plan 565Electric pumping system and double pit latrines in Los Caraos, Achuapa

Summary

This electric pumping system will actually serve 3 communities that have limited access to water: La Perla, Cacao and Los Caraos. Although many homes already have latrines, 35 homes, one church and one community center require sustainable sanitation.

Background

Las Caraos, La Perla and El Cacao are rural communities about 2-6 km from the town of Achuapa. These communities are located on a flat plain area in a dry tropical region.


The people of these three communities work mainly as subsistence farmers and/or in domestic labors in town, working for others. There is a small percentage of craftspeople/professionals, such as shoemakers or teachers. About 30% of the households are headed by women. The estimated monthly income per family is $80US.

Most families do have sanitation facilities, in fact La Perla was previously assisted by El Porvenir some 2-3 years ago. Other initiatives have also helped in this regard, leaving just 37 latrines lacking.

Water is abundant in these communities, unfortunately, the water quality, is not adequate, for the most part. The water is proposed to be pumped from a borehole near the school. The water has been tested and is potable. The well also has a production capacity of 55 gallons per minute and is sufficient for drinking water needs in these communities.

These communities are motivated to improve their situation and approached El Porvenir for support to build latrines and the water system. They are willing to contribute the labor to dig the holes, line the holes, and build the exterior structures. They will also dig ditches, lay pipe and build the distribution tank. They have also committed to contribute monetarily towards the project cost at least 10% of the materials cost, in kind or cash.

Location

Los Caraos, Cacao, La Perla, León, Nicaragua

Attachments

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Focus

Primary Focus: Drinking Water - Households
Secondary Focus: Sanitation - Community

People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 684

159 families
344 women

Data from municipality census.

School Children Getting Water: 0

This is not a school project per se, although the schools in the area will get a spigot in this initial stage. Data not currently available for the school populations of each.

People Getting Sanitation: 142

38 families
35 homes
1 church
1 community center

Data from Municipal government, confirmed by El Porvenir staff with community leaders.

The remaining population has existing sanitation in adequate conditions.

People Getting Other Benefits: 684

Hygiene and sanitary education workshops will be carried out to ensure improved health in the community as well as proper use and maintenance of latrines and water. Through the construction of the project, masonry and plumbing skills are acquired that will help with the long term maintenance. Special emphasis will be given to the rotation of the pits: emptying them safely, moving the superstructure and continual use of drying material in the pits. Continuing hygiene education related to the water project will take place as well.

Application Type: Project Funding

Start Date: 2013-11-30

Completion Date: 2014-09-30

Technology Used:

El Porvenir has over 20 years of experience helping rural Nicaraguan communities build appropriate technology (wells, water systems, latrines, community washing stations, and fuel efficient stoves) as well as providing communities with the tools they need to manage their water, sanitation and forestry resources. The methodology of El Porvenir is based on three key principles:
(a) community empowerment through active participation and ownership in all aspects of the project,
(b) creation of sustainable organizations in the community to manage resources in the long term, and
(c) focus on appropriate technology made from low-cost locally available materials that can be maintained by the community.

El Porvenir projects are demand driven, i.e. the local office of all Nicaraguan staff responds to requests from the community. Once staff verifies the need and feasability of the project. Funds are sought. The municipal authorities and the local community also contributes towards project materials usually by purchasing or collecting local materials. When the remaining funds are available, the construction phase can begin. The community learns how to build and maintain water and sanitation infrastructure themselves.

