Empowering rural Nicaraguan communities to improve their own standard of living through water.
Describe the need affecting community
Nicaragua is the third poorest country in the Western hemisphere; 80% of the population lives in poverty, surviving on less than $2 a day. 54% of rural Nicaraguans lack access to clean drinking water; 31% of rural Nicaraguans lack adequate sanitation facilities. The country’s water shortages are further exacerbated by rampant deforestation; forests now account for only 25% of Nicaragua’s land area. When community members do not have access to dignified sanitation facilities, they sometimes practice open defecation which contaminates clean water supplies in the community and leads to increased disease burden. Women that do not have a private toilet space are sometimes inclined, from shame, to defecate only early in the morning and late at night to avoid unwanted attention. This behavior leads to other negative health and social outcomes. Studies undertaken in Nicaragua by the UNDP indicate that access to clean water and sanitation can reduce the risk of diarrhea in children by up to 40%.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
Our project provides tangible solutions to communities who are committed to improving their access to clean water, sanitation facilities and better health, but lack the resources to do so. El Porvenir provides the materials which must be purchased and training for the villagers to enable them to construct the project and undertake its long-term care and maintenance. All water well projects use appropriate, simple technology made in Nicaragua: for example, the rope pump, which is easily repaired by community residents, is manufactured locally with no imported parts. Sanitary facilities are simple double-pit latrines which are widely accepted in rural Nicaragua. After project completion, the community receives continuing community health and hygiene education, as explained in the next section, and assumes responsibility for the long-term maintenance and care of the project.
Describe the primary goal of the project
The primary goal of this project is to push for higher access to clean, plentiful water in the six regions of rural Nicaragua where we operate so communities can thrive. Long term objectives include: A) Improved quality of life of people and families in Nicaragua through lower incidences of water and sanitation related diseases and moralities. B) Reduced environmental contamination caused by poor sanitation. C) Improved productivity and educational opportunity for women and children by freeing time previously spend carrying water. D) Improved quality of life through basic human dignity. Protected water tables where water projects draw from. E) Improved water quality and quantity. F) Restored stream-flow, critical habitat, and productive agriculture. G) Community members educated and trained in co-existing in harmony with their local environment and how to use existing resources in a sustainable manner. H) Improved quality of women and children’s lives and health through the construction of improved stoves that remove hazardous smoke from the kitchens. I) Community members who are educated about the connection between hygiene, water, sanitation, and disease. J) Trained network of community-based hygiene promoters to reinforce hygiene concepts on an ongoing basis.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project
EP hopes to see the following changes: rural communities and schools in six regions of Nicaragua have access to water and sanitation. Rural communities and schools continually educate about healthy water, and sanitation practices. That contribute to maintaining clean water and surroundings. Rural community partners increase their supply of groundwater.