This year, Run For H2O Vancouver is supporting the village of Cosibal, Guatemala — home to 142 families (more than 850 people) in the province of El Quiché. The community is located in a high mountainous area 2,020m above sea level – so high that there are no upstream sources of water.
The only sources of water are from a small creek at the bottom of the valley and small water posits. To drink, cook, bathe, wash, and feed animals, families – especially women and children – must make the long, exhausting trek of about 2.5 kilometres about six times daily, carrying heavy loads of water up the mountain to their homes. This water is contaminated with bacteria and pathogens, causing frequent diarrhea and waterborne illnesses.
Most families in Cosibal are farmers, growing corn and beans for their own consumption. Families also seek work outside the community as day labourers in larger cities and on coffee and sugar plantations, but this work is often in precarious conditions, and poorly paid. A secure supply of clean water would provide families in Cosibal with the health, time, and dignified opportunities to improve their livelihoods at home.
The community of Cosibal is hopeful for the changes they will soon be able to make. With your support, the Run For H2O will be able to provide the funds needed to build a pump / gravity water system in Cosibal.
All the families are organized, ready, and eager to put in the hard physical work to build the water system, including collecting local materials like stone and sand from the riverbeds and carrying them up the mountainside; carrying cement, pipes, and tools to wherever they are needed; and digging trenches and installing pipes for the water distribution.
The community has already elected a "Water Project Committee", a group of volunteer leaders to help coordinate and lead the process. Once the water system is complete, every member of the community will have a good understanding of the technical aspects of the system to maintain it in the future.
To ensure sustainability of the water system and usage, the community will also elect a "Water Maintenance Committee,” trusted and respected community members responsible for inspecting the system each month, cleaning the infrastructure, and making any adjustments and repairs as needed.
Together, the community will also make a plan for each family to contribute a small monthly amount — around Q5 ($1), or an amount at each harvest season. This ensures that funds are available for any repairs needed in the future.
The community of Cosibal sits on an abundant supply of water – but this water is 250m below the surface. This project will drill a borehole (a deep well) down to reach the water and pump it to the surface, where a 100m3 tank will be constructed to hold 100,000L of water. Before the water enters the tank, a chlorine disinfection system will ensure that the water is purified from bacteria and contaminants. From the tank, pipes and gravity will allow clean drinking water to flow downwards to the homes of 142 families throughout the village, covering an area of 21 square kilometres.
The process is led by local staff from El Quiché province, all of whom grew up in homes and communities without water. At some point in the past decades, their communities received the support to construct a water system, and they have since dedicated their lives and experience in helping other communities.
They have become experts, designing and implementing over 280 community water system projects over the past 25 years. All of these systems are still functioning, providing abundant supplies of clean water to these communities. These staff are also extraordinarily humble, with a deep care for families and a commitment to journeying with them. The staff will work closely with the families in Cosibal, providing technical expertise and training for health, hygiene, health rights, community project management, and other important themes.
HOPE International Development Agency exists to improve the supply of basic human necessities for the neediest of the developing world through self-help activities, and to challenge, educate, and involve North Americans regarding development issues.
Every year HOPE donors support between 50 to 65 initiatives in as many as 20 countries worldwide, many of which give people access to reliable supplies of clean water right in their communities. www.hope-international.com
PentaSport is a recreational Christian co-ed multi-sport league based in Metro Vancouver.
Launched in Spring 2015, the non-profit league is entering its 9th season, currently featuring 20 teams and more than 300 players and volunteers. Teams compete in five different sports, which changes season by season, across 12 weeks of regular season and playoffs. Various socials are held throughout the season to unite in fellowship and build community. There are two seasons per calendar year, one held in the spring and one in the fall.
As a non-profit organization, PentaSport’s mission is to provide a platform for Christian churches and those in the community to compete through recreation, to build relationships through sport, and to help those in need. www.pentasport.ca