Providing safe drinking water, hygiene education and sanitation to children and their families living in underserved Trojes, Honduras.
As the second poorest country in Central America, per capita GDP in Honduras is $4,200 USD—ranking 156th in the world—and an estimated 65 percent of the 8.1 million Hondurans live below the poverty line (CIA 2011). In Trojes, only about 1 in 2 individuals have access to clean water and safe sanitation. Trojes is one of Honduras’ poorest regions, accessible only by treacherous, unpaved roads. Known as the “recovered zone” of the district of El Paraíso, this area was once part of the Republic of Nicaragua. The influx of Contra rebels into this area in the 1980s caused many people to flee the region, and it has been left with minimal support from either central or regional governments.
Specifically, PWW seeks to address this lack of clean water, safe sanitation and hygiene knowledge in Trojes that poses a significant health burden to an underserved region. In Trojes, homes are clustered along a few dirt roads or scattered across the landscape and reachable only by footpaths. The mountainous roads are steep and rutted, causing distinct challenges to residents in securing goods or services. Many families have built a rudimentary system of running water, consisting of a rubber hose that delivers water by gravity from a small pond in a spring or a creek at a higher elevation. At the house, the hose usually empties into a barrel or bucket in the yard. Ninety-eight percent of the families do not have a protected water source. Livestock, human waste, other houses and runoff all contribute to the degradation of the water quality in the community. Open defecation is widely practiced.
Access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene practices save lives and have significant implications for the reduction of poverty. Such access affects primary school enrollment by reducing illnesses that cause children to miss school, improves adult labor productivity, increases economic productivity, and reduces environmental hazards related to polluted water (World Bank Group 2008), as PWW project beneficiaries, local schoolteachers, and health workers have all attested. In developing countries, the most affected populations are those living in extreme poverty, especially those located in rural regions such as Trojes.
This project will improve the lives of the 137 people living in the community of Pedregal. This rural community, located in Trojes, Honduras, relies upon the coffee harvest and farming for their income. There is one school where about 80 children attend. This school will receive a complete WASH program as well.
LocationTrojes, Municipality of El Paraiso, Honduras
Primary Focus: Drinking Water - Households
Secondary Focus: Sanitation - Households
People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 137
137 community members
School Children Getting Water: 80
80 children under the age of 17
People Getting Sanitation: 137
137 community members
People Getting Other Benefits: 137
137 community members will receive hygiene education, community workshops and de-worming medication
Start Date: 2013-01-07
Completion Date: 2013-04-30
PWW employs proven, effective and affordable technology to provide a complete WASH package to rural Hondurans. According to the Center for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), biosand filters are proven to remove up to 98.5 percent of bacteria, 99.9 percent of protozoa, 95 percent of turbidity and 90-95 percent of iron. Additionally, this technology is simple for recipients to use and necessitates minimal maintenance inputs. The added benefit of latrine access reduces the environmental contamination of open defecation and is necessary to stop the transmission of pathogens from feces to humans. And coupled with targeted, effective hygiene education, clients have the tools, understanding and information they need to reduce the burden of waterborne disease.
While bio sand filters will be installed in the homes, PWW will be installing Sawyer filters in the school as part of our pilot project that we are conducting in Honduran schools.
We base our efforts moving forward upon the success and results from our monitoring initiative. During follow-up surveys of previous PWW biosand filter projects, many users noted that the water was an improvement over their previous drinking water, and said their health has improved markedly since the project was implemented. In a recent monitoring report conducted by PWW, 87 percent of households surveyed in one community stated that they felt the biosand filter improved the health of their families. Academic literature underscores the impact of water and sanitation initiatives and reports diahhreal morbidity reduction of up to 83 percent (see Waddington et al. 2009).
PWW’s approach focuses on community engagement and participation, and extensive educational initiatives—two facets we believe significantly strengthen the success of our programming. Community members play an active role in the implementation of PWW projects: all community members work with PWW staff on filter installation and latrine construction, ensuring that they have a complete understanding of how each unit works and how to maintain them to their maximum capacity.
In addition, Community Agents are selected in each community to provide support for community members in overseeing correct use and offer troubleshooting advice. The main objective of this training is to build the local capacity of community members and establish institutional knowledge to support total behavior change in the use of the filter, latrine, and hygiene practices. To achieve this, a curriculum is designed that contains facilitator’s notes and tools. After the training, community agents help to support village-level hygiene and sanitation improvement activities.
