August 16, 2015
One of my favorite things to hear when working with a community is: “We can do this. We don’t need the foreigner.” This is music to my ears because the truth is once a community has been equipped to provide for themselves, they really don’t need a “foreigner” anymore. We are on the right track to hearing this in the Cuajachillo 2 community in Nicaragua!
Pat arrived in Cuajachillo on June 1st. When he arrived, the eco latrine was a new concept for them to grasp. Our initial goal was to make sure they wanted a latrine, work with the community to form a committee, provide training, and maybe discuss latrine designs. We accomplished so much more!
Things progressed quicker than we anticipated due to a high level of community ownership. This summer, Pat:
1) Facilitated community meetings
2) Created an environment for the community to choose a Committee to oversee the project
3) Worked with the community to choose a stakeholder for the eco latrine
4) Facilitated discussions with the community to brainstorm a monetary maintenance plan
5) Trained the community to construct their first eco latrine!
Water is also an issue for the community due to the distance they have to travel to collect it in barrels. Common health issues and diseases they experience due to water and sanitation/hygiene issues include: Diarrheal Illnesses, Malaria, and Intestinal Worms.
The top priorities the residents of Cuajachillo 2 identified to improve in their village were water and sanitation. We are committed to working with the community to improve their situation.
Because we believe in community led projects and empowerment, the process will take a bit longer than merely coming in and building facilities for them, but in the end the projects will be sustainable.
We look forward to working with the community soon to evaluate and monitor the eco latrine, provide further training, continue to assess water and hygiene concerns, and possibly build a second eco latrine!