Empowered Community

Congratulations El Cantón!

1204

Brigade Volunteers

3818

Medical Patient Consultations

306

Dental Patient Consultations

520

People with Access to Clean Water

559

Loans Disbursed

80

Eco-Stoves Constructed

81

Latrines Constructed

44

Trained Community Leaders

El Cantón

  • Overview
  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Engineering
  • Water
  • Business
  • Public Health

Overview

El Cantón is a community with a population of approximately 500 people living in 91 homes. It is located in a valley belonging to the municipality of Teupasenti in the department of El Paraíso. El Cantón is an agricultural community relying on the production of corn and beans for subsistence. The average family earns about 1,750 Lempiras (US $90) per month, or an average of less than US $1 per person per day. Despite their arduous work schedules on the fields, community members have been extremely invested in Global Brigades’ projects. All homes have access to clean water, public health projects, credit via the community bank, and will soon be able to seek medical attention in the new Health Center being completed by the Architecture Program.

Municipality: Teupacenti

Department: El Paraíso

Homes : 100
Population : 500
Water System : Yes
Community Bank : Yes
Electricity : Yes - Solar Power
Health Center : In Community
Community Health Workers : Yes
% of Homes with Latrines : 100
Eduaction : Up to 6th grade
Distance from Lodging Facility : 2 hour 30 min

Medical

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

HEALTH CARE ACCESS:

El Cantón is a community located in the mountains near the municipality of Teupasenti in El Paraíso. With the help of Architecture Brigades, El Cantón now has a CESAR health center located in the center of the community. CESAR’s typically are staffed by nurses and not have doctors on staff; however, El Cantón currently has a doctor completing her social service staffing the health center. The health center is open from about 7am to 3pm. When there is only a nurse available and a community member needs to see a doctor or dentist, they must travel the CESAMO in Teupasenti. A CESAMO is a larger scale health center where at least one doctor, nurses, and occasionally dentists are on staff. The trip can take up to 3 hours on foot. Although there is a bus that comes to the community, it does not come very often and costs money that many community members do not have.

213

Brigade Volunteers

3818

Patient Consultations

353

Pap Smears Performed

72

Health Education Workshops

BRIGADE INFORMATION:

Medical and Dental Brigades use the El Cantón health center as their brigade site. The health center was designed with brigade structure in mind and, therefore, is very conducive to running mobile clinics. It is a 2-story building with 6 rooms and a large open meeting area. Doctors spend an average of 10 minutes with each patient and we are able to provide 4-5 educational charlas a day. Each brigade sees an average of 226 patients per day.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 226
  • NEARBY COMMUNITIES: CEIBITA, EL JUTE, CHILITO, MATASANOS, LAS UBITAS, EL JUNCO, LAS UVAS, BUENAS NOCHES, CARRIZAL
  • BRIGADE SITE: HEALTH CENTER

MEDICAL BRIGADES IN EL CANTÓN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
DePaul University December 2011 25 Wayne State University May 2012 27
Central Michigan March 2016 37 University of Virginia January 2014 30
University of Pittsburgh May 2014 38 Mx Master and London & Ontario May 2015 36
Kuztown May 2016 27

Dental

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

DENTAL CARE ACCESS

Working closely with the medical program, the dental program provides fillings, extractions, and fluoride treatments as a standard part of medical brigades. Most community members do not have regular access to dental care due to the lack of a dentist within a reasonable distance.

306

Patient Consultations

504

Fluoride Treatments

159

Fillings Performed

32

Dental Education Workshops

BRIGADE INFORMATION:

Medical and Dental Brigades use the El Cantón health center as their brigade site. The health center was designed with brigade structure in mind and, therefore, is very conducive to running mobile clinics. It is a 2-story building with 6 rooms and a large open meeting area. Doctors spend an average of 10 minutes with each patient and we are able to provide 4-5 educational charlas a day. Each brigade sees an average of 226 patients per day.

