Disaster Aid Partners with Rotary Clubs to Restore Water to Honduran Village
Gerry Beltgens, April 2, 2021
“Solving problems as a team just gets more work done.” That is the inspiration behind the Disaster Aid Regional Collaborative. The DA Regional Collaborative or DARC for short, was formed in January 2021 to enable Disaster Aid Canada, Disaster Aid USA and Rotary Clubs in Guatemala and Honduras to work effectively on regional challenges.
Our first project as a collaborative in Honduras is now reaching completion. Organized by Disaster Aid Canada but managed by the Rotary Club of Comayagua in Honduras and the Rotary Club of Comox in Canada, the project was spec'd and funded in record time. Fernando Martinez of Comayagua and Brian Mather of Comox had worked together on the original water Project for the Village of La Mata 12 years ago. La Mata has a population of 500 and access to clean water was now out of a creek 7 kilometers from town.
In late 2020 the combination of 2 hurricanes and two more tropical storms had completely washed out the original system. Fernando worked with the community to devise a better system, able to withstand the force of the tropical storms. A dam made of concrete, steel reinforcing and stone was placed in a cleft of a creek on a foundation of solid rock. The workers in the community had to manually move all of the gravel and cement and break out the loose rock by hand. Lumber for the forms was hand cut with chainsaws. Gravel was dug out of the creek bed.
Fernando has years of experience and training with community projects. His skills and commitment were key to the success of the project. He completed a comprehensive funding application (based on Rotary project funding standards) that totaled approximately $13,000.00 Can. for materials and skilled labour. The Rotary Club of Comayagua contributed $1,300.00, trucks and labour for the project. The Town of Comayagua is extremely poor and contributed the manpower and ongoing maintenance for the project. Cement and tools were carried on the back of the workers for 3 kilometers to the dam site. Concrete was mixed by hand with shovels and bucketed into the forms. See the photo album for more details. In order for the workers to be able to do the work RC Comayagua also used part of the funding to provide food to the village for the duration of the project.
To get the rest of the funding for the project, Disaster Aid Canada raised seed capital through an appeal. The majority of the funding came from RC Comox, RC Victoria Harbourside, and RC Woodstock-Oxford. Disaster Aid Australia heard about the project and also contributed funds. The total funding was raised within a couple of weeks.
As of this writing the Village of La Mata has water running to a central location in the town. An improved water filtration system is being discussed with DA Australia for future installation.