Mariza Mejia is a mother of four who lives in a rural Trojes community in Honduras. When PWW came to her community with safe water solutions, Mariza was selected by her neighbors to be a Community Agent.
What is a Community Agent? Community Agents are volunteers who live in communities PWW serves. These community members become an extension of the PWW team. Each regularly monitors three to five families in their respective community. Through extensive training in water, sanitation and hygiene practices, as well as filter and maintenance support, Community Agents work together to sustain their communities’ safe water and sanitation programs.
For Mariza, the safe water program is profoundly personal. Mariza and her husband lost their four-year old son to intestinal worms that had taken over the inside of his small body. The primary cause of the worm infestation was unsafe water.
Mariza is committed to doing whatever she can to help put an end to the preventable suffering and deaths caused by contaminated water…not only for her own family, but for all of the families in her community. Her role as a Community Agent is a perfect way for her to take action and create change.
As part of the required training, each Community Agent must assist with the biosand water filter installations in the family homes to which they are assigned. On the day filter installations were to take place among her assigned families, Mariza was anxious to get started.
She awoke at 2:30am to prepare food for her own family, as she would be away all day. Unfortunately, Mariza’s three year old daughter was suffering from Chikungunya, a mosquito born sickness that causes fevers and joint pain, among other symptoms. She knew she couldn’t leave her daughter behind, so Mariza had to make preparations to bring her along.
Carrying a small child and heavy bags of sand was going to be an insurmountable task. Mariza’s husband had not participated in the Community Agent training. However, to support his wife with her new role, he offered to assist with the filter installations for the day.
Working with Margie, PWW’s Health Promoter, Mariza and her husband completed the installation of five lifesaving water filters for her assigned families. Mariza was able to fulfill her training to become an official Community Agent, and her husband was also able to take part in making the safe water program a reality for these families.
It was an empowering day, filled with gratitude and relief for Mariza, her husband, and the families they helped serve. Today, Mariza rests easier, knowing her children and family are protected with the tools and knowledge to safely enjoy their water.