209275 Scaling up safe water access to Honduras' coffee-growing communities: Civil society networks' crucial role

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Milton Amayun, MD, MPH , Programs Department, International Aid, Spring Lake, MI
James Bodenner, JD, MS , International Aid, Spring Lake, MI
Alan Talens, MD, MPH , International Aid, Spring Lake, MI
Purpose: The lack of access to safe water of 1.2 billion people worldwide results in more than 1.5 million children's deaths yearly. Millennium Development Goal 7 aims to address this problem by seeking to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015. That requires providing safe water to 125,000 new people every day for the next six years and demands new technologies and innovative ways in the scaling-up process. Methods: In Honduras, since 2007, International Aid (IA) has focused its community health work on the western coffee-growing departments, where 29% of households lack access to safe water. With definitive evidence that a simple, affordable and long-lasting household filtration device can improve household water quality and reduce diarrhea, IA launched the Hydraid™ BioSand plastic water filter for distribution in poor municipalities. This was an improved version over the concrete model which weighed more than 300 pounds. The challenge was to have an efficient and large-scale distribution strategy that reached the areas and social strata that needed this water technology the most. The implementation plan was completed in three phases: 1) Program phase to validate effectiveness and acceptability, 2) Partnership phase to involve a robust civil society network to penetrate the poor at the base of the pyramid, and 3) a Commercial phase to target the middle class households. The Partnership phase involved local and international NGOs, FBOs, and civic organizations working alongside government and the national coffee-growers' cooperative, leading to the formation of the Honduras Hydraid™network. IA subsidized the filters and trained partners' staff in installation, but each member receiving the filters agreed to expand water and sanitation activities, and pay for warehousing, internal transport, cost of sand, and installation. The Honduran government, through its Poverty Reduction Strategy, contributed $175,000 to subsidize some of the filters and allowed their duty-free status. Results: More than 5,000 Hydraid(TM) water filters have been distributed. By end-2009, close to 10,000 are projected for installation. This will be the first phase of a total 61,000 Hydraid™ filters that will benefit more than 500,000 people. Such rapid scaling-up would have been impossible without the Hydraid™ network.

Learning Objectives:
1. List three potential contributions of civil society organizations in promoting safe water 2. Describe how the Hydraid(TM) filter network assists Honduras in meeting MDG 7

Keywords: Water, Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have supervised our work in Honduras from our organizational headquarters in Michigan.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.