Founded: January 2010
Project: Eco-latrines in Rural Bolivia
NGO: Etta Projects
Location: Montero, Bolivia
The Comprehensive Sanitation Improvements Project seeks to develop new sanitation solutions in the rural communities surrounding Montero, Bolivia. This was completed with the help of the in-country non-governmental organization, Etta Projects, who was providing accompanying sanitation education and was the overall project manager.
The community lacks basic sanitation infrastructure, which perpetuates serious environmental and health problems including diarrhea, stomachaches, headaches, and skin rashes. Bolivia goes through a rainy season of approximately four months where their water table rises two feet. In the mountainous regions, this is not an issue but in the low lying valleys excess water can pose several problems. In the three communities that Etta works with they primarily used pit latrines. This poses a problem when the water levels sire, because waste flows through the streets and contaminate drinking water.
Etta projects developed a plan to implement a latrine for a sanitation infrastructure. Etta projects and the Bolivia Team have successfully designed and implemented 76 composting latrines in the communities surrounding Montero, Bolivia. The latrine design consists of two water proof above-ground vaults which hold the waste. There is a urine diversion to maintain low moisture content in the vault to complete the composting process.
The latrines directly affect approximately seven hundred people and indirectly twice as much. The families have helped with both construction and the financing of their latrines, giving them an ownership that improves sustainability. When building, a local stereotype was broken because women were helping with the construction. This was previously unheard of in the area. The composting latrines have been very practical and beneficial to the local communities of El Rodeo, Paisaje, and Paraiso.
Etta Projects is a non-government organization started in the honor of Etta Turner, who died on Nov. 25 2002 while in Bolivia as a Rotary International exchange student. It now operates out of Montero. Some of their past projects include a water, health, and sanitation project, a healthy schools project, a comprehensive clean water project, a women’s microfinance project, and a school garden pilot project. Our involvement with the organization began with the comprehensive clean water project. When that project was completed, we began working with them to design composting latrines. The construction of the latrines was completed by Etta in mid-November of 2011, and the project is currently in a monitoring and assessment phase. Overall, the goal of the organization is to provide clean water, nutritious food, education and income generation.
For more information visit: www.ettaprojects.org
The communities that surround Montero, Bolivia are El Rodeo, Paisaje, and Paraiso. El Rodeo and Paraiso are the most urban and closest to Montero. These communities are about 10 kilometers from central Montero. These communities have access to running water and electricity. The other community is Paisaje which is very rural. There is no electricity and running water is very new to them. The composting latrines have been the most successful for this community. In all these communities, there were schools that benefitted from the composting latrines.