Sanitation for 33 Children, Reducing Open Defecation and Improving Health
The project will provide access to sanitation for 33 children, 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.
Typical student life: Most village children get up early to help bring water to the home, do chores, and eat breakfast before going to school. One student at the José Martí School is Jairo José Dávila Rodríguez, 9 years old. He gets up at 5 AM to walk 1.5 KM to bring water for the household; his mother can’t go as she needs to care for Jairo’s three younger brothers and sisters. After bringing water home, he accompanies his father to work, helping him milk cows at a farm. He then goes to school. Jairo’s teacher says he is a very happy, friendly boy who applies himself in school and helps his classmates.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Approximately 80% of the rural population lives in poverty, surviving on less than $2 a day. 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.
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.
Expected Results (short and long term)
Short – change in attitude• 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
Medium – change in behavior• Fewer diseases related to the fecal-oral route of disease (Giardia, Hepatitis A and E, Rotavirus, Shiggelosis, Typhoid Fever, Cholera, Polio, Cryptosporidiosis, and Enteroviruses) • Increased use of latrines
Long – change in condition• 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
The environmental impact of the latrines is immediate in curtailing the practice of open defecation in the area. The health benefits are also impactful, see the table above. This reduces disease and environmental contamination. El Porvenir also encourages schools to get involved in our reforestation and watershed protection program to protect their water sources. Our Health and Environmental Education program will also encourage students to think about these issues in their school and homes.
During the construction of the latrines, members of the community water and sanitation committee (CAPS) will receive training on the maintenance and the repair of the project. Since the systems are built with low cost locally available materials and the community builds it themselves, they can be maintained cheaply and fairly easily by the committee and families.
Construction progress and completion is supervised and reported on by local field staff, with photographs that document community involvement. The Field Supervisor in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua monitors and tracks project progress and expenditures. Upon completion of the project, the school committee, facilitated by EP staff, evaluates its work and the project results. One year later, school utilization of, satisfaction with, and maintenance of the facilities are assessed by the regional staff. Community health impact is monitored continually by the EP health educator who visits to see how well the teachers and children have learned hygiene techniques. Long-term functioning of all projects is evaluated by EP periodically.
El Porvenir (EP) measures improved health through data collected at local health posts, changes in behavior collected through surveys and observation, and anecdotally like the story here:
Nubia Auxiliadora Fargas, a mother of two students, says she sees her children washing their hands after they have finished playing or using the restroom, and before eating. She thinks the lives of the students have improved since her children’s school worked with El Porvenir. She says, “Better hygiene means children no longer have stomach illnesses or parasites. El Porvenir not only helped provide our community with a beautiful place where the students may study, but also implemented the educational framework of building good habits. It makes me happy that children no longer have to go to the doctor and parents don’t have to spend money on expensive medicine. Although life is economically difficult for a single mother of two, I am working hard for my children. Seeing them healthy and excited to go to school motivates me.”
Surveys of randomly selected (by both year and type) projects are carried out using Android cell phones and Google Earth software to record questionnaire answers from project beneficiaries and project data. In July-August 2013, a volunteer visited 36 communities with projects up to 12 years old and found the following (full survey available at http://elporvenir.org/page/project-evaluations):
- EP’s partner communities reported higher levels of satisfaction with their improved water source than did beneficiaries of other projects.
- Seasonal shortages of water were reported less frequently in EP wells than in other water projects, but seasonal shortages were still the most frequently cited problem.
- A majority of respondents answered correctly to questions about the importance of hand washing and proper cleaning of latrines.
- 97% of respondents maintained their drinking water in a special covered container (important to avoid contamination).
- EP water and sanitation projects had very high levels of beneficiary satisfaction and low numbers of reported problems.