  • AVERAGE PATIENTS ATTENDED: 226
  • NEARBY COMMUNITIES:  CEIBITA, EL JUTE, CHILITO, MATASANOS, LAS UBITAS, EL JUNCO, LAS UVAS, BUENAS NOCHES, CARRIZAL
  • BRIGADE SITE: HEALTH CENTER

DENTAL BRIGADES IN EL CANTÓN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
DePaul University December 2011 25 Wayne State University May 2012 27
Central Michigan March 2016 37 University of Virginia January 2014 30
University of Pittsburgh May 2014 38 Mx Master and London & Ontario May 2015 36
Kuztown May 2016 27

Engineering

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

EL CANTÓN’S ENGINEERING CHALLENGE:

Twenty years ago, the municipal government built a gravity-based water system connecting the communities of El Cantón, El Jute, and Veracruz Matazano to the same water source. The system did not function properly in the community of El Cantón, however, as the storage tank was constructed at a very low altitude. Thus, there was not enough pressure to bring water to all homes in all communities. In an attempt to remedy the problem, the storage tank was abandoned and water was distributed directly from the distribution pipeline. Unfortunately, the new system required the community to stop centrally-treating the water, leading to increased incidence of water-borne disease. The three communities were hoping to be connected to a new system centralized in El Cantón.

NA

Brigade Volunteers

340

Beneficiaries

9

Kilometers of Pipeline Designed

NA

Average Community Volunteers

EL CANTÓN’S ENGINEERING SOLUTION:

Water Brigaders from four different universities worked in El Cantón, El Jute, and Veracruz Matasanos between March 2011 and February 2012. During that time, those volunteers worked with community members to:

  • Install a control valve at the dam and build a wall to divert stream water away from it
  • Repair and paint at 11,000-gallon chlorination tank
  • Construct a new distribution chamber to divide the water between the three communities.
  • Dig approximately 14,238 meters of trench
  • Install 14,238 meters of PVC piping and 654 meters of iron piping
  • Connect 87 houses, 2 schools, and 3 churches to the water system

El Cantón shares a water source, dam, and a part of the water system’s conduction line with the communities of El Jute and Veracruz Matasanos. During the El Cantón project, improvements were also made to the portions of the water system that serve these two neighboring communities. Water brigades worked with all three communities to install 1.5 kilometers of new, larger diameter piping in the conduction line, and install cleaning, air, and control valves in the pipeline. In addition, a pressure break tank and aerial stream crossing in the pipeline were repaired and a new distribution chamber was constructed to properly distribute an appropriate amount of water to each of the three communities. Water Councils and Basic Sanitation Committees were trained in El Cantón & El Jute.

Water

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

EL CANTON’S WATER CHALLENGE:

Twenty years ago, the municipal government built a gravity-based water system connecting the communities of El Cantón, El Jute, and Veracruz Matazano to the same water source. The system did not function properly in the community of El Cantón, however, as the storage tank was constructed at a very low altitude. Thus, there was not enough pressure to bring water to all homes in all communities. In an attempt to remedy the problem, the storage tank was abandoned and water was distributed directly from the distribution pipeline. Unfortunately, the new system required the community to stop centrally-treating the water, leading to increased incidence of water-borne disease. The three communities were hoping to be connected to a new system centralized in El Cantón.

49

Brigade Volunteers

340

Project Beneficiaries

9

Kilometers of Pipeline Installed

5,000

Storage Tank Volume (gallons)

EL CANTON’S WATER SOLUTION:

Water Brigaders from four different universities worked in El Cantón, El Jute, and Veracruz Matasanos between March 2011 and February 2012. During that time, those volunteers worked with community members to:

  • Install a control valve at the dam and build a wall to divert stream water away from it
  • Repair and paint at 11,000-gallon chlorination tank
  • Construct a new distribution chamber to divide the water between the three communities.
  • Dig approximately 14,238 meters of trench
  • Install 14,238 meters of PVC piping and 654 meters of iron piping
  • Connect 87 houses, 2 schools, and 3 churches to the water system

El Cantón shares a water source, dam, and a part of the water system’s conduction line with the communities of El Jute and Veracruz Matasanos. During the El Cantón project, improvements were also made to the portions of the water system that serve these two neighboring communities. Water brigades worked with all three communities to install 1.5 kilometers of new, larger diameter piping in the conduction line, and install cleaning, air, and control valves in the pipeline. In addition, a pressure break tank and aerial stream crossing in the pipeline were repaired and a new distribution chamber was constructed to properly distribute an appropriate amount of water to each of the three communities. Water Councils and Basic Sanitation Committees were trained in El Cantón & El Jute.

