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Water everywhere and not a drop to drink...?


Far from Jocotenango, where great black clouds are threatening a downpour at any moment, experts in global water issues gathered in Stockholm for World Water Week, August 23rd-28th. This year’s theme was Water for Development, with hot topics including water conflict resolution, protecting water supplies from climate change and the use of IT in sustainable water management.

At the School of Hope, we recognise the vital part that clean water plays in our children’s futures. A lack of safe drinking water has a major detrimental effect on nutrition and therefore overall health, with recent studies reporting that 44% of Guatemalan children are chronically malnourished. Diarrhoea and parasitic infections from unsafe water prevent proper absorption of nutrients from food, severely affecting a child’s ability to learn effectively, fight illness and grow strong.

Thanks to extremely generous donations from people such as Chris Bentley and Cop Security, since 2008 we have been able to provide clean, safe drinking water for all our pupils at school and at home through the delivery of 575 complete filters and 200 filter upgrades. To achieve this we use innovative filters produced by Guatemalan company Ecofiltors, widely praised for their contribution to tackling the country’s unsafe water issues.

A lack of safe drinking water has a major detrimental effect on nutrition and therefore overall health

The Ecofiltro is a large clay vessel with an upper chamber into which unclean water is poured and a lower chamber with a tap from which the filtered water is drawn. As water passes through a filter insert made of clay, sawdust and colloidal silver, it is fully cleansed of bacteria, parasites and solids, as well as any bad tastes or smells.

Without pupils also having access to clean water at home, the benefit of filtered water at school would of course be limited. This is why we also invite families to attend workshops in which they learn about Ecofiltros as well as health, nutrition and hygiene prior to receiving their new filters.