Honduras

Honduras

Located in Central America, Honduras is bordered by Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. The country’s mountainous terrain and coastal plains are home to just over 8 million people. The people are almost entirely mestizo—a mix of Spanish and indigenous ethnicities—and speak Spanish as well as Amerindian dialects. 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 sixty percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Despite many challenges that persist, Honduras has made significant progress on increasing access to drinking water coverage and met the Millennium Development Goal to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to improved drinking water by 2015. Honduras is also one of the few countries in Latin America to have met the Millennium Development Goal for increased access to sanitation.

National Statistics

84%
Rural access to improved water
82%
Rural access to improved sanitation
Population:
8,075,000
Languages:
Spanish, Amerindian Dialects
Per capita income:
$2,496
Life expectancy (M/F):
72/77
Under-five mortality rate:
20/1,000 live births
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Our Work


History of Program

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 with access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Currently Water For People-Honduras focuses its efforts in three Everyone Forever districts: Chinda, San Antonio de Cortés, and El Negrito.

Everyone Forever

Everyone Forever is a unique programmatic effort to provide water and sanitation services to Everyone in targeted districts, Forever. It means these districts never again need another international water agency to address their water challenges. And it provides a model for greater replication, leading to a push for national full water and sanitation coverage.

Lasting water and sanitation solutions can only be achieved when local role players—the private sector, civil society, and local government—are supported.

Water For People-Honduras invests in building the capacity of community members, local and national government, and the private sector to provide high quality water and sanitation services. Water For People–Honduras also maintains strong relationships with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, SANAA (Honduran National Autonomous Water and Sewerage Service), ERSAPS (Regulatory Entity for Potable Water and Sanitation Services), and local universities.

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Everyone Forever Regions


Chinda

Chinda is a small municipality of only 43 square miles in the northwestern department of Santa Bárbara, with a main town and 14 rural communities, and a population of almost 6,000 inhabitants. Chinda was the first of the districts where Water For People works to reach full water coverage, which took place in 2011. Water For People continues to work in Chinda to build the capacity of the municipal government and other local authorities to take on all of the roles and responsibilities necessary to make sure these services Forever.

San Antonio de Cortés

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 42 rural communities. Many San Antonians practice subsistence agriculture, raising beans and corn on small farms. Others work in sugarcane factories or raise animals for sale and consumption.

El Negrito

El Negrito is a 326-square-mile area in the department of Yoro. More than 53,000 people live in 90 mostly 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 to support their families, raising beans, corn, and the occasional chicken or pig on small family plots. Some people also work seasonally on small coffee or cocoa plantations. Those who reside in the Sula Valley communities depend largely on income as day laborers on large African palm, sugarcane, or banana plantations.


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Scale

In Honduras, Water For People has sparked a national Everyone Forever movement, branded locally as “Para Todos Por Siempre” (PTPS). This movement is made up of eleven NGOs (including Water For People-Honduras) who have signed an agreement to work toward full coverage in 30 municipalities, to build a model that can be replicated nationally. The movement hired national level coordinator in 2013, based in Tegucigalpa, to provide vision and support for the movement as well as coordination with the national government. The two primary national government water and sanitation sector institutions (SANAA-CONASA and ERSAPS) have signed on among the partners and the movement is now operating from CONASA’s offices. There is also increased influence on the Association of Municipalities of Honduras (AMHON), which has signed an agreement with CONASA to provide greater support to the water and sanitation sector. The PTPS movement also guides the development and implementation of SIASAR (a monitoring tool that has been adopted nationally for the sector), with focus on how to institutionalize monitoring within municipal governments through the district level WASH institutions the movement is also actively trying to create and strengthen.

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Permanent Solutions Require Innovative Initiatives


Integrated Community and School Programming

Water For People is rethinking the way conventional school programming is implemented. Traditionally, school programs have not involved the surrounding communities because schools are frequently the weakest part of communities: teachers are often underpaid and overloaded with multiple activities; school administrations are weak and have a limited or nonexistent funding base; and teachers who have received hygiene education training often leave for better schools. As a result, programs focused on schools tend to have the greatest sustainability challenges.