-Construction materiales are purchased and transported to the community by truck and animals

-El Porvenir provides training and technical assistance to the community in construction, maintenance and repair of latrines

-The community builds latrines (hand dig two pits per latrine to depth of 6 feet/2 meters, line with rocks, bricks or stones, install precast concrete slab and box seat, create walls and roof from zinc panels, install ventilation tube). These latrines are part of a pilot double-pit VIP latrine program (the standard for Nicaragua at this time are single pit VIP latrines which are of questionable value in terms of sustainability once the pit fills). The superstructure shells are made of zinc and metal, so as to be easily reused (and moved) when the first pit fills. In a similar way, both pits can be reused as one fills. In pilots, we have found the cost to be approximately 20% more than the single pit model (except in the very early models) and provides 33% more volume initially. The first pilots have had several families switch to the second empty pit and back to the first pit successfully. As for the water system, the community members will dig ditches, lay pipe, help install the electric pump, construct the distribution tank and carry out all plumbing work.

Phases:

This is a one phase project.

Community Organization:

The beneficiaries have met with the El Porvenir Promoter and agreed to carry out, use, and maintain the latrines and water system as per the 10 norms on the use of latrines and water. This includes keeping the latrines and the water spigots in good condition, preventing contamination of the surrounding area, and understanding how this will improve their overall health. The community will be trained in community organizing techniques and will have a potable water and sanitation committee functioning. El Porvenir uses a train the trainer technique to diffuse information in the community. Latrines are built on the property of each family, so each family owns their own latrine through their labor of building it. Community ownership is felt by the community through its identification of its problem, request of the solution, their monetary contribution (at least 10%) and their involvement in the sweat equity of the project.

Government Interaction:

El Porvenir has signed MOUs with our municipal governments. In the case of Achuapa, the government supports the project materials cost at 15%. The local goverment has been very cooperative in carrying out a lot of the investigation needed for information for this project.

Ancillary activities:

Health and hygiene education: The community learns how to reduce water and sanitation related illnesses through good hygiene practices. -Identify and train local hygiene and health promoters from the community to reinforce hygiene trainings on an ongoing basis -Carry out household visits and community workshops to help the community to identify risky behaviors and learn good hygiene practices. Topics covered include: Definition of hygiene, 10 rules for using latrines, Why sanitation is important, Water and sanitation related diseases, The cycle of contamination, Why hand-washing is important, How to maintain and dispose of garbage, How to use and maintain wells and community washing stations, How to treat and use water, Sources of water contamination, Role and responsibilities of Community Water and Sanitation Committee members and the Importance of planting trees. -Create and air health and hygiene announcements on local radio stations to reinforce community health learning and to reach a larger audience. -Organize community clean up days to reinforce training about environmental sanitation and waste management -Collect data from local clinics and health centers on incidence of water and sanitation related diseases (diarrhea, skin infections etc.)

Reforestation and watershed protection activities will follow the construction as well.

Other Issues:

In order to measure the impact of our projects, we collect data several times a year from clinics serving rural districts where we have a high concentration of projects: number of visits due to diarrhea, etc. As the number decreases we feel that hygiene education has been effective. In previous years, the data seemed to support this hypothesis, although the Ministry of Health has changed their data collection methodology unfortunately, and now the data is not consistent. For more information on the double pit latrine initiative, please see the discussion, simplistic design document and photos at: http://peerwater.org/apps/189-3-Double-Pit-Latrines-Cooperativa-Ismael-Castillo/qandas

Maintenance Revenue:

Tariffs will be approximately $2.60 per family per month which should cover the electricity and maintenance costs of the project upon completion.

Maintenance Cost: $4,800

Metrics:

Our water and sanitation metrics that we measure are:

1. Municipal coverage for sustainable sanitation and water %. (As Achuapa is not in our usual operating area, we do not have baseline data as of yet.). May not make much sense in this context, as that is a measure we are looking at every 3-5 years.

2. % contribution from the community towards the project. (expect minimum 10%)

3. Reduction in WASH related illnesses (diarrhea) in the municipality, but since this has been difficult to measure with confidence, we use a proxy measure: presence of fecal coliforms in water sources (Petrifilm or other measuring source).

Cost: $131,296

See Attachment in Excel.

Co Funding Amount: $50,000

UMCOR (in progress)

Community Contribution Amount: $35,717

This includes community labor and the municipal contribution.