This project will be conducted in one phase, however, below are the 8 steps PWW follows:
To effectively implement each project, PWW program objectives are carried out in an eight-step process.
1. Community Selection: This step is necessary to further analyze community need. Communities are selected based on records such as diarrhea prevalence and other water-related illnesses.
2. Census and Introductory Meeting: PWW oversees the collection of demographic data of each household in the selected community. Community leaders attend an introductory meeting where PWW health promoters introduce and explain the PWW service package.
3. Selection and Training for Community Agents: A community agent is a local volunteer who resides in the community where the project is being implemented. During the orientation phase, residents choose community agents who are responsible for visiting homes to check how the filters and latrines are functioning and to troubleshoot problems. The visits take place every week during the first month, and agents then inform PWW staff of the results. The next visits are once a month for a minimum of the next 5 months.
4. Delivery and Installation of Biosand Filters: Biosand filters are distributed to the homes and installed by the project staff with the community agent. During installations, every family receives training on the use and maintenance of the filter. In addition, the head of household receives storage bottles for collecting the clean, filtered water. Project staff visits the homes fifteen days after installation to reinforce that the user understands and is following the parameters established in the use and maintenance of the filter.
5. Community-Wide Orientation and Hygiene and Sanitation Training: The objective of hygiene and sanitation training is to engage community members in playing an active role in maintaining the health and safety of their homes. Workshops include topics such as “Hygiene in the Home” and “The Importance of a Latrine” and focus on understandable, actionable steps community members can take to improve their households’ health and hygiene practices.
6. Anti-Parasite Medication: The project staff returns to the community 15 to 30 days after installation completion with a nurse from the local health center for additional educational training. During this time, all members of the community receive de-worming medicine.
7. Latrine Construction: Latrines are constructed in cooperation with homeowners. Each household digs the latrine pit and provides local inputs such as sand and stone. PWW staff teaches homeowners how to maintain and use their latrines most effectively.
8. Follow-up and Monitoring: Project staff returns to the communities after installation to monitor filter efficacy, latrine use and assess the effectiveness of the education training. There is also another meeting with the community agents to discuss any problems that have occurred during this time and find solutions together. Additionally, upon completion of the program, project staff returns to conduct random surveys that measure the impact of the project and to resolve problems. This monitoring is focused on long-term efficacy and program sustainability. The Mobile Training team returns to communities to provide further education and training as deemed necessary by monitoring results.
PWW is committed to working with rather than for communities when delivering quality water and sanitation services. PWW staff work with community leaders to facilitate logistics. Community agents are selected in each community to be on-site contacts for clients, and homeowners are responsible for assisting with filter and latrine construction so that they see how the technology works should filters or latrines need repairs in the future. These practices ensure greater sustainability, and encourage local responsibility and leadership in improving a community’s health. PWW works with the Center for Affordable Water Technology who provides consulting services to promote the best and most effective clean-water practices.
Pure Water also engages the communities to become involved with latrine building and to provide a small contribution for the filter. This provides ownership which is key in working with communities rather than working for them.
To further engage the community, PWW will be working in the local school providing safe water, hygiene education, teacher training and sanitation to the school children and their teachers.
Pure Water works with the local health centers to gather health data and provide updates. The health centers are also involved with the de-worming campaigns.
PWW’s monitoring program is a priority for each completed project. PWW staff returns to communities after installation to monitor filter efficacy, latrine use and maintenance, and assess the effectiveness of the education training. Staff survey participants and collect qualitative and quantitative data to measure impact. A PWW volunteer in Trojes analyzes and synthesizes this data and provides reports to PWW staff in Vermont, Tegucigalpa and Trojes.
To address issues in older projects, PWW facilitates meetings with community agents from each community to discuss any problems that have occurred during this time and find solutions together. This ensures continued community participation and buy-in long after filters are installed and latrines constructed. PWW selects technology for which the majority of replacement parts and materials are available locally. Filter and latrine technology is simple, and repairs are generally straightforward. When a repair is more complicated, community agents are trained to work with homeowners to troubleshoot. With local offices, PWW is available to provide support if necessary and facilitate access to non-local replacement parts.
In addition, a Mobile Training team returns to communities to provide further education and training as deemed necessary by monitoring results. This monitoring is focused on long-term efficacy and program sustainability and is committed to effectively using collected data in order to constantly improve PWW’s program.
PWW will monitor filter maintenance, safe water storage, latrine installation and maintenance and the practicing of proper hygiene habits ( hand washing, etc,). These assessments will take place 4 times over the course of a year and after that our monitoring program will monitor the community.