The Results are IN: NICARAGUA – Improving Sanitation in Schools

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Improving Sanitation in Schools


In the municipality of Camoapa in Boaco, northwest Nicaragua.


The project will provide access to sanitation for 125 children and 7 teachers, reducing open defecation and improving health. The community’s capacity is also increased as they build the latrine and work to meet the needs of school children. Children will suffer from fewer diseases resulting in less disease and fewer missed days of school. Education leads to community-wide improvements.

Lack of adequate water and sanitation increases infant mortality and child malnutrition. Globally, contaminated water is the second greatest cause of infant mortality; an estimated 1.8 million children die each year as a result of illnesses linked to consumption of polluted water.

who implements:

The project will be implemented by El Porvenir, a Palms for Life partner who has 25 years of experience helping rural Nicaraguan communities build appropriate technology as well as providing communities with the tools they need to manage their water, sanitation and forestry resource


Short term expected results are:

  • Access to improved sanitation (cleanable surface, non-public, ventilated)
  • Usage of new latrines instead of open defecation
  • Improved health
  • Improved community capacity/self-efficacy around sanitation

Long term expected results include:

  • Sustainable access to sanitation facilities
  • Fewer deaths, disability, and DALYs lost from unsanitary conditions due to open defecation
  • Fewer missed school days leading to community wide economic improvements

why we love it:

In all of El Porvenir’s projects, the community gets involved and provides the sweat equity to get the project built. Men and women from the school’s parent’s committee will be involved in carrying materials, digging, building, providing food to the workers, follow-up maintenance and hygiene training in the school afterwards.

This project stems from a request from the community who recognizes the need for school sanitation and reached out to El Porvenir for support to build the latrine. The latrines are designed and produced in Nicaragua.

If a school does not have a latrine, some children avoid going. Girls in particular find it embarrassing if a school does not have a latrine and are more likely to drop out. The average length of schooling in rural Nicaragua is 3.6 years (Envío, UCA). Under‐education or lack of education is increased by absences and poor performance due to diseases that could be avoided through clean drinking water, improved sanitation, and hygienic practices. CARE estimates that school attendance increases by up to 30% when schools have water and sanitation services.

All EP projects include health education through classroom lessons, hand-wash-a-thons, and environmental education coloring books. Children learn how to use a latrine (keep the seat covered when not in use, what to do with paper waste, adding a drying ingredient, etc) as well as how to properly wash hands. The school teachers are trained in these topics as well so that the material is presented repeatedly.


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Improving Sanitation in Schools


San Juan, Achuapa in the department of León, north-west of Nicaragua


The project will build new latrines in two schools; it will organize communities and train them in building and maintaining the latrines. It will also teach children and the community good hygiene practices

who implements:

The project will be implemented by El Porvenir, a Palms for Life partner who has 14 years of experience working in Nicaragua.


The project will directly impact the health of about 100 schoolchildren and surrounding communities. Children will learn how to wash hands after using the toilet and before eating. Girls will feel more comfortable going to school when there is a latrine. Studies show that overall school attendance in poor countries increases by as much as 30% when there is water and sanitation in school.

why we love it:

Bringing water and sanitation to schools and educating kids about basic hygiene is one of the most effective ways to bring long lasting changes. Kids are the future leaders of the world and as global citizens we can’t bear the thought that millions still defecate in the open.

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