Fund Requested: $45,580

Implementing Organization:

Attachments

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  • 2 participants | show more

    multiple questions

    Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

    Hi Rob, What an interesting proposal. It was great to read about the work and practices of El Porvenir. It seems like Etta Projects and El Porvenir have more in common than just “EP”. I do have a few questions regarding your proposal: 1. You mentioned that El Porvenir constructed latrines in the past in the same villages. Do you ha...

    Hi Rob,
    What an interesting proposal. It was great to read about the work and practices of El Porvenir. It seems like Etta Projects and El Porvenir have more in common than just “EP”.
    I do have a few questions regarding your proposal:
    1. You mentioned that El Porvenir constructed latrines in the past in the same villages. Do you have any results regarding the sustainability of past efforts (the use and maintenance of the latrines). How have you been M&E these results? Also, why were the 35 homes, church and community center excluded from the prior sanitation project, or are they new to the village? Has any family attempted to build a latrine or improve their sanitation situation in any of the villages without support from El Porvenir?
    2. Etta Projects also uses the double chamber VIP latrine model. Can you better explain the “shells” of the super structure? What do you mean by “both pits can be reused as one fills”? We also use cement doors that need to be resealed by families after the chamber is emptied. We have spent a lot of efforts teaching and motivating families to reseal the doors, since some families simply lean the door against the open area and secure it with a rock (instead of taking the time to reseal). Have you had any issues with this? If so, do you have any recommendations or solutions to motivate families to purchase the necessary cement to reseal the chambers?
    3. Do you have the specific results from data collected from clinics in regards to the decrease in number of visits from diarrhea? This would be really interesting to analyze against the families that do not have an adequate sanitation system in the villages.
    4. You provided very little information on the water system design. Can you better explain the current water source and the design of the new system? Will each family have a household spigot or will there be community spigots? Will they be metered? If not, how will they be managed? What is the current water and sanitation situation at the school?
    It seems like you’re doing great work in Nicaragua! Thanks again and I look forward to your responses!

    • Rob Bell of El Porvenir

      Katie, thanks for your questions, you have some good ones! 1. We did latrines in one (La Perla) of the three villages (if I said we did them in 3, that was a mistake, sorry). The people that still need latrines are mostly new homes since we did our project and also some in other areas that were missed by other organizations that built t...

      Katie, thanks for your questions, you have some good ones!

      1. We did latrines in one (La Perla) of the three villages (if I said we did them in 3, that was a mistake, sorry). The people that still need latrines are mostly new homes since we did our project and also some in other areas that were missed by other organizations that built them there. There are a few that had latrines in decent shape so opted not to join in on the program, but since that time (4 years) their latrines have filled up. If people have existing infrastructure in good shape, then we will be looking to convert these to double pits and reuse any materials we can.

      These are all single pit VIP latrines though, unfortunately, so they will fill up at some point - ours are not in that boat yet, but they will eventually. In general, we have a lot of old single pits out there that need to be converted to doubles somehow. We are trying to come up with some strategies (especially strategies that decrease dependency on EP or other NGOs, Nicaragua has a long history of NGOs (us included) creating dependencies) and we will be experimenting with some in another area in 2014 to see if we can find something that works (looking at some incentives to encourage people to get started on the conversion and then giving an incentive once they do, details still being worked out) - if so, we will roll it out in the other areas like here as well. So, although the latrines we did in the one community are in decent shape, they are not really sustainable (built before we switched over to the new design).

      Although we have seen some families in some areas build their own latrines without EP or other NGO intervention, they have been few. And, in this area, we haven't seen any one do that, unfortunately...

      As for M&E on latrines, we don't have anything really good specific to double pits yet (just creating some new metrics now), but as for latrines in general, we are collecting data on overall coverage in the areas we are working and doing random sample household surveys to check in on the condition of the latrines. In a survey last year, about 75% of the latrines were still functioning (single pits filling up is the most common problem). We just did a survey in this area this year, but I don't have all the data yet. We did also test the waste when the first families started to change back to the first pit. We did find some coliforms, prompting us to modify the design slightly to be a little deeper and to have our staff be more insistent on the drying material that the families are to be using.

