Posted on Dec 16, 2019

EcoEducation: Power of Rotary to Support Action that Creates Change: Global Grant Project Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

Lake Atitlan in Guatemala is considered by some to be the most beautiful lake in the world. It attracts international tourism. It also provides drinking water to the 450,000 people living near the basin.  Sewage from these residents has historically been dumped into the lake. The lack of sanitation created (and continues to create) significant health issues for the lake and the human residents.  This might not seem like something that would inspire song, but Todd Thompson of The Rotary Club of Northfield got our toes tapping while sharing his club's experience working on a project awarded Global Grant funds. 
Todd stressed that part of the imperative of working on a project is to truly understand what the people you are serving actually need and want.  Throughout his presentation we could understand the personal connections he and others from Northfield had made with the Guatemalan citizens, the local Rotary club sponsoring the project and especially the local children.  Todd makes his connections through music and he infused music into his presentation.  Sapo Sapo Sapo!
The project is in its second phase and when everything is complete, the club will have addressed the sanitation issues for one of the towns that Lake Atitlan supports as well as created a gravity fed water delivery system to reduce the amount of water that must be carried by hand. It is a significant project that will help thousands and contribute to the salvaging of the ecology of Lake Atitlan.
It was very interesting to hear about how this project met some of the requirements for Global Grant funding.  For example, to be eligible for a grant, the project must demonstrate sustainability.  For a water project such as this one, maintenance will be a necessary future expense.  The water usage by the Guatemalan citizens benefiting from this project is metered and they pay based on their water usage.  These funds are used for ongoing maintenance.  
What made this meeting even MORE interesting is that Steve Solbrack announced some amazing success with the Rotary EcoClub signature project.  We had set a goal to raise $7000 to supplement the forthcoming grant of District funds.  This goal has been exceeded!  Our current budget for adding solar panels and rainwater catchment to the Pillsbury United Communities Hydroponic Freight Farm to increase its sustainability and reduce its operating costs is now up to $24000.  If you wish to contribute to this project, please email
Watcha Gonna Do?