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Located in Central America, Honduras is bordered by Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Due to recent rapid urbanization, about half the population now lives and works in urban areas. However, high underemployment rates and unequal distribution of income mean that over half the population lives below the poverty line.

According to the most recent Joint Monitoring Program Report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, 89% of people in Honduras have access to improved water sources and 81% have improved sanitation facilities. While these numbers are impressive, they do not provide a complete picture of water and sanitation access in Honduras. Although many of the communities have water systems in the rural areas where Water For People–Honduras works, the water from these systems doesn’t meet government quality and quantity standards.

Water For People first began supporting water and sanitation efforts in Honduras in 1997. From 1997 to 2006, Water For People–Honduras worked with partner organizations in over 90 rural communities. In 2007, it developed a regional strategy to target specific districts and to provide everyone in these areas (communities, schools, and health clinics) with access to safe drinking water and sanitation.


Rural access to improved water:
Rural access to improved sanitation:
Per capita income:
Life expectancy (M/F):
Under-five mortality rate:
4/1,000 live births
Rural access to improved water:

Source: World Health Organization


In 2013, Water For People–Honduras is focusing its programming efforts on three rural municipalities: Chinda, El Negrito, and San Antonio de Cortés. At the end of 2011, Chinda was the first of the Water For People municipalities to reach every family, every school, and every health clinic with safe drinking water and sanitation.

Chinda is a small municipality of 43 square miles in the northwestern department of Santa Bárbara. There is a town of the same name and 14 rural communities, and a population of almost 6,000 inhabitants. Subsistence agriculture dominates the economy, but where they can, residents also raise animals for sale or work on small coffee plantations. San Antonio de Cortés is a mountainous 114-square-mile municipality in the department of Cortés with a population of more than 26,000 living in a town of the same name and in 45 rural communities. Many San Antonians practice subsistence agriculture, raising beans and corn on small farms. El Negrito is a 326-square-mile area in the Yoro department of northern Honduras. More than 53,000 people live in 90 rural communities in this region, half of which is mountainous, while the other half is defined by the Sula Valley. El Negrito is one of the poorest and least developed areas of Yoro as most residents depend upon subsistence farming.


Lasting water and sanitation solutions can only be achieved when key players—the private sector, civil society, and local government—are supported. In Honduras, as in many countries in Latin America, principal local partners are the municipal governments of the districts where we work. Water For People–Honduras also maintains strong relationships with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, SANAA (Honduras National Autonomous Water and Sewerage Service), ERSAPS (Regulatory Entity for Water and Potable Water and Sanitation Services), and the National Autonomous University of the Sula Valley. Water For People–Honduras is a member of the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA), and through this alliance is multiplying its impact by influencing other nongovernment organizations working in Honduras, such as CARE, CRS, Living Water International, World Vision, and Pure Water For the World.

Current Work

Water For People–Honduras continues to facilitate water and sanitation programming to build toward full coverage in the municipalities of San Antonio de Cortés and El Negrito, with work in 28 communities and six schools planned for this year. A highlight of this programming will be continued work on the large “17 Communities” project in San Antonio, which will bring drinking water to over 4,600 people living in 17 communities when completed by the end of 2014.

In Chinda, and simultaneously with program implantation in San Antonio de Cortés and El Negrito, Water For People–Honduras will also focus efforts on establishing the structures necessary to maintain full water coverage. This will include strengthening COMAS, water committees, and associations of water committees.

View Current Progress


Water For People–Honduras treats schools as part of the wider community. It engages local leaders and organizations to build hand-washing stations and toilets in schools. Each school intervention is combined with solutions and education in the community to help ensure that good hygiene practices learned in schools are reinforced at home.

Rather than directly managing the construction of water supply, toilets, and hand-washing stations for schools, Water For People–Honduras directs the funds (usually supplemented by municipal government funds) to parent-teacher associations (PTAs) to manage. Water For People–Honduras also provides training and mentoring on topics such as the basics of financial management and project administration. These skills translate into tools that residents can continue to use as they further develop their communities.

Water For People–Honduras has led Water For People as an organization in Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). Before working in a community, Water For People–Honduras delineates the watershed basin to better understand the available water resources and the impact that usage will have on surrounding communities. Significant effort is also made to protect the community water source and to educate community members about the individual impact they have on water quality in their community.

Water For People–Honduras has led the organization in Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).

Water For People–Honduras has been steadily building the capacity of the municipalities and communities where it works so that they will be able to sustain water supply and sanitation facilities once Water For People–Honduras is no longer working directly in those districts. In each of the three districts, Water For People–Honduras has helped create a Municipal Water and Sanitation Commission (COMAS) and is supporting the creation of Local Supervisory and Control Unit (USCL) structures required by the national framework law for the water and sanitation sector. At the community level, Water For People–Honduras has helped form and strengthen water committees so they can administer, operate, and maintain water systems.

Water For People–Honduras is promoting water conservation and equitable payment for use of water by requiring all water systems they establish or rehabilitate to include household-level micrometers. This allows the water committees and community members to monitor water usage and establish an affordable, usage-based fee structure to maintain the system.