WATER BRIGADES IN EL CANTÓN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Oakland U December 2011 35 Stony Brook University January 2012 23
University of Southern California January 2012  23 University of Southern California January 2012  12
University of Virginia  January 2012  16  University of Rochester  January 2012  17
Boston University  January 2012  12  Saint Louis University January 2012  13
Columbia University  January 2012  6  University of Connecticut  January 2012  41
Washington University at St. Louis January 2012  35 Johns Hopkins University January 2012 11
St. Olaf University February 2012  22 University of Victoria February 2012  15
Mount Allison University  February 2012  18 Brandeis University  February 2012 21

Business

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

EL CANTÓN’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

The average income in El Cantón is 3,000 Lempiras per month, or approximately US $132. Most community members work in agriculture growing corn and beans on their own land. Unlike the neighboring community of El Jute, El Cantón community members do not grow coffee on their own land but do have the opportunity to work as employees for coffee land owners. The food grown in this community is primarily grown for subsistence but the crops are sold if there is surplus. Prior to the creation of the community bank, community members could not access formal financial institutions. Loans were inaccessible due to distance and cost. The request for loans would generally not be approved because community members do not have a fixed income or substantial consumer goods to offer as collateral. The income earned in El Cantón is seasonal and dependent on the strength of the harvest. Inability to access loans made it difficult for community members to start businesses, pay for medication, invest in increased agricultural production, and afford school supplies.

122

Brigade Volunteers

559

Loans Disbursed

49

Savings Accounts Opened

$25,330

Capital Investment

EL CANTÓN’S MICROFINANCE SOLUTION

Today, El Cantón has access to a thriving community bank, Nueva Esperanza, that provides emergency, agriculture, business, and education loans. The leadership is composed of a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, credit committee, social fund committee and auditing committee. One of the cornerstones of future community projects’ success is the sustainable nature of a community bank. Investments are approved through loans, interest is then paid back on both large and small loans, and 100% of that capital stays in the community. The process allows for investment in additional community projects and lends to the economic development of El Cantón.

EL CANTÓN’S BUSINESS SOLUTION

A bakery created by six women is now one of the most prosperous businesses in El Cantón. Currently the microenterprise works with two ovens where they bake sweet bread, banana bread, vanilla bread, cookies, pizzas, and pineapple pies. During the coffee harvest they produce over 1,000 pastries daily. With the help of GB volunteers, the bakery has been able to expand their delivery system. Today, they deliver bread to 9 surrounding community by motorcycle. Additionally, volunteers have assisted in developing a business plan, sharing best practices, creating more streamlined and effective processes, and marketing/branding for the bakery. The El Cantón Bakery has provided job opportunities for bakers (beginners welcomed), drivers, administrators, and sellers. The bakery buys goods such as pineapples and eggs from community members. The women, in some cases, have been the primary providers for their families when the harvest failed. Recognizing the bakery’s success and the impact that it has had on the lives of its owners, many other community members strive to open new businesses and microenterprises.

BUSINESS BRIGADES IN EL CANTÓN:

Chapter Date # Of Volunteers Chapter Date # Of Volunteers
Mount Allison University February 2012 12 Yale University March 2012 10
University of Southern California March 2012 17 Rutgers University May 2012 37
Wake Forest December 2012 3 UC Berkeley December 2012 11
Duke University December 2012 4 University of Southern California January 2013 19
Mount Allison University February 2013 12 Indiana University March 2013 16
University of Southern California March 2013 University of Illinois Urbana Champaign May 2013 50
Pittsburgh University May 2013 55 St Louis University January 2014 27
College of Charlestone March 2014 29 Target Professionals February 2015 6
John Hopkins May 2015  UCLA March 2014  19
Calgary Summer 2014  20 Michigan State Summer 2014 6
Illinois Wesleyan December 2015 21 Columbia University and University of Miami January 2016 16
University of Southern California January 2016 14 Vanderbilt March 2016 11

