Sitio Pugo is based in the hinterland of the Municipality of Magsaysay in the Ovvidental Mindoro region of the Philippines, and it is home to the Hanunuo-Mangyan tribesmen. The Hanunuo-Mangyan are poor, disadvantaged hunter-gatherers who live in basic wood framed thatched huts and survive on their own traditional methods of cultivating cassava, bananas and corn. Animals and people live side by side.
Water is scarce in Sitio Pugo. There is no piped water supply and sanitation is open defecation. The Hanunuo-Mangyan collect water from a dirty river but in the warmer months, the river dries up completely. Other local sources are unreliable and contaminated.
Just a Drop collaborated with the Feathered Friends Foundation and the Municipality of Magsaysay to install a spring box from a spring high in the hills and a mass storage reservoir, as well as a new pipeline to deliver water 1,600 metres to an elevated water tank. The supply spring was found at the head of a small mountain stream with water literally ‘springing’ from under the rocks. Taps were installed in strategic locations for ease of access for the community.
The community provided input into the design and construction of the new water supply, and the work was carried out by skilled plumbers, masonry workers, carpenters and steel workers under the supervision of foremen and Just a Drop; labour was provided by the tribesmen – so all were fully involved in the project at all stages.
The 35,000 litres that the spring produces each day provides drinking and cooking water for approximately 3,000 people. One of the villagers wrote and thanked Just a Drop:
“Dear Just a Drop, the tribal chief told me that he had been praying for water for 18 years. Just a Drop made it possible. Water is now flowing freely in the village and I’m sure many lives will have been saved because of what you have done. The children are less likely to contract skin diseases and eye infections and will even be able to take a bath. You have made such a difference in the lives of our tribe – when I saw my child taking a bath last night for the first time, I wish you could have seen the joy and happiness that it brought to me.”
Project Sponsor: Food and Travel Magazine / Date of Project: June 2011 / Beneficiaries: 3,000