Las Mercedes Honduras Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project
For the past eight years, the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise (District 5240) and the Rotary Club of Real de Minas Tegucigalpa (District 4250) have been working together on water and sanitation projects in the country of Honduras. The current project, funded by a Rotary Foundation Global Grant is to provide safe drinking water, improved sanitation and better hygiene to the community of Las Mercedes in the Villa San Antonio Municipality of the Comayagua Department, Honduras.
The project includes the development of a new water source, rehabilitation of identified water system features, provision of a new water storage tank, piping, and disinfection, community tap stands, and several different types of latrines/toilets. The grant also provides hygiene training, community education, monitoring of behavior change and continued monitoring plus retraining as needed. The objectives of this project were determined after conducting a Community Assessment with the beneficiaries and all of the subsequent planning to implement, measure and evaluate the objectives involved more than 15 face-to-face visits to the communities. Las Mercedes consists of 310 families with a total population of 1860 potential direct beneficiaries.
The project consists of multiple components:
  1. ​​​​​​​Construction of the Community Safe Water system and Healthy Latrines: Cooperating organization Water Missions International (WMI) and Rotarians helped form a Safe Water Committee in Las Mercedes. The members of the Safe Water Committee were taught skills that they will use in helping to construct portions of the project.
  2. Maintenance of the Safe Water System: The villagers in Las Mercedes have agreed to hire and pay 2 full time employees to maintain the water system once the operation of the project has been turned over to the beneficiaries. WMI will train these employees and will monitor their performance for one year after the system has been dedicated and operations have been turned over to the beneficiaries.
  3. Maintenance of the Healthy Latrines: WMI will train beneficiaries on how to construct and maintain the latrines.
  4. Education: Influential women in the community will conduct a door-to-door survey and monitoring program on sanitary storage and use of water, how to best provide animals with water, proper use of and care of toilets, and personal hygiene including handwashing before/after significant events. These influential women will be trained by WMI staff and host Rotarians, and will report to the village leadership monthly. Materials will be provided that can be left in each home so the villagers will be able to review all of the recommended healthy practices over and over again until they start practicing them. The same community volunteers and WMI/Rotarians will be involved in retraining, with the goal that at least 90% of the households have been verified to be following the program well in all aspects: water, sanitation and toilets, handwashing and hygiene.
The water system was commissioned on November 7, 2016 with a big ceremony in the village.  Work on construction of the latrines in now underway.   For more information, contact Simi Sunrise International Service Chair Chas Wilson.