In the company of Maya-Mam women in Comitancillo, Guatemala, the predisposition to being mindful of means is clear. As evidenced by dry cornstalk fences and locally-woven textiles, making careful use of every piece of land, every resource, every kernel, every drop, is second-nature. Economic activities of rural households include harvesting small gardens and tending to domestic livestock, both of which are reliant upon water and often yield little return.
Although many communities have water systems that pipe water to each household, the water source (typically a mountain stream susceptible to seasonal scarcity) is simply not enough to meet community needs year-round. When the six-month dry season withers the water supply, oft-contaminated rivers and hand-dug wells stand-in as unsafe substitutes. And the impacts can be devastating. In Guatemala, acute diarrheal disease continues to be one of the main causes of illness and premature death, especially in children under five years of age.
It is in these highlands, where the best of times yield a plentiful cabbage harvest and where the worst of times yield nary a drop to drink, that Change for Children is initiating work with vulnerable families with limited resources to implement rainwater collection practices as a low-cost, simple solution to address water scarcity. A collection of rooftop gutters and pipes contributed by participating families will channel the rainy season downpours into a storage tank for use when community water is limited.
Support for this project means more storage tanks.
It means more water for more families for months of the year.
Because, Every Drop Counts.