Update from “The Clean Water Initiative” of Tufts Timmy
Last March, Timmy posted an exciting initiative by our Tufts chapter members about their efforts creating a clean water project in Guatemala (“Expanding the Scope of Care: Clean Water in Guatemala”). Since March, the students have continued to grow their project on-the-ground and have launched a new blog with updates directly from the students about the Clean Water Iniative.
Visit their blog at tuftstimmycleanwater.wordpress.com to learn more about what the Tufts students are doing weekly in Guatemala to help bring clean water to rural communities visited by Timmy medical brigades throughout the year.
At Timmy, we often stress to our student chapters that their work goes so far beyond their one-week brigade. The Clean Water Initiative is a great example of Timmy students taking their work to the next level and we are looking forward to seeing the impact of their work in the months to come.
History of the TuftsTimmy Clean Water Initiative
On medical brigades to Guatemala in 2008, 2009 and 2010, Tufts Timmy conducted various health surveys and compiled data in three indigenous communities. Many of the health conditions we saw and treated were directly related to unsafe drinking water, water-bourn illness, and parasites. These problems cause dehydration, malnutrition, and in some cases fatal illness are completely preventable with access to clean, safe drinking water.
In September 2010 after receiving a $1,000 grant from Tisch College at Tufts University, Tufts Timmy decided to branch out beyond their usual January medical brigade to try and tackle the problem of unsafe drinking water in Guatemalan communities.
A subcommittee of about 6 ‘Timmies’ formed, and eventually grew to over 10 members. Throughout the fall we met on Wednesday evenings to discuss various water sanitation methods, logistics, and how best to go about this process. Eventually, we decided the only way to make culturally conscious decisions that would benefit the community the most is to ask the people we are serving themselves.
So, on the annual medical brigade January 2010, members of the Water Committee took spent an afternoon La Victoria, a neighborhood of Buena Vista, a community that Timmy has been serving for a few years. There, we held two focus groups with a group of about 30 women discussing possibilities.
When we got back to the United States, we eventually decided on buying water filters through a company based in Guatemala called ecofiltro. Two members of our group, Pat Gibbons and Nitin Shrivastava, traveled back to La Victoria, Guatemala in March to deliver 13 filters to the community and administer a baseline health survey.
In spring 2011, Tufts Timmy Water Initiative recieved two more grants, one from Empower through the Institute of Global Leadership at Tufts, and another from Tisch college at Tufts, making it possible to travel back to Guatemala in the summer and deliver more filters to the remaining families. Five from the Water Committee were able to travel, and this blog was started to chronicle the story of our adventures in Guatemala in the Summer of 2011, continuing the Clean Water Initiative, working to create a sustainable way for the community of La Victoria to have safe drinking water.