Safe Water: Pilot Project Updates
For the past 18 months, Timmy Global Health has partnered with MedWater of Louisville, Kentucky, and the local provincial government in the Napo province of Ecuador to launch a Safe Water Solutions pilot project in five Timmy communities in the Amazon Basin.
The communities of Los Rios, Runashito, San Pedro de Sumino, Galeras, and Mushuk Allpa now have access to a safe water source in their own communities—benefitting approximately 1,000 individuals in total. These communities had traditionally suffered from high rates of water borne illness (as noted on our medical service trips) and had no access to a safe water source. MedWater performed a pre-installation assessment on each of these five communities, and over the course of the last year and a half, five installation trips plus a WASH training trip for Community Health Promoters (CHPs) were completed.
To begin the project, each community established their own Community Water Councils (CWC), which then requested a Safe Water Solutions project for their community.
For each community, a team comprised of MedWater (Engineer, Health Specialist & MW Lead), Timmy’s Safe Water Solutions Coordinator (Sean Maloney), the community’s CWC and community health promoter, and a translator worked together for one week to install the tank, piping, filters and chlorinator necessary to complete the system. Training the CWC on system use started on day one so that by week’s end they were independent in setting up, running, water testing, and storing the system.
The communities greeted these teams with ready-built platforms to safely hold and protect the new chlorinator. Many community members joined the Safe Water Team throughout the installation and training week, assisting in various capacities along with other “installed” community water council members. WASH (Water & Sanitation Hygiene) education activities were included throughout the week and were provided to various groups and settings.
Each week culminated in a celebration ceremony where every family received a pack H2O (a portable, self-cleaning, water container) and instructions on use before receiving their first distribution of safe water. The communities’ schools also received pack H2Os to ensure safe water access during the school day. In total, 500 Pack H2Os were distributed through this pilot program!
The CWCs are responsible for weekly chlorination and water distributions to their community members as well as oversight of the system and usage. They direct opportunities for their communities to learn about WASH, and Timmy’s own trained CHP for that community provides educational sessions for various community groups throughout the year. Post-installation monthly visits by Sean Maloney provided an opportunity for monitoring and evaluation tasks and importantly dialogues with CWC members to find solutions to any hurdles they were encountering.
Throughout summer 2015, Timmy will continue monitoring and evaluation activities for this pilot project. We cannot wait to share the outcomes and impact of this pilot with our Timmy network, and are so thankful to all of those who helped to make the launch of this pilot such a success! It is our hope to continue to provide life-changing public health interventions—such as this Safe Water Solution—to our Timmy communities in the future. Coupled with our ongoing primary care medical service trips, these projects are providing thousands of patients, families, and communities with the promise of healthy futures.
By Charla Cain
Charla began her work with Timmy as the Organizational Learning & Projects Manager in fall 2012—helping to coordinate the development and launch of Timmy’s Safe Water Solutions Project pilot. After serving most recently as Interim Executive Director, she is thrilled to share updates about the project as we near the end of the pilot phase and enter a period of evaluation.
Click here to read more about one of the pilot water chlorinator installations in the community of Runashito. Learn about the very first installation at our partner hospital Archidona in this post from February 2014. And click here to read about the inception and fundamentals of this pilot project in our very first Safe Water blog.