Friday, November 26, 2010

Photos from World Toilet Day (or World Latrine Day)

We changed the name to World Latrine Day for our regions
In Nicaragua, as I mentioned in the last blog, our regional El Porvenir offices held events to celebrate World Toilet Day (WTD). We invited local communities to come to our Open Houses, held in our offices, to discuss methods to rehabilitate their old latrines. It was a successful day and we plan to repeat it again next year. Some people did get the impression that we were going to give away new latrines, but most people seemed to understand what we were getting at. Several students from a nearby school also came and a couple of local NGOs. Here are some photos from the event in DarĂ­o.

Marlon gives some latrine rehab tips to people that dropped by the Open House

Mayra explains our 10 hygiene "tips" for using the latrine

Staff decorated the office outside with hygiene messages.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tomorrow is World Toilet Day!

Tomorrow, El Porvenir will celebrate World Toilet Day (WTD). Our regions will hold open houses, inviting local communities to discuss sanitation in general and in particular to discuss the rehabilitation of their old latrines.

Pilot double pit latrine in La Calamidad, Camoapa, Nicaragua
The vast majority of communities in Nicaragua, if they have latrines, have single-pit VIP (Ventilated Improved Pit) latrines. Many built over the years are now full. Here at El Porvenir, we have been piloting double pit latrines (also known as Fossa Alterna) where the superstructure (the slab and enclosure) is moved to the second pit when the first fills. By the time the second pit fills, it is safe to dig out the first pit and start the cycle again. We plan to stop using the single pit VIPs in 2011 as the double pits are working. The photo above is an example.  However, looking back, we plan to work with communities that already have single pit latrines to develop ways to rehabilitate them, converting them into double pit latrines of sorts.

Those are my WTD thoughts... I welcome yours...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Reforesting Today to Ensure our Environmental Future in our Community"

I have talked a lot on this blog about water and sanitation, even hygiene to some extent. However, I have been remiss in not highlighting our very important reforestation program. We are working with one of our great board members to morph our reforestation program to a watershed protection program. We already have a lot of the components of this in place, but some changes will be coming. For example, the staff (and I) have been learning that all reforestation is helpful, but there are areas where planting a tree can be more impactful - such as higher in the watershed where the streams tend to spring up, along stream or creek banks, etc. We are learning to work smarter.

In English: "Reforesting Today to Ensure our Environmental Future in our Community"

Part of our work in the reforestation program has always been to try to change attitudes and practices amongst the people we work with. Burning the fields to prepare them for planting is a common practice in Nicaragua. Unfortunately, it is not a very environmentally friendly practice. This new sticker that the staff created is being distributed in our communities as part of our recognition that we need to do even more in environmental education - helping people to recognize the connection between those trees and their water in the watershed. We hope to revamp our education program along with the reforestation program to get more people on board with "Reforesting Today to Ensure our Environmental Future in our Community."