A World Toilet Day Tale
by Tony Sauder
The Global Water Alliance is proud to be supporting Acción Contra el Hambre (ACH) -- Action Against Hunger -- a Spanish NGO, working on WASH improvements in several healthcare facilities in eastern Guatemala. In two of those -- the Centro de Salud de Panajachel, and the Puesto de Salud in Aldea Cipresales, Sololá, ACH had funding for the main improvements, specifically wheel-chair accessible toilet blocks for the two communities, but had fallen short of the funds needed to implement the planned handicapped bathroom facilities at each location. The shortfall was Q20,000, which is about US$2,600 at current exchange rates. While both communities had health posts, their sanitation facilities did not have the "Special Toilets" needed by their patients and community members who use wheel chairs.
The project, which was funded through the Guatemala chapter of Engineers Without Borders with supplemental funds provided by the Global Water Alliance, will construct toilet blocks with larger stalls to better serve community members with disabilities. The larger stalls will also give privacy and adequate space to girls and women for their menstrual hygiene.
GWA's mission includes expanding access to improved sanitation facilities for all people, and increasing global access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, or WASH services, by engaging the resources and expertise of the Philadelphia region and beyond.
J. Anthony Sauder (Tony) is an academic advisor and lecturer at UPenn in the Master of Science in Applied Geosciences program. He is a registered professional engineer and hydrogeologist with over 35 years of experience in water resources, water distribution, hydrogeology, and environmental engineering. He works part-time at Pennoni where he has been employed for over 20 years. His international experience includes 10 years of work on projects involving community water supply and construction in Dominican Republic, Belize, South Sudan, Chad and Honduras. He has continued international work with students and communities with Engineers without Borders (EWB) and the Global Water Alliance in Honduras, Cameroon and Guatemala. These handicap-accessible toilets are a source of great pride.