      2. The shells are the superstructure, we call it the "caseta" here in Nicaragua. When I said "both pits can be reused as one fills", I see that can be confusing, I meant that both pits are candidates to be reused, although not to be used at the same time. One fills, then the second is used, then the first one is emptied and used, etc.

      We don't use a door to seal, the latrine slab is what is sealed. I haven't heard of problems with people not sealing the slab after moving it, but then again, we've only been doing double pits for 5 years and there have only been a few families that have gone back to the first pit so far. For the most part, people seem to be doing it, but we have fairly good follow-up in our areas from our educational team and helps encourage that. The threat of the smell and contamination seems to help encourage compliance as well.

      3. We do have data from the regional health clinics and the trend was downward on diarrheal disease in all of our areas until about 2-3 years ago when they changed the methodology for data collection, so the data is no longer comparable. We didn't collect data from areas where we didn't work until recently (i.e. a control as you suggest), but since the data is no longer comparable, we haven't been able to show anything. I think we are moving away from health data since it has been unreliable (they might be changing the data collection methodology again on us) and looking directly at water quality test results as a proxy indicator.

      4. I apologize for the lack of data on the water system design. The current water sources are multiple; there are several wells, and a couple of existing water systems that dry up during the summer. Especially one of the water systems was built by an NGO that has no experience with water and it just doesn't work. The design of the new system plans on using a drilled well/borehole with an electric pump. We did a well pumping test on it ourselves (well, another NGO did it for us) and it had excellent production (54gpm). The water quality test was done by the municipal gov't and also came out well. Each household is planned to receive a spigot and a water meter. There are a few households that technically cannot be reached with the system and the municipality has planned a few well projects for them (not included in this proposal here).

      The school uses the well that is planned to be pumped from at the current time, the well is about 20 meters from the school, just outside the fence. The school has existing latrines from when the school was built. These are quite old and need to be replaced.

      I hope that answers all your questions, let me know if you have any doubts... Saludos, Rob

  • 2 participants | show more

    Acceptance of Latrines

    Alan Ashbaugh of Water For The Americas

    I like the proposal, particularly the part about getting the requests from the community members. Our projects are also based on community assessments and the needs of the community members. One question about the acceptance of latrines. We have yet to have the members of the communities that we are working in to make them healthier...

    I like the proposal, particularly the part about getting the requests from the community members. Our projects are also based on community assessments and the needs of the community members.

    One question about the acceptance of latrines.

    We have yet to have the members of the communities that we are working in to make them healthier ask us to build latrines. It seems that they do not want to make those improvements or talk about that subject even though they have had some sanitation training. Are there some secrets about how you get poor rural communities to ask for latrines?

    • Rob Bell of El Porvenir

      Alan, Thanks! No secret - in Nicaragua, sanitation projects are fairly popular, and we get more requests for sanitation than water nowadays. Water is still more popular in the sense that if the community needs both, they will prioritize the water. I think over the years, people are just becoming more aware of the need for sanitation to ...

      Alan,

      Thanks! No secret - in Nicaragua, sanitation projects are fairly popular, and we get more requests for sanitation than water nowadays. Water is still more popular in the sense that if the community needs both, they will prioritize the water. I think over the years, people are just becoming more aware of the need for sanitation to keep their water safe. This may be a result of our and other org's hygiene education programs. In some countries, CLTS programs have had success in generating sanitation demand, but not as much in Latin America. I think for you, promoting hygiene and sanitation in the communities might be the way to go, so people understand the links. We have had good success with our radio programs (radio is very popular in our areas) and our train-the-trainer programs.

      The only problem we have with sanitation is that org's, including us until a few years ago, gave away projects for nearly free - so the community members are used to getting things for free, and now that we are asking them to contribute financially as well, it has been a struggle in some communities. We are making progress though...

