•Bill Jackson (back row fourth from left) with the Puerto Cortes Rotary club and the Rotaract Club they sponsor.
Minneapolis City of Lakes Rotarians have significantly helped improve the literacy, health, and well-being of more than 15,000 people in Honduras through sustainable access to safe water and sanitation. Our projects leveraged expertise and donor funding to accomplish two of the largest and most professional Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in Central America.
Of the nearly 9.6 million people living in Honduras, 1.5 million lack access to clean accessible water—1.2 million are from rural areas. Rural families lacking access to safe water consume water from streams or open wells—the same places where people bathe, wash clothes, and animals defecate—leading to disease. Honduras is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
As the world’s largest service organization, Rotary has unprecedented reach around the world to people committed to serving their communities. Our club collaborated with the local Honduras Rotary Clubs and community members, raised funds from other US Rotary Clubs, and was awarded Global Grants by The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
Including grants from government and other organizations, the projects totaled more than $1 million.
Led by Rotarians Sheila Gothmann and Jim Nelson, City of Lakes Rotary sponsored a project in Western Honduras (Copan Department) in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa de Copan, completed in 2022, which accomplished the following:
  • Installed hundreds of water taps from gravity-fed and pumped water systems, including repair and improvement of the water source infrastructure, pipeline, storage tanks, and distribution networks with residential connections.
  • Constructed water storage tanks in nineteen schools.
    • Developed a safe water supply in two health facilities.
  • Trained hundreds of families on technologies to treat water at home and safely handle water, and on hygiene behavior change.
    • Built or improved sanitation systems to benefit hundreds of families.
    • Built or improved sanitation blocks in two schools.
  • Constructed hand washing facilities at 12 health care facilities and sanitation facilities in three health care facilities.
    • Built hand washing facilities at two schools.
    • Brought improved drinking water to more than 10,000 individuals in their homes.
    • Provided access for hundreds of individuals to improved sanitation facilities.
  • For more information, listen to Jim Nelson’s Interview on the Searching for Service podcast https://www.am950radio.com/events/searching-for-service/
City of Lakes Rotarian Bill Jackson led fundraising, design, and project management for Milla Tres in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Puerto Cortes that became operational in 2023:
  • Installed water distribution piping buried two feet in the ground and laid over four miles into 175 homes, with every home in Milla Tres having a good supply of water with excellent pressure.
  • Built water filtration and chlorination systems for the two water sources, an Upper and Lower Dam, and therefore each required a sedimentation tank, rapid sand filter tank and chlorinator.
  • Startup of rapid sand filters and chlorinators is anticipated in late 2023.
As a key element of the sustainability of both projects, community members were actively engaged in the planning and physical labor involved in the projects and were trained in water board governance and project maintenance.
In these communities, no longer will a family have to walk to a dirty water source every day- knowing it will make them sick. We are changing lives in Honduras.
And we are not stopping here. We are collaborating and planning service trips on our next large-scale WASH project in Western Honduras, led by the Rotary Club of Sacramento. Jim Nelson raised funds from Minnesota clubs and received District Designated Funding, contributing $89,000 to the overall $800,000 project. The return on investment is immeasurable, as every life is precious beyond value.
Rotarians Lloyd Campbell, Jim Nelson, and Tim Murphy seeing the results of the completed project in Santa Rosa de Copan.Backwash tanks delivered 300 feet above sea level.
Villager washing hands with clean water.Rotarians meeting with the next village still in desperate need of clean water.
Concrete structure and valve boxes constructed for the project.