March 15, 2012 -- GPPI attracts students who want to change the world, and nowhere is that more evident than in the important work of Project Honduras.
Over spring break, 11 GPPI students traveled to the La Colonia, Balfate on the island of Roatán, Honduras to follow up the water filtration project they began implementing last May.
Accompanied by two engineers from the Environmental Resource Management Foundation (ERM), the team performed a follow up survey on the 30 water filters they installed last November, and found that usage rates in the community were higher than expected.
In an expansion of the project, the team distributed 40 additional filters through a randomized lottery process, and performed a baseline survey that will help gauge the filters’ impact. Follow up on the new filters is planned for later this year. There are now 74 Sawyer Point-One water filters in the community of Balfate, which faces a variety of environmental challenges, such as mudslides, contaminated water, and overpopulation due to rapid expansion.
“It was great to see our hard work in action,” said Cindy Brenner, student co-leader of Project Honduras. “The community received us with great warmth and gratitude and we are excited to continue the relationship as we scale-up and roll-out our access to safe water project.”
Led by Kerry Pace, co-founder of Project Honduras and the student co-leaders, Louise Ashton and Brenner, Project Honduras team members held training workshops on usage and maintenance of the filters. The local Department of Health certified the filters and attended the workshops to promote filter usage within the community. Other island leaders like Mayor Julio Galindo, and the local power utility and newspaper managers also endorsed usage of the filters.
Through baseline and follow up surveys, the project was designed for the team to evaluate the health impact of increased access to safe water, the flagship project of Project Honduras. In Spring 2010, engineers assessed water quality, access, and storage practices in the community. Last March, with the help of many generous donors, the team returned to the La Colonia Balfate community to conduct a comprehensive water survey, which was a great advancement in the group’s efforts to improve local water quality. While there, students built relationships with local and community leaders, and developed the plan to install household water filters and initiate two capital improvements for the community water system.
"In addition to our numerous international academic programs, GPPI is proud that our students take their learning outside of the classroom and apply their skills, knowledge, and passion to help the developing community of La Colonia Belfate,” said Pace. “Project Honduras is a valuable part of GPPI and we look forward to a long and successful relationship with the residents of La Colonia.”