Easton-Based Nonprofit 5 Year Anniversary
Nov 14, 2011 09:50PM
● By Anonymous
According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water and 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation. Since 2006, Aguayuda, an Easton-based nonprofit organization with an international reach, has been tackling the global water crisis one community at a time.
The name Aguayuda is derived from the Spanish words “agua” meaning water and “ayuda” meaning help. Its mission is to improve life and health in poor rural communities through clean water and education. Inadequate water resources result in waterborne illnesses, lost time spent transporting water, and premature death. To date, Aguayuda has implemented 11 projects that are providing clean water to 3,900 people in Colombia and Costa Rica.
Aguayuda was founded in 2006 by the Zimmer family, including Art and Linda Zimmer, and Simón Zimmer and Sabrina Zimmermann. Aguayuda’s focus is on water and education due to Art’s 35-year experience in water filtration and evaporation technologies. Simón, a previous Peace Corps volunteer and Sabrina lived and worked in Honduras and experienced firsthand the importance of clean water as it relates to health and quality of life.
Simón comments, “We start with an on-site visit to assess the local needs and current water situation. Then, with the help of the community and local sub-contractors, we install the most appropriate, cost-effective, easy-to-maintain, and sustainable water solution available.“
According to the Blue Planet Run Foundation, more than 50% of all water projects fail, less than 5% are revisited after the ribbon cutting, and less than 1% receive any long-term monitoring. To date, Aguayuda’s projects have shown 100% sustainability due to revisiting the completed projects in person once a year, initiating telephone contacts once a month, and working with regional representatives to troubleshoot problems as they occur so that small problems do not turn into large issues.
According to Sabrina, “The key aspect to maintaining sustainability is to accompany water solutions with a strong educational component. This includes training a local water committee how to operate and maintain the water solution, as well as providing educational workshops that focus on essential topics that help improve the quality of life of people in the community.”
Aguayuda’s approach includes the establishment of an education committee consisting of community members and teachers. Educational manuals, developed by Aguayuda, are shared with the education committee, which is responsible for sharing the information with the community. Primary educational workshops focus on water education and waste management.
Simón states, “Thanks to the hard work and continued generous support from a diverse group of people and organizations worldwide, Aguayuda continues to improve the health and lives of impoverished people through clean water and education.”
Aguayuda does everything from finding the projects, raising the funds, implementing the projects, and monitoring the results. To learn more about Aguayuda and how to get involved in meeting the challenge of the worldwide water crisis, please visit www.aguayuda.org.
Aguayuda will host a five-year anniversary presentation on Thursday, December 1, 2011, from 5:00 to 6:30 pm at the Historical Society Auditorium in Easton. Cofounders Simón and Sabrina will give a presentation about Aguayuda. The event is free to the public and refreshments will be served. Reservations are encouraged by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 410-463-1455.
Contact: Simón Zimmer at 410-463-1455