The Archbold Rotary Club is one of 16 Rotary clubs in the United States and Canada that have given money to support a sanitation and hygiene education project that will be managed by The Rotary Foundation for the Sula Valley region of northwest Honduras.
The $200,000 project was approved last month by The Rotary Foundation. Once completed, the grant will fund the design and installation of 130 demonstration latrines and various sanitation solutions for five pilot villages in the Meredon Mountains.
Rivers and an aquifer in those mountains provide drinking water for 45,000 people living in small mountain villages and nearly 1.5 million people who live in the city of San Pedro Sula in the valley below the mountains. Currently, most of the villages lack latrines and the people have not been educated about hygiene and water borne illnesses, two issues that the grant addresses.
The grant, a joint project led by the Lima Rotary Club and the Usula Rotary Club of San Pedro Sula, took 30 months to develop and required a local university in Honduras, a regional environmental authority along with detailed needs assessments and baseline water quality assessments before the grant could be submitted to The Rotary Foundation for consideration.
The Archbold Rotary Club agreed to support the project with $6,000 — most of which was left-over from the club’s Haiti water project several years ago.
Barb Britenriker, the current Archbold Rotary president, explained that between 2010 and 2013 the club coordinated a campaign that raised more than $125,000 to purchase and install 1,000 simple water filters in the Port-au-Prince area of Haiti following that country’s devastating earthquake.
Several neighboring Rotary Clubs, churches, organizations and community members supported the Haiti water project with donations, and the club received matching grants from Rotary District 6600 and The Rotary Foundation.
Those filters were placed in schools and health clinics to provide safe, clean drinking water for an estimated 75,000 children and adults.
“We had just under $5,900 left-over from that project and have been looking to partner with another Rotary club working on a health-related project,” Britenriker explained. “When we learned about the Honduran sanitation project that the Lima Rotary Club was working on, we thought it would be an excellent use of our left-over funds.”
By working with another Rotary club, Archbold’s $6,000 will be matched and nearly doubled by Rotary District 6600 and The Rotary Foundation.
Bob Ruehl, former Rotary District 6600 governor and district foundation chair, led the grant study committee that took numerous trips to Honduras to conduct the assessments and work with the local Rotary club to arrive at the final proposal.
In addition to the Lima and Archbold clubs, the Lorain Rotary Club from District 6600 (northwest and north central Ohio) plus nine clubs from Thurston County in Washington, one in California, and three clubs in Canada also pledged funds to support the project.