The proposed project is to help a small, indigenous community in rural Panama build ten 200-gallon household rainwater tanks out of ferrocement and provide health kits to all 30 houses in order to improve access to potable water and strengthen health/hygiene habits. Every house in the community has a plastic rainwater tank, but the tanks are not large enough to support a household and water runs out quickly. When they run out of rain water, many people get water from pozos, large holes dug in the ground to collect water, or from the river, which are polluted by animals, open defecation, and trash. Many people get sick from drinking this water, especially babies and children, and children often miss school because of illness. There isn’t easy access to medical attention in the community, so in the past there have been deaths due to water-borne illnesses.
This will be a pilot project to assess further interest in building rainwater tanks and pass on the knowledge to community members so they can make the tanks by themselves in the future. The individual families will contribute by finding and carrying sand from the river and helping with the construction.
The health kits will include micron water filters to ensure the water is safe for drinking, soap for hand-washing, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
The main objective of this project is to provide potable drinking water and reduce water-borne illnesses. Water is life and everyone deserves access to clean drinking water.