At 66, Margarita Garcia can no longer carry water jugs for miles on her head.
She has spent much of her life in rural western Honduras walking for hours each day to get water and wash clothes at the only water source her community can rely on year-round.
After decades of the chore, the pain in her neck is too much. So instead, she sends her granddaughter, 11-year-old Reina Liliana. It’s the only way they have water at home during the dry summer months.
But Margarita and the 60 families of Llano Largo hope in 2017 to finally bring clean water close to their homes. This will end their 23-year struggle with disease and other health issues related to dirty drinking water.
As we commemorate World Water Day March 22, World Vision celebrates three years early the reaching of its 2020 goal to bring clean water to one person every 10 seconds. Ultimately, we hope to provide access to clean water to every person in every community where we work around the globe.
With World Vision’s help, the neighbors of Llano Largo pooled their resources last year to begin building a water catchment and pipeline system. It will bring clean water to their homes for the first time in a generation.
“I feel great because it’s been 23 years,” says Eliodoro Garcia, Margarita’s cousin and a community leader working closely with World Vision. “Knowing we will bring water from a new source, it’s a good start. My hope is that we don’t end with water; that we can start an irrigation system and be able to feed our children better.”
Ending the global water crisis
“An accomplishment like this shows what’s possible when people of good faith and people of goodwill focus their energies on a solvable problem,” said Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S. “Ending the global water crisis is this generation’s ‘moon shot,’ but we’ve got what it takes to achieve it. And we can’t stop now.”
Globally more than 660 million people do not have clean water access. Nearly 1,000 children die each day because of diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene.
Recent research by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Water Institute and Water and Sanitation for Africa found that nearly 80 percent of wells drilled by World Vision in the Greater Afram Plains region of Ghana are still operational after more than two decades. The study found that the World Vision community model of establishing water committees and charging a fee for water use was associated with the continued functionality of the water points.
As the largest nongovernmental provider of access to clean water, World Vision is on pace to reach an estimated 50 million people with clean water by then.
It happens 60 families at a time.
Waiting for clean water
In 2016, World Vision and Llano Largo community leaders discovered a creek they think should supply enough water for their needs. They still need to build a 10-mile pipeline to get it here — a tall order in this mountainous region. But organizers like Eliodoro are driven by successful examples of nearby communities and their World Vision partners meeting these challenges head-on — and succeeding.
Between October 2015 and September 2016, we helped provide more than 21,500 Hondurans with access to clean water. That came with additional efforts to rehabilitate or construct new water points, build household and school bathrooms, and equip and train community water committees to manage the systems on their own.
Margarita and her husband already installed a tap in the washing basin outside their kitchen. It’s waiting to be connected when the pipeline finally brings clean water—possibly by this August.
“You don’t know how happy I feel, now that we’re going to start the water project,” Margarita says. “My hope is that people will take good care of the water. It’s been hard to get it here, so I hope people take good care of the water.”
When the water does come, Margarita wants to have a garden year-round, not just during the rainy season. Then she and Liliana can do more of one of their favorite things together — picking flowers.