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Who We Are
Founded in 1972 by a team of young, international volunteer civil, environmental, mechanical, industrial and nuclear engineers; architects; sociologists and economists. Their Pollyannaish goal was to address poverty among the poorest of the poor. Your help has made their dream a reality for more than 500,000 poor Guatemalans.
We are the OLDEST NGO focused on
water and sanitation in the world!
You’d probably guess that as our name implies, we have spent a good deal of our engineering expertise on developing water infrastructure. In our early days the majority of our projects were spring captured gravity systems. Those opportunities were the ‘low hanging fruit’. The beauty of these projects is the incredibly low cost of operation and maintenance. However, all of our systems include a community “tax”. That is every beneficiary family pays a monthly fee for operation and maintenance.
We've focus on sanitation due to WHO data that has shown that sanitaion is more cost effective than water for health. However, our beneficiares consider many other factors in addition to health that water provides. At a minimum all beneficiaries install a ventilated improved pit latrines. Recently we have added hand washing stations. We are also experimenting with more comprehensive systems that incorporate laundry wathing (pilas). These systems connect several homes to a grease trap, biodigester and wetland treatment.
Water and sanitation are means, not an end: We developed and honed our methodology for the past 50 years. The heart of the methodology in community control. That is, in every AdP project the community must take the lead in all decisions from our first visit to the operation and maintenance of the system. Researchers have found that the community leadership leads to community and economic development (Chipman, Strait and Clemens, 2014; Sauer, Smith & Clemens, 2012; Clemens & Douglas, 2012).