The villages had no sanitation system or potable water supply. This created a problem with fecal contamination of water and food sources, thus adversely affecting the health of the resi-dents. Gastrointestinal illnesses are among the main illnesses reported in the 3 health centers of the county of Cochapata. The most preva-lent illnesses among children less than 5 years of age are severe dysentery, malnutrition, and parasitic infection.
The EWB Response
Students from the University of Maryland, College Park collaborated with the Comite por Mejoras, an elected group of community representatives, and FISE, a local governmental organization that conducts water and sanitation projects in the province, to establish and coordinate the sanitation project for Uduzhapa and Conseco. In January 2006, engineering professionals, students, and a faculty advisor completed the assessment trip. During this time, soil and water data was collected and the members of the communities officially agreed to work with EWB-UMCP to complete the implementation.
June, 2006:The implementation of practical and functional pour-flush latrines (outhouses) was completed in June 2006. The implementation team consisted of twelve University of Maryland students, two Johns Hopkins University students, three professionals, and one faculty advisor from the University of Maryland. Individual latrines were constructed for each household and overall 39 latrines were completely finished during the four week implementation of the project. Each latrine super-structure consisted of a concrete foundation and cement block walls. Wooden doors and corrugated plastic roofs were attached to the walls of the superstructures. Drainage piping for future showers and sinks were placed under the foundation of the structure so that the latrines would be easily adaptable to the expected water supply. Toilet bowls with an integrated water seal were placed in the latrines and PVC pipe connected the bowl to the rock lined pit located about 5-10 feet away from the superstructure. Reinforced concrete slabs were constructed for the pit coverings.
The latrines built are able to contain the human waste in localized pits in the ground which will greatly reduce the contamination of the current water sources for the communities.The villagers will keep the latrines in working condition because they now understand the connection between sanitation and health and they provided labor to the project so that they could gain ownership during the implementation. The project was a great success and the province of Azuay, Ecuador anticipates the return of Engineers Without Borders.