Posted by Tom Burson on May 10, 2022
The Mechanicsburg Club has been working on a Global Grant for the community of Metalillito, El Salvador since it was approve in September of 2019. All of the part of the grant have been completed and about $18,000 of the funding remains. The club plans to petition The Rotary Foundation for permission to use these funds to build more composting toilets for the growing community which has identified a need for 35 more units. Continue reading below for the full story of the club's work with this community.

The community of Metalillito in El Salvador was urgently needing to solve the problem of maintaining and enhancing their water system. Metalillito is a poor community with about 310 families and over 1,000 people located in a south-west hilly area of El Salvador. The Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg learned of the community while drilling a District Club Grant funded well nearby in 2011. Metalillito was in desperate need of a sanitation solution at that time. They had a well-organized community group (ACAPOME) that was seeking solutions, but they lacked to money and technical expertise to solve their problem. It’s a long story but the club was able to obtain a Global Grant for $123,888 (GG1420733) and construct 203 composting toilets and a 100 m3 water storage tank in 2015. We developed a relationship with the host Rotary Club of San Salvador Noroeste to do the project. Seven Mechanicsburg Club members visited the community and the Noroeste Club in February 2016. They were very pleased with the project and honored by the welcome which they received. 

Current Project
Beginning in late 2017, the community prepared some documents describing their need for a way to have a sustainable water system. They saw the primary problem was the high electricity cost. Their proposed solution was a solar power system. This idea was informally presented to the Rotary Foundation which responded that a comprehensive/sustainable proposal was required. The global grant application was developed and consisted of three major areas: 1) Solar electric panels connected to the ground water pump and the utility’s grid with associated training in maintenance, 2) Office computer and printing equipment with associated training in development and management of a water system, and 3) Hygiene and Sanitation training.
After collecting the required information GG1984786 for $47,218 was submitted and was approved on 9/16/2019. There were several issues with actually getting the funds but they were received in December 2019. Further delays were caused by revised, but lower quotes so the project did not start until March 2020. That is when COVID-19 started and it greatly impacted the project until September 2020. By December 2020, the solar panels had been installed but the utility did not approve their operation until April 2021. In the meantime, the community and the Rotary club celebrated the solar panel installation on 12/6/2020 and the first global grant progress report was submitted on 12/17/2020.
In April 2021 the solar panel maintenance training was completed. The final software installation with utility operation training and community hygiene training was accomplished in January 2022. The project is completed as designed and a progress report was submitted on April 19, 2022.
The project has over $18,000 of unspent funds. We will be asking The Rotary Foundation to use those funds to build more composting toilets. The size of need is being documented and quotes for the work are being sought.