In partnership with the Municipality of San Pedro, Etta Projects will work alongside 24 families in the village of Montegrande to construct dry ecological composting latrines.
This project primarily tackles the community need of inadequate sanitation. Most families in rural areas in Bolivia have two options when it comes to sanitation: defecate in the open air or use shallow pit latrines. In other words, adults and children must choose between using the public road or fields or a dirty, overflowing latrine, while trying to avoid pests such as snakes, rodents and wasps. This situation is not only unsanitary and unsafe; it provides no privacy or dignity for the residents.
Poor sanitation produces disease such as diarrhea, stomach aches, headaches, skin rashes, cholera, and typhoid. Almost always children and women suffer the worst consequences. In Bolivia, 36% of deaths in children under age five are caused by diarrhea. Some women and girls share that it is difficult to find privacy to do their necessities, and children are often scared to use the family pit latrines due to the rodents and insects. Kids in Montegrande almost always choose to defecate outside. Photos the current sanitation situation in Montegrande can be found on a PowerPoint in the Attachments section.
Studies show that provision of safe water coupled with sanitation facilities can reduce deaths from diarrhea and other water-related illnesses by 65% and overall childhood mortality by 55%. Safe water, hygiene practices and sanitation are three of the primary drivers for improving public health. Last year, in partnership with the local municipality and Water For People, Etta Projects implemented a water project in the village of Montegrande. The results of the water project included: 100% of households having access to safe water, the formation of a local water committee, and a general decrease in water-related illnesses in the village.
Improving water supplies in Montegrande is only half the battle. The greatest reductions in diarrheal incidence are possible when improved improved water quality and hygiene practices are combined with sanitation improvements. This project aims to offer a complete WASH program in Montegrande by supporting the village to construct ecological composting latrines.
The project aims to achieve the following objectives:
1. To partner with the local municipality to construct 24 ecological composting latrines in the village of Montegrande
2. To have consistent use of the ecological bathroom from 100% of the families
3. To improve hygienic habits involving excreta disposal through latrine and bathroom use, hand-washing, food preparation and consumption, and safe water practices
4. To promote leadership skills so that sanitation promoters, community leaders and teachers can motivate, organize and mobilize people in their community to make necessary health and sanitation improvements
5. To reduce water-related illnesses including intestinal parasites, diarrhea, and scabies
LocationMontegrande, Municipality of San Pedro, Bolivia
Primary Focus: Sanitation - Households
Secondary Focus: Hygiene Education
People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 0
100% of families gained access to clean water in 2012 in a water project implemented by Etta Projects, in partnership with the local municipality and Water For People
School Children Getting Water: 0
The village school in Montegrande was connected to the distribution system, offering access to clean water to all students. 105 children live in the village.
People Getting Sanitation: 165
The project will construct dry composting latrines in 24 households in the village of Montegrande.
People Getting Other Benefits: 165
During the first phase of the project, members of the Department of Water & Sanitation from the Municipality of San Pedro will facilitate community workshops intended to raise public awareness about the consequences of poor sanitation as well as to organize and motivate villagers to participate in the project and change their current sanitation situation. Community meetings will be held with villagers to discuss sanitation and health topics such as water related illnesses, the danger of excrement, options to improve sanitation and benefits of the ecological latrine model.
Additionally villagers in Montegrande will elect two individuals to serve as sanitation promoters. The project will train the sanitation promoters with the skills and knowledge to support the participating families to correctly use and maintain their ecological composting latrines. The promoters will participate in a series of seven workshops in the following themes:
• Sanitation Promoter and Household Visits
• Waterborne Illnesses & Prevention
• Basic Sanitation and Hygiene
• Use & Maintenance of Ecological Latrines
• Instruments for M&E
• Treatment of Trash & Solid Waste Materials
• Fertilizer Produced by Eco Latrines
Sanitation Promoters will work directly with members of the municipality, and then replicate what they learn with the participating families in their village. Having promoters work directly with families will enhance project sustainability through local knowledge and will ensure that more people in each family are reached more consistently with personal training sessions between family and promoter. The local municipality will lead the implementation of the education component, and Etta Projects' staff will make monthly visits to monitor progress and impact.
Three additional workshops will be will be held at the village school for local children. Teachers and project staff will demonstrate proper hygiene methods. The workshops will focus on:
• Community Sanitation
• Proper Hand Washing
• Use & Maintenance of Ecological Latrines
Lastly the project will offer workshops intended to teach participants the latrine construction process. The workshops will include themes in: Selecting the Location of Latrine, Forming & Pouring Slab for Lower Foundation, Forming and Pouring Slab for Upper Foundation, Construction of Chambers, Building the Sub-Floor, Building Walls & Roof. By gaining an in-depth understanding of how to correctly build latrines, families are able to actively participate in the construction process.