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. Responsibility for project implementation, finance, and maintenance of the school water and sanitation system is placed with the community and local government, thus taking the burden off the often overwhelmed and underfunded schools. In areas where water and sanitation infrastructure already exists, Water For People–Honduras works with the community to reinforce health and hygiene education messages and system management.

In some cases, 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 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 community members can continue to use as they further develop their communities.

Local Water Resource Management

Water For People–Honduras is a champion of strong Local Water Resource Management (LWRM). 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. Great emphasis is placed on sanitation and ensuring that communities with households above the water source have proper latrines to avoid contamination of the water. 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 is also working with municipalities and communities to achieve legally protected status for land around water sources and water recharge areas. The greatest progress in this area has been achieved in El Negrito, where the municipal government has formed the Commission to Purchase Micro-watersheds (COMIC), which raises funds to purchase land surrounding drinking water sources in the district and engages in advocacy efforts.

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

Building Local Capacity to Manage Water and Sanitation Systems

Water For People–Honduras has been steadily building the capacity of the municipalities and communities so that they will be able to sustain water and sanitation services long term. In each of the three Everyone Forever districts, Water For People–Honduras trains and supports community water and sanitation committees on operation, maintenance, and administration of water and sanitation services. Additionally, Water For People-Honduras has supported the formation and strengthening of Municipal Associations of Water and Sanitation Committees, which provide technical support and training to water committees, and operate chlorine banks in different sectors of each district, making the chlorine needed to chlorinate water systems to ensure water quality more available in rural areas.

Since 2014, Water For People-Honduras has also been building the capacity of the Municipal Associations of Water and Sanitation Committees to help address sanitation issues within communities. Water For People—Honduras staff trained members of the Associations and helped them gain the legal status to function as cooperatives and offer loans to the water and sanitation committees of communities within the districts where families want to build or rehabilitate household toilets. The community water and sanitation committee makes loans directly to families, who pay back the loan along with their monthly water tariff. Once families repay their loans, the community water and sanitation committee repays the Association, who then is able to loan the funds to a different community who wishes to improve is sanitation conditions.

Water For People-Honduras has also supported the formation of civil society structures prescribed by national water law, the Municipal Water and Sanitation Commission (COMAS) and the Local Supervisory and Control Unit (USCL), in each of the three target districts. These structures provide planning and investment guidance to the municipal government, additional technical support to water and sanitation committees, and enforce compliance with national sector regulations.

Current Programming

In 2016, 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. A highlight of this programming will be continued work on the enormous 17 Communities project in San Antonio, which will bring drinking water to over 4,000 people in 17 communities when completed, raising water coverage in the district by over 40%. The massive system is projected to be completed in May, 2016. In all three districts, Water For People-Honduras will continue promote increased water quality through training community water committees on chlorination. Financial sustainability of systems will also be an area of focus, though working with water committees to raise tariffs to levels sufficient to cover routine operation and maintenance costs as well as a percentage of major repair and replacement costs using tools such as AtWhatCost and an asset registry developed to catalogue the real costs of system components.

In Chinda, Water For People–Honduras is focusing on building the local capacity to maintain full water coverage Forever. This will include building the capacity of municipal government, community water and sanitation committees, the Municipal Water and Sanitation Commission, and the Municipal Association of Water and Sanitation committees. Water For People-Honduras will also build a relationship with the Association of Municipalities of CRA, to create local institutional capacity to provide ongoing technical support to Chinda, so that Water For People-Honduras can switch to a less direct support role and eventually exit (fulfilling our goal of creating a district that no longer needs our direct support to maintain Everyone). CRA is also a possible strategic partner to replicate the Everyone Forever approach in new districts within the department of Santa Bárbara.

Water For People-Honduras will also support scaling the Everyone Forever through participation in the Para Todos Por Siempre movement, which in in 2016 will focus effort on increasing coordination with national government sector institutions, the Association of Municipalities of Honduras (AMHON), and local associations of municipalities. Water For People-Honduras will provide technical assistance to member of the PTPS movement, associations of municipalities, and other sector institutions on the use of At What Cost as a tool to promote improving tariff sustainability.

Our numbers are based off the following data:

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