Caserio Panhux, a very small community of about 350 people, is located in central Guatemala. Many members of the community are indigenous Pokomchi. The community is one of many in the municipality, San Cristobal Verapaz, and is located 17 kilometers from the town center, an hour and a half by public transportation. This community does not have access to potable water and the women have to travel very far to existing water sources.

The Response

Water is not easily accessible; to improve the quality of life for the residents of Caserio Panhux, a rainwater harvesting system will be implemented in the community. This system will ensure that clean water can be used all year round for essential daily tasks such as cooking, consumption, and hygiene so as to reduce the risk of waterborne diseases.

Upcoming Assessment trip

In March of 2017, during NC State’s spring break, seven students and one international development mentor from EWB-USA will travel to Guatemala for the first face-to-face contact with the community. They will conduct assessments of the community’s current water supply and storage, and the main road leading into the community.
The team aims to find the optimal location for the water catchment system where it will collect an adequate supply of water for the community and be protected from possible contaminants. Measurements will also be taken so the team can decide on the placement of an updated storage tank, and eventually produce digital renderings of the project to show the community before the implementation trip. Lastly, the team will assess the condition of the main road with intent to either widen or otherwise improve the state of the road and ease travel within the community.
Depending on the outcome of this assessment trip, the team will most likely look to travel again during NC State’s winter break in 2017-2018 for their first implementation trip. We will look at benefits for the community and how we plan to do so (ex. Open communication).

Working in conjunction with our local partner NGO, the Centro Comunitario Educativo Pokomchi (CeCEP), to provide the community with water catchment systems will bring both tangible and intangible benefits to the residents. This water collection system will improve the quality and quantity of potable water throughout the duration of the year. Implementation of this system will also familiarize students with reproducible technology that can be implemented and improved in their homes and other regions.

To strengthen this effort, we will maintain an open dialogue with the community about the operation and prevalent usage of such water systems while taking advantage of the in-region commitment and resources of CeCEP to provide ongoing support that continues beyond the duration of our trips.