The Chicorral Community
Chicorral is a small, indigenous community in rural Guatemala. As with many other rural areas in the country, Chicorral suffers from a severe lack of infrastructure: over half of the approximately 200 residents must climb down a steep, 100 meter deep ravine to reach the community’s main reliable water source. Women and children bear the responsibility of taking this trip up to five times a day to meet household water needs.
By World Health Organization (WHO) standards, the situation faced by these residents constitutes a “lack of access to an improved water source,” and has led to lack of sanitation and hygiene and a prevalence of gastrointestinal illnesses in the community. (WHO guidelines define “access to an improved water source” as having at least 20 liters of water per person that has been physically protected from outside contamination for daily personal use within 1 kilometer of the point of use).
Additionally, the residents would like to be recognized as an independent village (aldea) rather than a semi-independent community (paraje). For this formal recognition, the community must construct: a school, a mayor’s building, a community building, a graveyard, and a water system that serves at least 85% of residents. With the other projects complete or already in progress, our project will help Chicorral fulfill the last requirement and allow the community to move closer to being recognized as an aldea. By becoming an aldea, the community of Chicorral will have more control over how district funds are allocated to and used within the community, allowing the residents of Chicorral to have more authority over the decisions that directly affect them.
Since 2006, the Guatemala team of EWB-USA JHU has been working with the residents of Chicorral to develop and construct a socially, technically, and financially sustainable community water system to address this dire issue of lack of access to water.