News from our trip to the Philippines
Pinanubuan, a remote village in Sinuda, one of the 35 barangays in the municipality of Kitao-tao in Northern Mindanao was home for our Project for 5 days. This impoverished rural area, where the average family monthly income is 1,300 php (25.15 $), depends on agriculture for the community survival. Several family generations share the same space under one roof.
The local stream is the only source of water. Women take daily trips to do laundry, wash fruits and vegetables, or take a bath. Children fetch water not only for their families, but for the school, as it is the only drinking water available.
A pipe diverting water from the stream has been installed now from our Team to provide a single point of collection at the outskirt of the village.
The local school benefited also from the installation of BioSand water filters. Each of the classrooms received one water filtration unit to the relieve of parents and teachers. Unsafe water causes stomach aches, and school absenteeism.
Teaching children at the local school Surge’s game-based hygiene and sanitation education program was one of the highlights of this project. Acquiring good hygiene habits from a young age is a fundamental skill for maintaining a healthy life.
Diarrhea kills 10,000 Filipino children a year according to the most recent figures released by the World Health Organization. The country has the second largest diarrhea morbidity rate in the world.
Access to clean water and soap for children under the age of five could reduce by as much as 40% the current diarrhea morbidity rate (WHO).
As Unicef points out, women and girls face shame and risk their safety if there is no toilet at home. Open defecation is common practice. They have to wait for nightfall to find privacy.
Mrs. Marites Enopia’s family of 5, was one of the beneficiaries of an EcoSan toilet unit. Mrs. Enopia was also one of locals interviewed to understand and document water and sanitation related struggles as well as the impact of the water filters on their lives.
One of the most difficult tasks was the delivery and installation of the water filters for the home. Adverse weather conditions, coupled with challenging access ways due to the orography of the area, required some muscle and determination.
The involvement of "iHelp" does not end with the impact trip. A follow up with Surge for Water and its partner organization in the field is intended in the long term. The role of the Filipino team in the field is crucial to the success of the project.
Educating the beneficiaries to the correct use and maintenance of the BioSand water filter and the EcoSan toilets, as well as the monitoring and the assessment of the project requires a regular engagement with the Pinanubuan community.