A team of twelve GPPI students and volunteer engineers traveled to Honduras over spring break to continue their work in the community of Balfate. The team successfully installed and tested two large water tanks, providing chlorinated water for the first time to more than 40 local homes.
“We are so proud of our work and grateful to those who supported this project,” said Matt Rogers, Project Honduras’ Student Leader. “We could not have accomplished this goal without the hard work of our partners in Balfate and previous Project Honduras teams, and the support of the ERM Foundation and GPPI’s administration and faculty.”
The installation is the culmination of two years of hard work by Project Honduras students. Team members of the sustainable service-learning project have made eight trips to Honduras since 2011 with the ultimate goal of improving water quality in the underserved community of La Colonia-Balfate, located on the island of Roatán. Before the tank installation, just two-thirds of residents had access to chlorinated water. Additionally, a second set of tank pads were successfully constructed, and plans are in the works to install the final two water tanks, which will provide chlorinated water to the remainder of the community.
While in Honduras, the team continued its work at the household level, knocking on every door in the community, and completing approximately 70 surveys of available residents. . They also hosted two focus groups to discuss hygiene, sanitation, solid waste, and other topics in greater detail. Team members also spent time discussing island needs with NGOs and other interested parties on Roatán.
The local community is heavily invested in the project as well. Balfate provided volunteers to transport the tanks to their perch in January and paid for labor to construct the tank pads on both sites. To celebrate their successful partnership, the Balfate Patronato (community council) hosted the entire team for a grilled dinner or “parrillada” on Friday, March 8.
Project Honduras is a sustainable service-learning project in Roatán, Honduras created to connect GPPI students to an impoverished area and give them the opportunity to use their policy skills to affect change in the community.