Chirijuyu, Guatemala

CHIRIJUYU

Background

Chirijuyu and EWB-USA UMN officially partnered in Fall 2019 to address the need for consistent, clean drinking water within the community. Chirijuyu is located on the outskirts of the municipality of Comalapa, near the municipality’s border with neighboring Zaragosa. Culturally, Chirijuyu is different from Comalapa. While the population of Comalapa is largely Kaqchikel, an indigenous Mayan peoples, Chirijuyu is one of the few villages that is not indigenous and does not speak Kaqchikel, only Spanish.  This, in combination with their distance from Comalapa, creates an obstacle for Chirijuyu to get assistance from the municipality.

We are harnessing water from a nearby spring to source a water distribution system that services the 250 community members of Chirijuyu.

Our Work

In May 2019, EWB-USA UMN visited Chirijuyu for the first time. We met with the COCODE (community leaders) and talked about obstacles the community was facing at the time. As a budding community, they have many plans like building a school, obtaining a cemetery, and creating a more efficient sanitation system – but their main priority was drinking water. Currently, their water sources are a stream 2 kilometers away, a public tap stand in Las Lomas, or water from their hand dug wells that are unfortunately drying out.

The EWB-USA UMN Guatemala Program spent the 2019-2020 school year planning assessment. The assessment of the community and the basis of design was done remotely with the help of our NGO partner, Long Way Home, and the EWB-Guatemala In Country Office. EWB-USA UMN designed the water distribution system using the data collected during this assessment.

The 2020-2021 school year was spent remotely designing the system. The water distribution system will utilize a spring recently bought by Chirijuyu. Water will be pumped up from the spring to a distribution tank. The distribution tank will allow for the majority of the houses in the community to receive water through pressure created by gravity. Every household will be able to access the water through a tap stand that is located at their home. 

We are remotely implementing this project in the summer and fall of 2021. The community members of Chirijuyu are constructing the majority of the system with help from contractors and our in-country contacts when professional expertise is needed. Thus far, pipelines have been constructed, tap stands have been installed, and tank sites have been excavated. Each week we have calls with our in-country contacts to discuss construction progress and resolve any issues. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of November 2021.

This project could not have been possible without the generous financial support of local Rotary Clubs, specifically Burnsville Noon Rotary Club, who helped us apply for a district grant to cover the majority of project costs.

NGO Collaboration

Since our chapter first began work in Comalapa 15 years ago, we have collaborated with a local NGO partner – Long Way Home.  LWH is a local non profit that emphasizes sustainability, education, and democracy. As our “boots on the ground,” they assist with translation, cultural knowledge, communication with our partner communities, and sourcing materials. Throughout the stages of our project in Chirijuyu, LWH has developed a strong relationship with community leadership, hosted community calls to help with translation, collected important data, and coordinated materials purchasing.

Where We Are


For more information, contact:
Kristina Hoffman at hoff1363@umn.edu or Ben Kroll at kroll155@umn.edu

Guatemala Project Meetings are held every Thursday from 7-8:30 pm.