Application Type: Project Funding
Start Date: 2014-04-01
Completion Date: 2014-09-30
The ecological composting latrine is a simple, low-cost sanitation facility, with proven record of efficacy by past sanitation projects implemented by Etta Projects as well as other institutions in Bolivia such as Water For People and INCADE. The ecological composting latrines are built using locally available materials, and the beneficiaries provide much of the materials and labor.
The ecological composting latrine is built above ground and does not require permanent plumbing or water. The bathroom is built on a double vault system, with one chamber in use at any given time. A toilet seat with two holes allows for separation of urine from fecal matter. Fecal matter enters the disposal chamber where it is contained and decomposes; urine is captured separately. When this chamber is full, the toilet seat is moved to the second chamber and fecal matter in the first chamber begins the composting process. After each use of the latrine, dry material (ash or lime) is added to prevent odor, repel bugs and start decomposition. Toilet paper can be thrown into the latrine and will not disrupt decomposition. The process of alternating its usage and excavating compost must be maintained for the toilet to function properly. This model eliminates risk of fecal matter leaking into ground water.
The components of the eco- latrine include a double-vaulted base, superstructure, steps, and separate urinal and toilet. The base of the latrine consists of two separate sealed vaults with cement doors on the back side. These doors can be opened to remove the compost generated from regular bathroom use. The inside walls of the vault are coated with Sika paste, which is a common waterproof sealant used in Bolivia. Compost builds up in the vault, and is removed by opening the vault doors, which are then be closed and re-sealed with soft cement. A more detailed description with the measurements of all the latrine parts can be found in the attachment section. Also included is a PowerPoint presentation with photos of completed latrines.
Families have an option to build the outer structure from materials they have on hand or make a financial contribution to the project which will be used to purchase bricks for the superstructure. The superstructure encloses the toilets and urinals, and sits above the vault. Once the families have completed the construction of the walls, the families provide their own roof. Entry steps are built from masonry brick covered with cement paste for reinforcement and aesthetic appearance. Families often choose to decorate the exterior of their bathroom structure with colorful paint, decorations and plants.
Some families choose to install a hose buried underground to allow liquid waste to run into the ground at a safe distance. Others collect liquid waste in a bucket and dump it in an appropriate disposal site or leave the urine in the sun for a few days so that it can be used as pesticide for certain vegetation.
The eco-latrine requires modest on-going maintenance for proper operation. Dry material must be added to the vault to facilitate composting. Ash is the most widely used dry material because it is readily obtained from the wood stoves used in Bolivia. Other maintenance responsibilities include: switching the toilet from one vault to the other (usually done every 6 month to a year); stirring waste in the vault to enable proper composting; removing compost and sealing the vault for a new composting cycle. These are simple tasks and the cost is minimal.
Our experience has proven the ecological bathroom to be ideal for Eastern Bolivia. First the hot temperatures in this area allow for faster decomposition of the fecal matter. Second, because the area has shallow ground water and is prone to flooding, typical pit latrines can lead to many problems. The shallow latrines contaminate ground water and they overflow easily spreading contamination. Another benefit of the ecological latrine is that it allows families to use decomposed fecal matter for productive purposes, providing incentive for its adoption in agrarian communities. Our current projects are just reaching a point that families are emptying their vaults and some have chosen to use the compost in flowerbeds and crops. Project leaders continue to collaborate with similar organizations working in sanitation, such as INCADE and Water For People, to develop practical uses for by-products of the eco-bathrooms, such as selling compost fertilizer and growing flowers to sell commercially. We would like to see more people take advantage of the compost; however this is a slow process that takes time to be widely accepted.
There are additional environmental benefits to the ecological latrine. To accommodate the region’s high water table, the design has a sealed, above ground vault that prevents waste from escaping into the environment. This has a positive impact on the community drinking water. Less waste in the water reduces bacteria transmission, which will result in better health for children and adults in the community. Overall, this project has demonstrated that the ecological latrine is an effective and low-cost solution to rural sanitation problems and offers special incentives to people in agrarian communities.
The project will be implemented in 5 phases:
Phase I: Organization
Phase II: Mobilization
Phase III: Training
Phase IV: Construction
Phase V: Evaluation
Please review Appendix V that shows the detailed calendar of each phase.
The rural village of Montegrande is located in the 8th District of the Municipality of San Pedro, approximately 150 kilometers north of San Pedro, the capitol of the Municipality. The community is found in the Integrated North of the Department of Santa Cruz in Eastern Bolivia. Montegrande has a total population of approximately 165 people. Families live along a dirt road that runs through the center of the village. There are a total of 33 families that live at 24 households; most homes are made of wood and have thatched roofs and mud floors.
People from Montegrande come from diverse backgrounds. Although Spanish is the most common dialect spoken in the village, most people also speak either quechua and aymara.
The land surrounding Montegrande is extremely fertile and is characterized by a flat topography. Soy, rice, sugarcane and corn are the most common crops grown in the region. Some people also breed cows, pigs and sheep. The majority of the population works in agriculture.
