Bringing water to remote communities in Guatemala

In Guatemala, we work through our partner Equinos Sanos para el Pueblo (ESAP) (Healthy Equines for the People), a Guatemalan foundation promoting working equine welfare. When ESAP provided a water pump to a drought-affected community, all of its members got involved to improve access to water for them and their equines.

Community members working together to install the water pump

Community members working together to install the water pump.

Severe drought

A common issue affecting equine welfare in Guatemala is access to water in the 'Dry Corridor', an ecological region in the country that is particularly vulnerable to increasingly irregular rainfall and severe droughts. A few fortunate communities in the Dry Corridor have springs or a small lagoon, but collecting water from them is difficult.

This is the case in La Esperanza, located in Jalapa, south-east Guatemala, where a spring exists but people have to walk miles to reach it. Three other communities share the same spring, and they tried for several years to find an organisation that would help them improve access to water.

Problems for people are bigger problems for animals

When communities don’t have enough water, their members will take priority over animals for the limited supply that exists and equines won't have enough to drink.

ESAP doesn’t typically work on projects affecting people, but its team recognised that, in this case, the problems community members were facing were posing an even bigger concern for their animals. When communities don’t have enough water, their members will take priority over animals for the limited supply that exists and equines ultimately won't have enough to drink.

So, with help and advice from the global humanitarian charity UNICEF, ESAP provided the communities with a water pump.

Building the water pump: A community project

Fabio Duarte, ESAP's Community Engagement Officer, announced to the excited community that, after years of trying, it was finally going to get the help it needed.

Along with ESAP’s water pump, the municipality – already working with the community on a different project – provided 10 metal roofing panels and help with installing the pump. The local health centre offered help to build the roof, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation donated sand and cement for the base. Each family in the community donated five quetzals (£0.50) to buy wood to build the base and a small drinking trough.

Boy with horse walking down a track in Guatemala

A community member walking with his horse.

Once the base had been built, installing the pump was a challenging task, but thanks to the hard work of many people, it was completed in one day.

The pump now benefits around 150 equines and more than 200 families in the communities.

Benefitting hundreds of animals and people

The pump now benefits around 150 equines and more than 200 families in La Esperanza and the surrounding communities of El Cujito, El Morrito and La Candelaria. No one needs to walk long distances to the spring anymore, and equines always have access to fresh drinking water.

Helping others

La Esperanza is just one of many communities in the Dry Corridor that has problems accessing water. While ESAP is keen to help others, not all situations are as straightforward as La Esperanza and some require different solutions. ESAP hopes to engage organisations with more expertise and experience in this work.