Hike for Water
“We are doing these hikes because it’s what many Guatemalans do to collect water. We’re doing them because we want to help others understand what Guatemalans have to do everyday. And still, even after hiking for hours, they end up with dirty water. We offer a sustainable solution to that problem.”
– Sam Snyder, Executive Director of Ecofiltro:one
Ecofiltro:one is a new NGO. Their plan is simple, yet innovative.
In rural Guatemala, where running water is not available, people must collect their water, usually from one of the 90% of Guatemala’s streams and rivers that are contaminated. They hike down to their water source and carry the water back to their homes in jugs atop their heads. They must do this every day, several times a day. And for all their effort, their reward is dirty drinking water – water that will make them and their family sick from parasites and other pathogens. Ecofiltro:one offers a solution to this problem. They offer a simple way to ensure clean drinking water for life. A solution which helps their beneficiaries get started, and then allows them to actively take responsibility for their health – to contribute to the solution. The number “one” is in their name by design. This is their mission: Ecofiltro:one provides the first “one” – the first Ecofiltro water filter. After this, families make small payments for their next replacement filter: Q10 per month – an amount that is within their budget, and an amount that is a lot less than the medicines needed to treat intestinal infections or the wood needed to boil water. It’s a sustainable solution to a desperate problem.
Ecofiltro:one is partnered with the business Ecofiltro, a social business that takes their profits from the sales of water filters to urban families and subsidizes the cost of filters for rural families in need. As Ecofiltro CEO Philip Wilson explains, “[Ecofiltro] has the positives of efficiency and aggressive management, yet with the heart of a foundation with a clear social mission.”
Often asked what the difference is between the business Ecofiltro and the charity Ecofiltro:one, Sam Snyder, the Executive Director of the charity, explains, “The business is a business: they need to make a profit to ensure its sustainability. They are driven like a business, but with a strong social component. The charity, on the other hand, is implementing a program that is solving a problem sustainably; a problem we would be working to solve even without Ecofiltro. Ecofiltro happens to make the best water filter: because it’s culturally acceptable, made from sustainable materials, made locally, and it’s affordable. Every aspect of it makes it a great product and a great partner. This business-charity partnership is a hybrid model; we need both pieces working well to address the water problem.”
In order to raise awareness and to raise funds for the first “one,” Ecofiltro:one has started a new campaign: Hike for Water. And you can take part here in Guatemala or back home by organizing your own hikes. You make a US$35 donation to hike; you find family and friends who will sponsor you like a walk-a-thon; you join a volcano hike here in Guatemala, which you were probably planning on doing anyway; or if you can’t do that, you hike back home. Your “Hike for Water” brings filters to families who have to hike for water every day. It’s simple, and every dollar you contribute and raise goes 100% towards the first filters for rural families here in Guatemala, as all the other costs of running Ecofiltro:one are fully supported by their board and private donors.
You can enjoy the beauty of Guatemala and the beauty of giving back by doing something healthy, while at the same time doing something that will help the health of others. Let’s make Ecofiltro:one’s first Hike for Water up Volcán Acatenango on April 6th a success.
To find out how you can participate and the dates of future hikes, or to sponsor a hiker, go to www.ecofiltro.org/hikeforwater, visit their office in Casa El Jaulón at 4a Calle Oriente #10 (MAP F3), or call 5710-4311.