Community members from Montegrande have proven a willingness to get involved in the project. Local leaders began its relationship with Etta Projects in 2011 by advocating for safe, reliable water. Etta Projects, with support from the Laird Norton Family Foundation and in partnership with the local municipality and Water For People, implemented a water system and helped establish a five-member Water Committee trained in installation, use and maintenance of the water system.
In order to prepare for a WASH program in Montegrande, Etta Projects conducted a needs assessment. During the assessment, we consulted the mayor, OTB President, water cooperative, School Board, and community families. We learned that currently households' current sanitation situation is made of shallow pit latrines that pose a wide variety of health risks.
The demand for the ecological latrine project in the community was raised from the following efforts:
• workshops and home visits with the community to analyze the problems of sanitation
• interviews with community leaders explaining different techniques for disposal
• Families' firsthand knowledge of the benefits of the ecological composting latrine from prior sanitation projects achieved by the municipality in neighboring communities
• After the Municipal Assembly was held in the district to prioritize and validate demand, the Mayor's Office established a budget towards their contribution of the project.
Over the past years, the local municipality has connected with organizations like Etta Projects, Water For People and INCADE to improve education, water, sanitation and health. In 2010 the Municipality of San Pedro was one of the first municipalities in Bolivia to form a Department of Water & Sanitation. Etta Projects will team with the Department of Water & Sanitation to build the latrines and implement the hygiene education program.
The Department of Water & Sanitation has been improving sanitation using the ecological composting latrine model for the past three years. The department has agreed to take an active role in the project by making a significant financial contribution to both the construction of the latrines and the education component and by offering technical support to the project as well as co-facilitating the hygiene promotion component. Municipal representatives will also support the monitoring and evaluation of project results. Etta Projects' office is approximately six hours from the isolated village making frequent visits to Montegrande difficult and costly. The municipality's active participation is necessary for this project to be successful.
By working alongside the Municipality of San Pedro and its Department of Water & Sanitation, people from Montegrande will gain further knowledge in how to develop projects and secure government resources. Local leaders will have the skills to continue to make a meaningful impact for years to come.
The design of the Comprehensive Sanitation Improvement project has built-in sustainability. The construction process and the education program will be self-sustaining at the local level. Although the construction process will be supported by experienced carpenters, families will be part of the building process. The construction crew will guide the families through the construction process. At the end of the project, the families will know how to build an ecological bathroom and how to maintain it.
Each of the participating families will be responsible for the latrine’s operational and financial maintenance. Each household will provide financial resources for maintenance and upkeep of the latrines and the materials required to repair them. Dry material must be added to the vault to facilitate composting. Ash is the most widely used dry material because it is readily obtained from the wood stoves used in Bolivia. Once a month, a family member will be responsible for stirring the waste to enable proper composting. This can be done using a long piece of lumber and inserting it though the hole in the concrete where the toilet is placed. About once per year, the compost will need to be removed from the vault and spread for agricultural purposes or be disposed of elsewhere. Then the families will need to replace and seal the vaults. At this time the toilet will have to be switched to the empty side to begin the cycle over again. None of the above operational duties will require skilled labor, and the costs will be minimal.
This project is partially funded by each family, enhancing their contribution and giving them a larger stake in the sustainability of their latrine. This will encourage them to maintain and repair their latrine as described above.
Both the Municipality and Etta Projects will continue supporting the project after it is implemented by making routine visits to the villages to provide ongoing technical and educational support.
The bricks to be used for the latrine construction are locally manufactured assuring that the material will be available to the participants. Our initial latrine design has a projected life of 20 years, making it economically sustainable in the long run. Most often land is inherited from one family member to another, therefore the ecological bathroom potentially could improve the sanitation issues in these communities for generations to come.
Maintenance Cost: $3
The project has established a system to measure results that includes indicators and monitoring & evaluation tools. Please review the logical framework located on Section 3 of Appendix 4: Eco Latrine Project in Montegrande .
Please see Project Budget
Co Funding Amount: $7,249
The Municipality of San Pedro has agreed to contribute to all areas of this project; including construction materials, hygiene promotion, technical support and transportation. Funding towards this project has been set aside in the district's annual operating plan. Please see Appendix 1 Project Budget for details of the local government's contribution and Appendix 2 for a signed letter confirming their participation.
Community Contribution Amount: $4,011
The community will make both in-kind and financial contributions to the project. Their contribution includes manual work in constructing the latrine, plus the materials for the roof. A list of the participating families can be found in the Attachments section.
Fund Requested: $6,865
Implementing Organization: Department of Water & Sanitation of the Municipality of San Pedro
Etta Projects is partnering with the Department of Water & Sanitation of the Municipality of San Pedro. The municipality has been constructing ecological composting latrines for the past three years in coordination with various nonprofit organizations. During this time, they have developed a sustainable system of monitoring and evaluating the empowerment of the participating families. The department has currently assigned three technicians to support their efforts of total sanitation in this area.