Caminos de Agua (formerly CATIS Mexico) (San Miguel de Allende, )


  • Name:Dylan Terrell
  • Title:Executive Director

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Caminos de Agua (formerly CATIS Mexico)
  • Address:Allende #5
    Colonia Insurgentes
    San Miguel de Allende 37712

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:+52-1-415-154-8091

Organization Web

User Address

  • Address:11 S. Green St.
    Unit 1508
    Chicago, IL 60607
    United States

User Web and Email


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  • Mission:
  • CATIS-Mexico works in partnership with economically-limited communities to build solid economies that achieve ecological stewardship, economic development, and social equity. Built on a central research and training institute, CATIS-Mexico can improve the lives of marginalized rural communities by providing training and ongoing technical assistance in support of community driven use and development of sustainable building, agriculture, and other appropriate technologies. CATIS-Mexico provides a continually expanding scope of sustainable development to the region and also provides opportunities for the international community to participate and learn from these experiences.

  • Overview:
  • Worldwide, rural communities - particularly indigenous and peasant communities of the global south - are disintegrating at an alarming pace. Collapsing ecosystems, eroding cultural and social support systems, displacement of local economies, lack of government services and support, and rising violence are forcing historic numbers of rural peoples to abandon their homes and livelihoods for the slums and shantytowns of urban centers. Despite this mass migration, roughly three quarters of the world's poorest families – those earning less than US$2 a day – continue to live in rural areas. This accounts for nearly 3 billion people – 800 million of whom earn less than US$1 a day and survive on farms of usually 1 acre or less.

    Unprecedented disintegration of rural communities and rural to urban migration are both direct results and drivers of poverty, hunger, health crisis, and violence that threaten our world. Furthermore, rural to urban migration has had drastic and dramatic effects on environmental health and, consequently, the sustainability of our planet. Hope for a sustainable and peaceful future depends upon the economic and ecologic health of rural communities.

    To address the challenges facing low-income families and communities, rural and urban alike, CATIS-Mexico, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and the first of potentially numerous Centers for Appropriate Technology and Indigenous Sustainability (CATIS) around the globe, formed around a new development ideal.

    Centered on a research a development institute, CATIS-Mexico is located on 23 acres of land just outside of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. However, unlike similar models, CATIS-Mexico works to create local solutions while simultaneously looking outward – expanding impact, knowledge, research, and development to local, regional, and even international scales. The CATIS-Mexico Institute is simply the core of a wider physical system of satellite organizations, universities, and communities that form a network – offering real, affordable, and appropriate solutions and technologies to economically-limited communities throughout Mexico and the global south, while simultaneously building training and educational opportunities, as well as opening dialogue, to a wider global audience.

    CATIS-Mexico takes an integrated approach to sustainable development, believing long-term solutions are founded in addressing diverse aspects and true causes of a problem, not simply its consequences. This approach looks to communities as integral participants and leaders in the design and construction of all potential work. Further, by leveraging its partners, CATIS-Mexico is in a unique position to incorporate engineering, agriculture, construction, local materials, anthropology, geology, legal, human rights, sociology, and health into collaborative and more holistic solutions.

    Since its inception, CATIS-Mexico has been working in over 60 rural communities throughout northern Guanajuato, Mexico, while also hosting students, universities, organizations, volunteers, and other individuals from the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, rural Guatemala, and throughout most of Mexico. Through these partnerships, projects, and educational opportunities, CATIS-Mexico has helped to create local solutions with a global voice.

  • History:
  • In October 2010, at the Engineers Without Borders international conference, members of Instituto Tierra y Cal, A.C. (a Mexico-based nonprofit organization), Birambye International (a Denver, Colorado-based nonprofit), Engineers Without Borders – Mexico, and other experts in sustainable construction, engineering, and capacity-building, came together, leveraging their respective organizational capacities, and formed a new organization – iCATIS. The majority of iCATIS’ work in those first years was focused in central Mexico, and in 2012, CATIS-Mexico emerged from this collaboration as its own autonomous nonprofit organization.

    Since 2010, CATIS-Mexico and its partners have been designing, developing, and producing appropriate technologies that help solve both local and global problems. These technologies, like the MK 2 brick-kiln and ceramic water filters, utilize local labor and materials, are designed with aggressive affordability in mind, and create solutions to immediate problems in the local region. Given CATIS-Mexico’s both on-ground and international presence, as well as its bilingual local staff, we are also in a unique position to act as a bridge between local communities and international universities, organizations, and professionals.

    CATIS-Mexico has developed projects with, and hosted volunteers from, Northern Illinois University (USA), the University of Tamaulipas (Mexico), Engineers Without Borders (UK), RedR International Relief Workers (UK), DePaul University (USA), Oklahoma University (USA), local and state government agencies, and numerous others. Together with on-ground grassroots organizations and local communities, CATIS-Mexico has helped develop numerous projects with these international partners to create long-term relationships and solutions.

    Education has remained a core focus of CATIS-Mexico’s work. We have hosted and taught numerous workshops since 2010 at the CATIS-Mexico Institute, with focuses on compressed earth-block construction, thin-shell concrete habitats, rainwater harvesting, soil microbiology, and small-scale organic farming. These specialized training opportunities have attracted students from very divers backgrounds, brought together by a commitment to environmental sustainability and improvements in standards of living. Students have come from the US, rural Guatemala, the United Kingdom, Spain, and urban centers and rural communities throughout Mexico, to share their unique cultures and perspectives.

    Next summer, CATIS-Mexico is taking its educational work to the next level with its first international field school. This 17-day summer program is a partnership between Engineers Without Borders-UK and IRRI Mexico. Students will visit, learn from, and work with various organizations in Mexico City, Puebla, and northern Guanajuato State. They will get to visit with local rural communities, see examples of both small-scale and large-scale technology-based projects, and absorb some of Mexico’s rich culture and history. Along with introductions to various technologies, the courses will also put development work into the appropriate social, political, and cultural contexts with new courses like: Water and Indigenous Life, Micro-financing for Small-Scale Eco-technologies, Rural Water Supply and Water Rights, and Cultural Implications of Technology Transfer. Along with these international-based learning opportunities, CATIS-Mexico continues to focus on local community education on a day-to-day basis. We have developed and continued to teach several water-based workshops in local communities.

    More recently, CATIS-Mexico has been focusing its work on integrated solutions to the complex water issues in the region it works: northern Guanajuato, Mexico. On a technical level, we have performed water quality testing in more than 60 rural communities, with partners at Northern Illinois University, and we have distributed more than 60 water filter systems produced on-site. On a legal and political level, we have helped to spearhead a human rights case, which was recently brought in front of an international human rights tribunal. This combination of technical solutions and political thought helps to illustrate our drive to make an immediate impact on local problems while simultaneously looking to affect long-term systemic changes that will one day, we hope, eliminate the root causes of many of this consequential problems in the first place.

  • Year established:2012
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:4
  • Advisory board size:4
  • Staff size:7


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID:80-0859981

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:800859981
  • Organization Name:CATIS MEXICO
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:
  • Organization Address:11 S GREEN ST UNIT 1508
  • Organization City:CHICAGO
  • Organization State:IL
  • Organization Zip:60607-1033
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1, 2
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization, Educational Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:August, 2013
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:December, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:December
  • NTEE Code:Q302
  • Asset Amount:$162,187
  • Asset Code:4 ($100,000 - $499,999)
  • Income Amount:$117,218
  • Income Code:4 ($100,000 - $499,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$117,218
  • Last Updated:2/18/2018 12:04:52 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.