Learning and Impact Assessment of Water and Access Projects on Community Health: La Garrucha, Guatemala
International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering
While many infrastructure projects fail, many succeed. Unfortunately, we may never learn the important lessons to be gained because we fail to evaluate them many years after implementation. This study assesses two engineering projects implemented by the Engineers Without Borders USA, Marquette University Chapter projects: 1) a vehicular bridge that enhances access to health care, education and markets; and 2) a potable water distribution system that provides clean water to 1300 community
... 00 community members. The community's primary goal for the program was to improve the health of its citizens, which they self-identified as "a crisis". The assessment reviewed the pre-implementation and ten-year post implementation data for infant mortality, maternal mortality and school absences due to water borne diseases. The results show dramatic improvements in all three areas with the infant mortality rate per 1000 births being reduced from 38 to 2; the maternal mortality rate per 1000 births being reduced from 15 to 0 and the school absences per month moving from 310 to 2. The "best practices" of the program's implementation and 10-year review are documented to assist other organizations implementing similar programs.