Eastern Honduras, providing health and sanitation trainings for the populations, VIP latrine installation – one in each community near schools or community centers – electrified pumps for the wells and water distribution for the inhabitants.  Approximately 11,700 people will be helped with this project and the populations of the communities are growing so the beneficiaries should increase with time.

 

Details

Our partners in the project are World Vision (WV) and Texas Water Mission (TWM).  World Vision pledges to provide the latrines, the electric pumps and the distribution as well as support for the reporting duties.  Texas Water Mission (a nonprofit well drilling company from San Antonio) is responsible for drilling the wells and conducting the trainings.)  Rotary funds were deposited with World Vision with the understanding they would be released for project expenses when called for.

The project got off to a slow start mostly because The Project Water Committee (PWC) made of equal representation from the three entities, Rotary (represented by members of the Danli Rotary Club), WV and TWM originally did not understand its function or perform as planned and was called for in the MOU.   There were delays brought about because World Vision thought its responsibility included managing TWM as a contractor.  The results were that its efforts to negotiate drilling contracts with TWM slowed the startup.  There were additional delays brought on by some obscure law that possibly could have cost 15% loss of funds expended to the Honduran Government in the form of a tax and some trouble with World Vision finding a way to transfer funds to TWM bank accounts.  These problems were overcome and the project actually began almost a year after it was funded by TRF.  TRF pays out one half of the project funds for Global Grants at the beginning and pays the second half when the project is thought to be half way complete.

Now, one year later, the ninth or tenth community is in the process of being served.  Problems that have been dealt with seem to be related to additional communication difficulties among the partners.  TWM would normally have its hydrologists select well sites based on the likelihood of finding good water,  but the sites were all chosen by World Vision based upon perceived need and political persuasion by the communities.  Two of the well efforts were complete failures (numbers 6 and 7) with no water found.  This brought about some serious meetings among the partners and the result is that the PWC is now fully functional and seemingly working better together with a reasonable goal of completing the project successfully and on time (31 Oct, 2016 is the expected completion date).  

The community sites are being reassessed using input from the hydrologist and some of them have been removed from the list.  World Vision is accumulating more community sites to replace the ones that have low expectation of achieving good wells.  WV is getting input from TWM hydrologists to verify the quality of the proposed sites.   No one can guarantee that any particular site can produce a good well, but utilizing an experienced hydrologist’s assessment will improve the risks.

I have asked the partners to find a way to encourage the communities where excess water is produced (one well produces over 40gpm and one is about 25gpm) to share these resources.  Because of the severe economic hardships and lack of resources in this area, communities have traditionally been insular and not inclined to work together.  We hope that some kind of incentive such as entrepreneurial rewards or political solutions can help these communities learn to share so that more can have access to good water.

TWM has two drilling rigs that are functional and it will begin to utilize two teams to increase the rate of production.  A larger rig will be used in the larger communities and where access is good.  The smaller rig will be used in smaller communities and especially where access would be difficult or dangerous with the larger rig.  The smaller rig can only drill a size well that can accommodate a 4” casing but the larger rig can accommodate 6” casings.  The majority of the communities will have the larger wells so that water distribution can be more functional.

Health and sanitation training continues to be one of the shining examples of success in the project.  The TWM training crew is made up of Hondurans, maestros, who have an excellent program that takes several days to complete.   Large percentages of the populations are attending these sessions and attaining graduation diplomas.  These attendees include many of the male members of the villages, which is unusual in these Latino communities.  This speaks highly to the quality of the trainings.

A site visit from a TRF representative called a Cadre will likely take place within the next couple of months and will be conducted for the purpose of assessing progress to determine whether the goals are being met and whether TRF should pay out the second half of the project grant.  We believe that by the time the cadre visit occurs, the partners will be working seamlessly together and progress will be such that the Cadre will advise payout of the remainder of the funds to complete the project.

World Vision has an extra incentive to complete the project by October of next year because it wants to move its people out of the area by that time.  Typically WV serves a community for about 15 years before it moves on to serve others.

We are planning to have a site visit for interested parties – Rotarians and others – the last week in January.  I can verify that the experience will be very rewarding and eye opening for all our club members and others.  I hope that our club will be well represented and I expect that Rotarians from other contributing clubs will also want to see firsthand what their grant is accomplishing.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Submitted by John Barrett – World Community Services chair.

Committee members:

Hal Brunstad

Whitney Meissner
 

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