Public Health

Program Status

  • Planning
  • Active
  • Complete

EL CANTÓN’S PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGE

Many community members in El Cantón lacked the resources needed to improve their homes and prevent diseases caused by unsafe living environments. The majority of homes were made of adobe, mud, and straw. Very few homes had hygiene stations, cement floors, and eco-stoves prior to the arrival of Global Brigades. Such living conditions triggered disease. The lack of hygiene stations led to high rates of diarrhea and waterborne disease, the absence of cement floors caused parasitic infection and Chagas Disease, and the lack of eco-stoves resulted in respiratory problems in many community members. Not only would the creation of health infrastructure better the health of household members through improved sanitation and hygiene, but it would also improve their quality of life as the new water storage units would reduce time spent walking to water sources and the eco-stove reduces firewood consumption by about 70%.

820

Brigade Volunteers

80

Eco-Stoves Constructed

81

Latrines Constructed

215

Floors Laid

EL CANTÓN’S PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTION

Public Health Brigaders from several different universities and the Public Health Brigades in-country team worked in El Cantón from December 2011 – August 2012.  During this time, volunteers and staff members worked with community members to:

  • Identify community leaders and train them to form the Basic Sanitation Committee
  • Increase cultural sensitivity and awareness by working side by side with qualified masons and project beneficiaries
  • Build 95 eco-stoves, 96 latrines, 95 showers, 95 water storage units, and 233 cement floors
  • Conduct educational workshops emphasizing the importance of sanitation and hygiene in the local primary school

To ensure the sustainability of the in-home infrastructure projects, the Public Health Program provides continuous follow-up in the community.  It also works with the Basic Sanitation Committee, a community body formed by local leaders which monitors the correct usage and maintenance of the new infrastructure.  Clear responsibilities and powers are assigned to each member, making the beneficiaries themselves even stronger stakeholders in the Public Health projects.

PUBLIC HEALTH BRIGADES IN EL CANTÓN:

Chapter Date # Of Voluntee Chapter Date # Of Volunteers

Ohio State University

December 2011 10 DePaul University December 2011 19
University of Southern California  January 2012  18 San Francisco State University January 2012  8
Pennsylvania State University January 2012  10 Boston University January 2012 22
Washington University in St. Louis January 2012  14 Saint Louis University January 2012 15
University of Victoria February 2012 15 Mount Allison University February 2012 17
University of North Carolina March 2012 16 University of Pennsylvania March 2012 22
University of Arizona March 2012 9 Indiana University March 2012 23
Carnegie Mellon University March 2012 27 The Commonwealth Medical College March 2012 9
Seattle University March 2012 17 UC Irvine March 2012 26
UC San Diego March 2012 26 CSU Bakersfield March 2012 32
UC San Francisco March 2012 7 AthletiCo March 2012 8
 University of Southern California and Boston University  May 2012  22 Emory University May 2012 11
Arizona State University May 2012 15 University of Tampa 19
Stony Brook University May 2012 27 Cornell University May 2012 8
Illinois Wesleyan University May 2012  8 Arizona State University May 2012 15
Family Fathers May 2012 5 University of Michigan June 2012 25
UC Berkeley June 2012 10 DePaul University June 2012 15
 University of Washington June 2012 19 UCLA June 2012 10
 UCSB June 2012 19 UC Davis June 2012 27
 UC Riverside June 2012  3 Philadelphia Students  June 2012 10
Marshall June 2012  13 Nottingham June 2012  11
 Birmingham  June 2012 13 Dublin June 2012 5
San Bernardino  June 2012 8 Internship  July 2012 5
University of Cincinnati August 2012 12 UT Austin  August 2012 20
Loyola June 2012 19 Texas A&M August 2012 27
MTSU – CUNY August 2012 19 Elon University August 2012 29

Local Reference Points

View the map to see the closest volunteer lodging facilities, hospitals, and other relevant points of reference.

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