Guatemala: Global Water and Peace Corps collaborate in Healthy Schools program


Having developed many water systems in Guatemala, Global Water saw an opportunity to assist the Peace Corps volunteers who were trying their best to educate schoolchildren about proper hygiene but without the tools to do so.

In a rural school adjacent to a small village in Guatemala, a Peace Corps volunteer stood before a group of schoolchildren. Holding her hands out in front of her, she rubbed them together, mimicking the motions of lathering soap, then extended them back under the imaginary spigot. The lesson was on hand-washing and was part of the Peace Corp volunteer’s assignment to teach health and hygiene to the rural poor. The “Healthy Schools Program“, as it has become known in Guatemala, is supported by the Appropriate Technology Program of the Peace Corps. There was one vital ingredient conspicuously missing from the lesson however. “Water”

Having developed many water systems in Guatemala, [NGO] Global Water saw an opportunity to assist the Peace Corps volunteers who were trying their best to educate schoolchildren about proper hygiene but without the tools to do so. […] Global Water had successfully partnered with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on previous projects in Guatemala to build village water supplies and sanitation facilities. In these projects, Global Water provided the funding and water treatment expertise, while the NGO’s provided the construction expertise and local supervision necessary to build the water systems. Now the Peace Corps would add other key components to this partnership to make school facilities a reality – their day-to-day involvement with the community which was needed to gain permission to work at schools, as well as the teaching acumen to create a hygiene education program. Finally, the communities themselves had to contribute to the project, by providing manual labor to support the building of the water facilities.

[…] Through the Healthy Schools projects in Guatemala, rural schools in need receive water systems, latrines, kitchen stoves and hand washing stations [“lavamanos”]. Global Water’s funding helps provide these systems […].

Once these facilities are installed, the schools participating in the Healthy Schools program are required to implement an educational program to teach students how and why to use the new hygiene facilities. This education program is usually created by the Peace Corps volunteer who helped build the facilities at the school. Once this program is in place, the school is inspected by the Minister of Health, and can be recognized as a “Healthy School” by the Guatemalan government.

Read Global Water’s Healthy Schools Progress Reports:

Source: PR.com, 10 Apr 2009

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