Testing the Waters with Nava

Nava (left) collects water sample

By Mariela Rodriguez – Communications Coordinator

This spring we had the privilege of welcoming back third-time volunteer, Nava Barman. When he first arrived in 2017, Nava shares how our mountainous region was reminiscent of “my family’s hometown in Northeast India,”- which is one of the reasons he has enjoyed returning. Now as a medical student pursuing his Masters in Public Health at Harvard he reached out to Shoulder to Shoulder to do his practicum.When Nava met with our Hens Hatching Hope staff they asked him whether our region’s drinking water could be causing children to continue contracting diahrrea. To prepare answering this broad question, Nava consulted with two field experts. This allowed him to strategize a needs assessment in Santa Lucia and Colomoncagua which included 2 main activities: testing multiple water sources for E.coli and interviewing key members to understand how water is treated and consumed by children under 5 years old.

Nava met with the local ‘juntas de agua‘ – community water committees who volunteer to do anything from keeping the water pipes clean to distributing water. They were happy to hike up the mountain with Nava to collect water samples for testing, amounting to 20 samples, from 8 communities.

After Nava conducted a portable water test, he had to grapple with delivering difficult news. Over 90% of his samples came back positive for E.coli shedding some light on what kind of water our children are drinking at home and at school. While there is no easy solution to many complex public health problems, projects like Nava’s help to create data and bring evidence to pre-existing suspicions that are present in our communities. In this case, what is contributing to our children’s frequent diahrrea bouts.

Thank you to Nava who chose to return to our region to conduct his practicum. We wish him the best as he continues his studies and we hope to see him back in Honduras once more.

To read Nava Barman’s full blog entry on Harvard’s website, click on the link below


Nava Barman's Intibuca Frontera Community Water Schema

Water Filters Bring Smiles (and Improved Health)

Volunteer Lizzie with filter

By Laura Manship – Executive Director

Volunteer Lizzie Distributing Water Filters

Volunteer Lizzie Distributing Water Filters

Thank to donations from the Wisconsin Rapids Rotary Sunrise Club, Shoulder to Shoulder was able to purchase 33 water filters.The water filters were given out to 33 families who participate in our Childhood Nutrition program — a program in which children from 6 months to 5 years of age are given monthly micronutrient supplements.  These supplements, called Chispuditos, help to prevent stunting, malnutrition, anemia, and other health problems.  The addition of water filters will ensure that the children are drinking clean water, and thus reducing the incidence of diarrhea and other stomach ailments which are so deadly to young children.

A special thanks to our intern, Lizzie Morris, for taking responsibility for this distribution.  Thanks, Lizzie!  (Lizzie is the smiling American in the photo above.)

The staff reported that the families were so excited to get the filters, that they waited 2 hours for the filters to arrive!!  (As you may know, the roads are largely unpaved, and we had a bit of difficulty with the transportation.  But, the filters finally arrived!)

A great big THANK YOU to the Wisconsin Rapids Rotary Club and to all who support StS’s Nutrition Program.

Families Proudly Carrying Their Water Filters Home

Families Proudly Carrying Their Water Filters Home

75 Water Filters: Vilma’s Story

Wisconsin Rapids Sunrise Rotary Club

75 Water Filters

Vilma gets up at the crack of dawn to begin her 1.5 hour walk up a rocky hillside in order to help support her family. She leaves her three young children (ages 2, 4, and 6) every day, and does not see them until she returns home at sunset.

Vilma is a domestic worker and her husband is an agricultural worker.  Yet, they are barely able to afford to buy rice and beans on a weekly basis.

Vilma’s three young children frequently suffer from diarrhea due to a lack of access to clean filtered water and that’s why she was thrilled to hear that Shoulder to Shoulder would be donating a water filter to her family. Vilma repeatedly said, “thank you for doing this for my family,” as she headed out the door to start her 1.5 hour walk home.  And, although she was adding a few pounds of weight to her journey back home, she was happy to do it for her kids.

A month later, Vilma shared that her children were no longer getting diarrhea as often and her family loved drinking from the fresh clay filter.

As we share these filters with families we always remind them that we are only able to do so thanks to the generous donations we receive from people such as the folks from the WISCONSIN RADPIDS SUNRISE ROTARY CLUB.  Over the past 2 years, this club has raised enough funds to provide 75 Water Filters to needy families.


Laura Failla Manship

Executive Director