      Rob

  • 2 participants | show more

    Latrines and Spigots

    Carolyn Meub of Pure Water for the World

    This was a very insightful proposal- I am glad to hear that the community understands the need and has come to your organization. The beginning of the proposal refers to the school receiving a spigot. Is this for drinking water or hand washing? Are the spigots added to a already constructed pila or is another structure built? Also, how ...

    This was a very insightful proposal- I am glad to hear that the community understands the need and has come to your organization. The beginning of the proposal refers to the school receiving a spigot. Is this for drinking water or hand washing? Are the spigots added to a already constructed pila or is another structure built?

    Also, how do the community members switch to the second pit once the first pit is full?

    Thanks! Jamin

    • Rob Bell of El Porvenir

      Thanks for your question Jamin. In this proposal, at this time, we are only contemplating a spigot for the school (for drinking water). There will likely be a future, separate project in the school for a handwashing station and/or latrines if needed. As for switching pits, when the double pit VIP latrines are built, the community member...

      Thanks for your question Jamin. In this proposal, at this time, we are only contemplating a spigot for the school (for drinking water). There will likely be a future, separate project in the school for a handwashing station and/or latrines if needed.

      As for switching pits, when the double pit VIP latrines are built, the community members are advised to not use very much cement when installing the latrine slabs. Upon needing a switch, they can simply pick away at the cement and lift up the slab and/or bench to move it. If it is time for digging a pit out, then they can simply dig it out, after a few years of lying fallow, the excrement will become simply dirt (or it appears that way) and it excellent fertilizer as well. Once the switch is made, the community member just needs to buy a few pounds of cement to reseal the pit. I'm not sure if this is helpful, but I tried to capture some of the information here:

      http://elporvenir.org/page/why-double-pit-latrines-continual-improvement-560

      The photo of the latrines or the design may give a clue of how it will work.

      Rob

    • Carolyn Meub of Pure Water for the World

      Good morning, Rob, Yes, that explanation is helpful. Thanks! Jamin

      Good morning, Rob,

      Yes, that explanation is helpful. Thanks! Jamin

  • 2 participants | show more

    Sustainability via maintenance revenue

    Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

    Hi Rob, Like Katie, i didn't see any details in the technology section (has lot on background and on toilets) on the pump (hp) and how it will be used. Will it be on all the time or will it feed an overhead tank and then gravity-flow to each spigot? How far are the 3 communities and what is the distribution system involved? How much ...

    Hi Rob,

    Like Katie, i didn't see any details in the technology section (has lot on background and on toilets) on the pump (hp) and how it will be used. Will it be on all the time or will it feed an overhead tank and then gravity-flow to each spigot? How far are the 3 communities and what is the distribution system involved?

    How much is the cost of the pump? I did not see it specified in your budget?

    How many years on average will it last? When it fails, will the community have the funds accumulated to replace it?

    Also, is there any control over the usage? Can the community deplete the water source thru over-pumping? You mention meters and tariffs - who is going to measure the meters? Are the tariffs in line with usage? Will they not only limit consumption to meet needs, but also raise enough funds for replacing motor?

    Who will collect tariffs and store the funds? Bank account?

    Thanks,
    Rajesh

    • Rob Bell of El Porvenir

      Rajesh, Good questions. The pump proposed is 5hp and costs around $2,500 here locally. There will be a distribution tank, so the pump will not be running continually. The well in the pumping test produced 58 gallons per minute (GPM) so the plan is to pump 40 GPM to avoid pumping it dry. In some systems, a swtich can be installed to ...

      Rajesh,

      Good questions.

      The pump proposed is 5hp and costs around $2,500 here locally. There will be a distribution tank, so the pump will not be running continually. The well in the pumping test produced 58 gallons per minute (GPM) so the plan is to pump 40 GPM to avoid pumping it dry. In some systems, a swtich can be installed to switch off the pump when the water level gets low, but the engineer says in this case that the borehole is too narrow to install the switch.

