Submitted by: Karl Everett, District 5580 Water and Sanitation Chair

Two Bolivian children washing hands at a water spigot near Cochabamba Bolivia (photo by Karl Everett 2018)

When I see the District 5580 District’s newsletter name “Cross Currents” I think of water. Access to clean, potable water is a major concern throughout the world. Currently District 5580 Rotary clubs are working with Mano a Mano International (MMI), and in Bolivia (MMB) & (MMNM ) on medical clinics and to develop water wells for poor rural communities in Bolivia in need of clean potable drinking water.
Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo (MMNM) developing potable water wells in Bolivia. (photo MMI 2019)
A World Community Service (WCS) Grant has been approved to assist with the construction of water wells for potable drinking water in the community of Laguna Sulti Bolivia. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies Bolivia as critical for health needs and states that Bolivia is one of the poorest Latin American countries, with 62.7% of its population living under the national poverty line.  WHO reported in 2001 that in rural areas only 55% of the people had access to water and only 38% had access to sanitation services. Safe drinking water is a necessity for sustainable development in every country. Sanitation is as important as distribution because untreated water can contain many pathogens that can harm the population.  There needs to be distribution of water for agricultural purposes as well, because of farmers need for water in rural areas for sustainable farming practices.1
Rotary funded Choquechampi water reservoir in the mountains near Cochabamba (photo Karl Everett, 2018)
Currently District 5580 Rotary clubs are working with Mano a Mano International (MMI) in St. Paul, MN, and in Bolivia (MMB) and (MMNM). Our district has worked with Mano a Mano (MMI) on numerous humanitarian projects to help the needy indigenous people in rural areas of Bolivia.  We have helped support the construction of numerous medical clinics, schools, roads and water reservoirs, thanks to Mano a Mano International, and the donations and funding from District 5580 and District 5960 Rotary Clubs and District Grants and Rotary International Grants.  The water reservoirs are used to irrigate the land to help the farmers plant and harvest successful agricultural crops. 
In regard to health and sanitation, in rural Bolivia, medical care is either geographically inaccessible or too expensive for most rural families.  The impact of poverty falls especially hard on Bolivia’s children.  Seventy percent of children under the age of five are malnourished and up to 8% of rural Cochabamba infants die at or within a few days of birth; one-third of rural children die before age one, most from gastrointestinal infections and diarrhea that can be prevented through proper hygiene, and from diseases for which effective vaccines are available.
Bolivia’s maternal death rate during childbirth has been as high as 520 per 100,000 births (compared to 37 in neighboring Chile) is the highest in Latin America, a rate that can be reduced dramatically through appropriate pre and post-natal care and attended deliveries. Mano a Mano Bolivia (MMB) has constructed over 170 medical clinics in Bolivia that have greatly improved the health in these rural areas. 
Dedication of Jatun Mayu Medical Clinic in the Cordillera Real Mountains in Bolivia (photos provided by Karl Everett 2018)
In the upcoming months we are planning to dedicate two new medical clinics that were funded by District 5580 Rotarians and constructed by MMB, one located in Tocopilla in the Bolivian Amazon, and the other located in Sumala, Bolivia, high up in the Cordillera Real Mountains.  Thank you Rotarians for your support and funding and I invite you to come join us for the dedication of these medical clinics.  Come join us on our adventure to Bolivia to witness what Mano a Mano, RI and our District 5580 has accomplished to help out needy Bolivians. 
Thanks. Sincerely,
Karl D. Everett, P.E., P.G.
Harbortown Rotary International Chairman