RMP is very excited to announce that we are beginning a new program in the Ixil Region in the highlands of Guatemala! The new program will join our continuing Nepal program and allow RMP to help engineer change in a new part of the world.
For the Guatemala program, RMP will partner with La Asociacion de Comites Comunitarios Medio Ambiental de la Region Ixil (ACCMARI), an NGO started by Diego Ramirez, a mason from the Ixil Region. ACCMARI brings together community leaders from more than 54 villages every 6-weeks to prioritize engineering needs in the Ixil Region of Guatemala. These meetings open communication between communities that allow for collaboration and cooperation and decrease competition for projects. ACCMARI has worked with several other EWB chapters over the past 5 years, with a history of successful project implementation. RMP is connecting with ACCMARI via two alumni of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) EWB Student Chapter, who are now members of RMP.
The Ixil region is populated by indigenous Mayan people in the rural mountainous highlands of Guatemala. They have long been victims of extreme racism and were the target of a campaign of genocide during the Guatemalan civil war, which took place in the late 20th century. Many of the men in the communities are local farmers and/or travel to other parts of the country seasonally for work, while many of the women are weavers.
Most of the communities that are a part of ACCMARI lack the most basic infrastructure, such as clean running water and safe crossings over rivers in the rainy season. This underdevelopment creates monumental burdens on their standard of living and can lead to life threatening situations.
The first EWB-RMP project within the Guatemala program will be selected through coordination with ACCMARI, prioritized based on community need and the potential impact of a highly effective engineering solution. Potential project types include fundamental water source protection, water distribution systems, water purification, latrines, washing stations, schools, and bridges. RMP is excited to partner with such a strong NGO and help bring sustainable engineering solutions to communities in the Ixil Region.