      As the crow flies, I think the communities are about 3-4 km from one end to the other. The mainline is about 1km from the well to the tank and there are 11 km of pipe planned for the distribution system.

      The electric pumps are designed for 10 years of life, but given the quality of the electricity in the rural areas, and the fact that the power goes out quite a bit, the pumps tend to suffer, so we calculate the average lifespan to be about 5 years and plan accordingly. If all goes according to plan, the community will have funds to replace the pump. The tariffs are calculated with the community taking into account all these kinds of possibilities. We have several electric pumping systems that are active, of a similar size to this one, that have replaced their pumps even more often than 5 years without much difficulty. (Lightning strikes in one case)

      As for usage, the tariffs will be based on usage, so that does help control usage. The engineer thinks it is highly unlikely to overpump in this case. The tariffs will raise enough for the pump/motor replacement.

      In Nicaragua, the CAPS (Potable Water committee) manages the meters and collection, usually the treasurer. In a system of this size, they will be likely opening a bank account. In a recent system, they just started pumping a few weeks ago and they already managed to get their bank account opened - sometimes the bureaucracy is challenging here, but we do have a CAPS law that supports the legal structure and helps them open the account.

      Does that answer your questions, I hope I didn't miss any. Thanks,
      Rob

    • Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

      Hi Rob, Sorry again for last minute interjection, but its been a crazy peer review session, esp. with our software upgrade happening one step ahead at all stages. We are now writing the code for funding approvals! Anyway, i feel that this project should be 2 separate. The sanitation part is clear, with your ongoing experiments and...

      Hi Rob,

      Sorry again for last minute interjection, but its been a crazy peer review session, esp. with our software upgrade happening one step ahead at all stages. We are now writing the code for funding approvals!

      Anyway, i feel that this project should be 2 separate.

      The sanitation part is clear, with your ongoing experiments and learnings, it should be supported.

      The water part is not as clear to me. We are doing a few reviews of Indian projects in very dry areas where people are still relying on rainwater with 600mm. Nicaragua gets a whole lot more and is so green and moist. So an expensive pumping solution (given our limited funds) is hard to consider.

      Have you thought of HH RWH? I know you have done some RWH and Lynn of APLS in Guatemala has done many at schools. With a few calculations can we see how much will RWH capture and provide? Or even recharge shallow wells and use your rope pump?

      Apologies again for being late, but it would be good to see if you have thought through a few options and the one you propose is the strongest.

      Would be good to compare costs of pumps in Bolivia, Nica, ... Maybe approach Grundfos for some help.

      Regards,
      Rajesh

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  • Rating: 6

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    Tough to rate. Sanitation part is a 9. EP is evolving and learning and happy to share and learn so supporting them is easy. Their close ties to the community will result in success.

    The water part is a 3. Too big, expensive, and possibly hard to maintain 11km of piping. And of which there are not too many details. A country like Nica should be using much more RWH. Or possibly local spring capture. May not produce as much water as the electric, but would be good to present tradeoffs. Of all our partners, i expect EP to be experimenting on those fronts (both the project and inviting peers to weigh in on decisions) too.

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  • Rating: 7

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    I really like that this is a full WASH program. I would like to see more result-based information regard the pit latrines as well as more information in general about the water system.

  • Rating: 7

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    This project will certainly benefit these communities on a number of different levels: water, sanitation, and community engagement and empowerment. It would be interesting to see the results of the water system. Would also like to see further results and analysis with regards to the latrine and the successful process of moving to a secondary pit. This organization is certainly on the right path to determining the effectiveness of this technology.

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  • Rating: 8

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    Project looks well planned out and the need is apparent. Our only concern is the high cost when so many organization are asking for funds. The cost of construction materials alone is greater than 100k. We haven't worked in Nicaragua, but this seems considering the number of families. However they are only requesting 45,000.