Photo above: Children from the community of Zapote perform traditional dances at the celebration of their newly completed water system.

Last week’s visit to Honduras was packed with activities and milestones.
We are very proud to share the extraordinary work of our local partner, COCEPRADIL.

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Here’s what our non-stop week added up to:

10 travelers from Portland, Phoenix, and Seattle. 9 beautiful sunsets in the rugged and isolated mountains of western Honduras. 12 water system inaugurations. 39 new water system agreements signed to serve 12,000 more people. 250 miles traveled–the equivalent of 50,000 miles on rough roads in the Cordillera de Celaque mountain range. And countless tortillas made with love by mothers and grandmothers who won’t have to carry water ever again!

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The people of Los Limones have been enjoying the benefits of water at their houses for over a year.

Thanks to YOU, 12 new water systems were constructed in the past year providing water to 3,618 more people
Representing all Water1st donors, we participated in inauguration ceremonies for 12 new water systems with house taps. Ribbon cuttings involve speeches from local mayors, Water1st, and our local partner, COCEPRADIL. Our favorite part of these ceremonies are the contributions from the communities themselves.

The elected water committee accepts full responsibility for the management of the water system. They take an oath before the entire community to fulfill their duties, which are described in a detailed contract that each committee member must sign. The rest of the ceremony is about celebrating and giving thanks. Community members write original poetry, songs, and skits. They perform traditional dances. And they often include the “throwing of the cantaro” where a woman smashes her pottery water vessel on the ground while proclaiming, “I will never carry water again!”

Thank you to all Water1st donors, including the Across the Globe Children’s Foundation, Covenant World Relief, One Day’s Wages, and the Bayley Family Foundation, for supporting these projects.

Watch a short video of Phillipa Serna breaking her water container because she will never have to carry water again.

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Cutting the ribbon for the new water system in San Sebastian serving 40 households.

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As part of every Water1st project, each family builds a toilet. Toilets, along with clean water and hand washing, are the best protection against the spread of disease.

Because of your generous support in 2015, we were able to commit to funding 39 new water systems serving over 12,000 people.
Our projects in Honduras are exceptional in every way. The projects you support provide clean water and toilets at each household. Families have 24/7 access to clean water for drinking, washing hands, cooking, bathing, laundry, and small gardens. Not only are the water systems and toilets extremely well designed, the community organization component is the gold standard, ensuring that our initial investment will last for generations.

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Jose Ovidio Hernandez Munoz, treasurer of the Canfura water committee, describes how they track water consumption and find leaks in their system. COCEPRADIL is a pioneer in introducing water meters to this region of Honduras. Household water consumption is metered, and depending on community rules, users pay based on the volume of water used.

Water committees and regional boards
Each water project is managed by a water committee that has received extensive training in administration and plumbing by our local partner organization. Community water committees are members of municipal and regional water boards, providing them with a structure to address regional issues (such as protection of watersheds). Policy decisions affecting all water boards are made at the regional level. It is a well-coordinated, sophisticated, and effective structure.

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Our local partner does an excellent job promoting the involvement and leadership of women in water projects. Above is the newly elected water committee of San Pedrito, with 4 women and 2 men.

New water projects will include a loan component
One exciting policy change made by the regional boards in 2016 is that every new water project will include a loan component. Each household will be responsible for paying the costs of their home water connection, sink, toilet, and water meter through a long-term, low interest rate loan. Water1st will provide the initial capital for the loan, and when the funds are repaid to COCEPRADIL, they will be used to finance new projects, stretching your donation further.

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On March 17th, the Annual Congress of COCEPRADIL water committees decided that every new water project would include a loan component. Each household is responsible for paying the costs of the household water connection, sink, toilet and water meter through a long-term, low interest rate loan.

Working in collaboration with local government
Each project involves a financial contribution from local mayors. Because of our consistent support, COCEPRADIL has been able to develop good relationships with local mayors who are now eager to be part of these water projects. They know the water systems are well implemented and highly valued and needed by their

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Dina and Modesto are important staff members of our local partner organization. Since 1993, Modesto has been supervising communities in water project construction.Community members provide all the labor for the project, including hand-trenching miles of pipeline. Modesto becomes part of the community for the difficult period of construction, sharing meals with work crews and sleeping on the ground at work sites. Not surprisingly, he gets huge applause at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for his commitment to projects. Dina helps communities in the post-construction phase by providing refresher training to volunteer water committees and making household visits to reinforce hygiene training.

Lepaera project making progress
Our last stop was a visit to the municipality of Lepaera to see progress made on their large system. When completed it will provide water to 6,000 people. It is the largest project constructed by COCEPRADIL to date.

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Community members from Lepaera are building the 150,000-gallon water storage tank for their project.

Café, tortillas, and a week you’ll never forget
Travelers from Seattle, Portland, and Phoenix joined us for this Honduras site visit. They said the miles of rough driving were totally worth it for spectacular scenery, delicious coffee and homemade meals, and the opportunity to witness Hondurans taking pride in their culture and changing their own lives through construction of a water and toilet project.
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Honduras travelers climb to the Piedra Parada, where in 1537 the indigenous leader Lempira made his last stand against Spanish conquistators.

Travel with us

Please contact us if you would like to see how many tortillas you can eat in one week while having a first-hand look at some of the best water projects in the world.

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